Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Yusu Monument, Uwajima Bay

Overlooking Uwajima bay is a monument built to give thanks to the bounty given to the residents of the area who farm the bay for pearls. The monument is symbolic of a pair of hands holding a black pearl as an offering to the sky and bay in gratitude. Uwajima bay is an impressive body of water and is well cared for by those who make their living from it.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Matsuyama, Past and Present

Inside Matsuyama Castle's garden is a display which illustrates Matsuyama's past and present in photographs. It is fascinating to see how the past measures against the present.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Manhole Cover, Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture

"Let's create the clean Matsuyama City!" Littering is publicly frowned upon by the Japanese. The Japanese have a place for everything and everything has its place, even trash. The raised yellow strips of concrete are guides for the blind. The straight sections guide the disabled on the pavement while the dotted section indicates an intersection.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hyota, Best Ramen Shop in Matsuyama

It can be said that this is a Ramen shop, but they call their Ramen "Chuka-soba," which means "Chinese Noodles" in translation. Their noodles are the best in Matsuyama.

Hyota Link (Japanese)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Butsudan (Home Shrine)

In Japanese homes they have Buddhist Shrines that are prayed at daily. It is usually situated in a place of significance in the home. The shrines range in sizes. The name Butsudan means "Buddha's house." It is not uncommon to have both Shinto shrines along side the Butsudan as they both exist along side each other in the many Temples and Shrines in Japan.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Money-Raker, Fan of 7 Gods

Traditional Japanese fans for good fortune. The 7 Gods are a blend of Buddhism and Shinto. They originated separately but were combined into a group of 7 virtues to be honored. They can be found throughout Japan.

Seven lucky Gods of Japan

Thursday, November 13, 2008

ANA Hotel Kyoto

ANA Hotels are first class all the way. The ANA hotel in Kyoto is no exception. It is modern and the hotel staff has got to be the most hospitable possible in a most hospitable country known for their hospitality!

A waterfall greets you in the lobby.

Kimono clad ladies take your luggage to your room. No tipping is allowed.

Mural in the lobby

A review of the ANA Hotel along with pictures

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Heian-jingu Shrine (Kyoto)

The Heian-jingu Shrine is a Shinto Shrine. The main building, or shaden, is designed to imitate the Kyoto Imperial Palace on a three-fourth scale.

The Heian-jingu was built in 1895 for the 1,100th anniversary of the establishment of Heiankyo (the old name of Kyoto). The shrine is dedicated to the Emperor Kanmu and Emperor Komei. The former moved the capital of Heiankyo, and the latter was the last before Emperor Meiji, who moved the capital to Tokyo.

Heian-jingu's Torii (entrance gate), the largest Torii in Japan. It also marks the end of the Tokaido, the traditional road between Tokyo and Kyoto.

Ceremonial sake drums held on display

Symbol of the Japanese Imperial Family

Garden in Heian-jingu

One of the first street cars in the city

Shinto priests oversee a tree planting ceremony

Official Site in English

Map of the 53 stations of the Tokaido

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Murin-an (Scenery Garden) Kyoto

A nice garden, built in 1896 by Ogawa Jihei for Yamagata Aritomo, a leading member of the Meiji government and twice Prime Minister of Japan.

Murin-an is an example of the "borrowed scenery" (Shakkei) in landscape gardens as it has a background view of Higashiyama mountains.

The complex designed garden, with western influence, is in strolling-style and has a lawn, two streams, stones and clipped shrubs.

Murin-an Link

Yamagata Aritomo Wikipedia Entry