Showing posts with label hiroshima. Show all posts
Showing posts with label hiroshima. Show all posts

Monday, December 19, 2022

Disappeared Japan Yukaen Chinese Garden


Yukaen was a Chinese-style garden in Hiroshima.

It was built in 1992 to celebrate the sister-city relationship between Hiroshima and Chongging City in Chima.

When I visited almost twenty years ago the plum blossoms were blooming.

It was located on the banks of the Ota River not too far from Hiroshima Castle.

However, a few weeks ago as I was taking a bus out of Hiroshima I noticed the garden had gone and the whole area was a big construction site.

I have been unable to find out what is being built, or if the garden will be reconstructed here or elsewhere.

I have never encountered any other visitor when I have visited and reports suggest that in recent years the garden had become quite shabby and rundown.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Recent Manhole Art


Japan is quite famous for the variety of brightly colored and diverse designs of its manhole and drain covers. I used to regularly post on the hundreds of designs I have encountered in western Japan, but those posts have never been popular with my readers. However, on my recent post-pandemic excursions I have come across some new ones......this first one depicts Ganryuji Falls, a picturesque waterfall not far from me

Just got back from a trip to Hiroshima, and noticed a new design that commemorats the Saigoku Kaido, the Edo period highway that ran through Hiroshima on its way from Kyoto to Shimonoseki, and that is almost identical to the Sanindo, the ancient imperial highway.

Yoshinogari is a huge archeological site with reconstructed buildings near Saga. Touted as the home of the legendary Himiko, "queen of japan",  in all probability it wasn't.

Also in northern Kyushu is the city of Tagawa, and one of their designs feature the cities official flower, the azalea.

However, while historical and natural features and sites are common, increasingly manhole cover design is shifting to manga, anima, and computer game-derived designs, no doubt with "sponsorship" from said companies.

These two designs are from Saga and feature Zombie Land Saga, an anime about an "idol" group of schoolgirl zombies formed to promote and regenerate Saga. The designs feature zombie schoolgirls with Saga icons, the top one being a statue of Naomasa Nabeshima, Daimyo of Saga, and the lower one featuring the famous Saga International Balloon Festival

Another series of designs in Saga features characters from the computer game Romancing SaGa. As far as I can figure there is no connection with Saga itself, rather than the name.

Yura, a coastal village in Tottori , is the hometown of the author of the Detective Conan  originally a manga character but also now anime. Tottortori airport has been renamed Conan Airport, and some trains have been repainted inside and out featuring Conan characters

However, all over Japan are appearing manhole covers featuring pokemon. There are hundreds of them, each one unique. This one is in Kaike Onsen, a seaside hot spring resort in western Tottori. I must admit I know nothing about pokemon except it is very popular. I believe these manholes are a feature of the pokemon go smartphone game
A few other posts with colorful designs can be found here....

Friday, September 10, 2021

Morikawa Residence Garden in Takehara

Morikawa Residence Garden

The Morikawa Residence was a "mansion" for a very wealthy merchant in Takehara on the south coast of Hiroshima/ Because so much of its historical streets and buildings still remain it is classed as a Preservation District and is also known as the "Little Kyoto of Ali". I wrote an earlier post about the Takehara Preservation District.

Morikawa built his new mansion in 1916, so it not so old, however it was built in traditionalstyle and is very large and open to the public. He was also the mayor of the town, showing that wealth and political power have always gone hand in jhand. An earlier post shows interiors of the mansion.

The Morikawa residence of course has a traditional Japanese garden, or rather three gardens. The main garden wraps around the property in an L shape and is therefore viewable from many different rooms.

It also has a Tsuboniwa, that is often translated as "courtyard garden" These can sometimes be very small, but as befittig a mansion the one here is mid-sized.

Often a Tsuboniwa is completey enclosed on all four side by the buildings, but here there is a narrow gap that connects to the main garden. Many of the rooms that do not look out onto the main garden can view the Tsuboniwa.

There was a third garden, a small front garden that you pass through from the gate to the entrance. I didn't photograph it. They are usually the most minimal with less plant and many rocks.

In a few of the first photos, you can see splashes of bright blue. These are plastic tarps spread over some bushes to protect them while the gardener was pruning some trees.

Purchase a selection of ema from GoodsFromJapan

Thursday, May 27, 2021

Morikawa Mansion in Takehara


Takehara is a small port on the coast of Hiroshima that grew wealthy in the Edo Period with the production of salt. It has a well preserved section of the old town that is a registered Preservation District and also goes by the nickname "Little Kyoto"

In a previous post I showed a few photos of the historic "streetscape". Several of the traditional buildings are open to the public, the largest being the former Morikawa Family residence.

It is a huge property, deserving of the title "mansion", and though its style is most certainly Edo period, it was not built until 1916. However, some of the elements were dismanted and brought here from older buuldings.

After 1868 the numerous sumptuary laws that controlled many aspects of how your home could appear had disappeared and so it was easier for merchants to openly display their wealth. The stone floor in the doma, the entrance and kitchen area normally with a packed-earth floor, being just one example.

Morikawa was the mayor of  Takehara when he built this residence. It is believed to have been built on the site of the first "salt" fields of the town.

In a later post I will cover the small gardens that surround the house and are in courtyards, most designed to be viewed from inside the house.

Friday, February 26, 2021

Historic Streetscape of Takehara


Takehara is a small town on the coast of Hiroshima, east of Hiroshima City. It flourished as a port in Medieval japan when the Inland Sea was the main transportation route.

In the Edo Period, it prospered as a salt production centre, with tons of salt being exported, mostly to Edo. An old area of the town with merchant houses, warehouses, and the inevitable sake breweries is one of the Historic Preservation Districts.

It is in the Top 100 Most Scenic Towns in Japan, and also one of many small towns that advertise themselves as "Little Kyoto", something I would consider a warning rather than a recommendation.

Some of the buildings are open to the public and I will post on them later. In the last couple of years the town has become more well known due to the so-called "rabbit Island" which lies within its city limits.

Friday, March 20, 2020

Sankei-en Garden

Sankei-en Garden is not an old garden, it was constructed in 1993 as part of the redevelopment of the land around the construction of Hiroshima Airport in the mountains NE of the city. It is a stroll-type garden and as the name suggests is divided into 3 zones or "views"

Mountain, village, & sea represent the three landscapes of Hiroshima. The large pond filled with koi represents the Inland Sea with several small islands accessed by bridges. As you enter the garden you start on a building and floating platform that is modeled on the famous shrine on Miyajima.

The village zone has lots of plum, maple, and bamboo as well as irrigation channels, and the mountain zone has lots of natural forests and a waterfall. It is particularly nice to visit in the autumn which is when it gets the most visitors but is usually not at all crowded.

The garden has a large number of different species of Iris and an Iris festival is held in June. Obviously, if you are flying into or out of the airport it is worth a visit.

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Heiwa Dori Illuminations

Heiwa Dori is the wide boulevard in Hiroshima City that runs up to the Horoshima Peace park. There are pedestrian park spaces running along either side of the road and during December they are filled with illuminations.

Illuminations are not normally my kind of thing, but we were in the city for the night and not far from Heiwa Dori, so we braved the coldest temperatures of the winter so far to see what was up.

It was surprisingly enjoyable with not so many people out and about and a complete lack of commercialization. The illumination ran for about 800 meters on both sides of the road .

I quite liked the phoenix, but my favorite was a simple one.... a huge tree with spreading boughs......

Thursday, September 28, 2017

An Unexpected Art Interlude

While driving along a remote mountain road in the west of Hiroshima Prefecture I was surprised to come across a fairly large, modern factory building. More surprising was that in the parking lot were about a dozen modern art sculptures, all made of metal.

None of the sculptures had labels of any kind and at first I thought maybe the factory specialised in fabricating sculptures for artists and these might be rejects.

Of course its also possible that they were just the private collection of the factory owner. I also thought maybe they were the pet project of someone at the factory.

I never did find out, but they made a great subject for some ad hoc photo studies.