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Fresh Japanese News

Muza-chan's Gate to Japan
Aomori Showa Daibutsu

Although established relatively recent, 35 years ago, the Seiryū-ji temple in the suburbs of Aomori city has an impressive statue, holding the record of the tallest seated bronze figure of Buddha in Japan , with a height of 21.35 meters.

Called Shōwa Daibutsu, the statue is about 1.5 times taller than the more famous Kamakura Daibutsu (13.35 meters) and Nara Daibutsu (14.98 meters).

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 14mm F/2.8D
Focal Length: 14mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/320s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Tokyo Station by night
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Tokyo Station by night

Tokyo Station by night

Recently renovated, the 103 years old Tokyo Station is one of the most beautiful landmarks of Tokyo. It is less know that the Neo-Baroque design of the station wasn’t the first option of its architect, Tatsuno Kingo.

The first project was a combination of Western-style architecture with elements of traditional Japanese architecture such as chidorihafu and karahafu roofs and kurumayose entrances, all made to harmonize with the nearby Imperial palace. However, the Emperor Meiji suggested that a full Western-style design would be more appropriate for a train station, so the architect inspired its plans from the central station of Amsterdam.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/2.8
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 0400
Marunouchi skyscrapers
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Marunouchi skyscrapers

Marunouchi skyscrapers

After the Meiji Restoration, when the samurai class was abolished, the area of fortifications surrounding the Edo Castle lost its destination. Before, this area called Maru-no-uchi “within the walls", was the location of the luxurious residences of daimyo, who were forced to spend every other year in Edo.

Soon after, Marunouchi was used by the army and the newly established ministries. But when the space became too crowded for them, in order to obtain funds the place was sold to Iwasaki Yataro, the fonder of Mitsubishi, thus becoming one of the most prosperous real estate businesses in the world.

Iwasaki Yataro built here the headquarters of his corporation, a modern Western-style building called Londontown, thus initiating a trend that remained a typical feature of Marunouchi, which has today one of the most impressive agglomerations of skyscrapers in Tokyo.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 14mm F/2.8D
Focal Length: 14mm
Aperture: F/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/250s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Ginza Wako Tower clock
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Ginza Wako Tower clock

Ginza Wako Tower clock

The Neo-Renaissance building known today as the Wako Tower was built on the site of the first landmark of Ginza, the Hattori building, which was erected in 1894 but was destroyed by the Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923.

The Hattori building was also a clock tower, and its name comes from Hattori Kintaro, a watchmaker who established the company that became the today’s Seiko. The old clock, which was made by Hattori, was preserved and installed on the new construction. Fortunately the Wako tower survived to the bombings of the WWII, and today is still the landmark of the Ginza district.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 26mm
Aperture: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 6400
Bitchu Matsuyama, the castle on Mount Gagyu
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Bitchu Matsuyama, the castle on Mount Gagyu

Bitchu Matsuyama, the castle on Mount Gagyu

Among the 12 surviving Japanese castles, Bitchū Matsuyama is the castle located at the highest elevation. The altitude is actually only 430 meters above sea level, but the path to the castle is quite steep and it takes a bit of energy to reach it. But the effort is well worth the experience!

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/800s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
Yanagibashi, the willow bridge
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Yanagibashi, the willow bridge

Yanagibashi, the willow bridge

The last bridge before the Kanda river merges into Sumida is called Yanagibashi, meaning the willow bridge. It’s name comes from the surrounding area, which used to be called Yanagiwara, the “Willow field", because of the willows on the bank of the river. Another theory is that Yanagibashi is a phonetic shift from the Edo period name of the bridge, Yanokibashi, meaning “the armory bridge", name coming from a nearby shogunal army arrow depot.

I like a lot this area, because it offers a picturesque view featuring a large number of traditional yakatabune roofed boats.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D90
Lens: VR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 55mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/320s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Old Yoshida Sake store
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Old Yoshida Sake store

Old Yoshida Sake store

Although located in Yanaka, quite far from the Ueno Shitamachi Museum, this century old sake store is in fact an annex of the museum. It is a representative building for its kind, a sake store built in 1910, at the end of the Meiji Period.

The entire neighborhood has the old Shitamachi atmosphere, and the Yoshida sake store is well worth a visit if you would like to stroll through one of the oldest neighborhoods of Tokyo.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D90
Lens: VR 18-55mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 20mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/160s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Japanese sword guard, tsuba
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Japanese sword guard, tsuba

Japanese sword guard, tsuba

I wrote before about the Japanese sword guards and the creativity involved in making them. The tsuba in today’s photo features a splendid blend of artistic craftsmanship and utilitarian work. The upper hole, shaped to suggest a sun behind a mountain, is not only an ornament but a useful feature, being made to tie a wrist leather strip used to prevent losing the sword in battle.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 70mm
Aperture: F/9
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 3200
Harimaya-bashi, and its sad love story
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Harimaya-bashi, and its sad love story