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Muza-chan's Gate to Japan
Traditional Japanese craft, Temari

Similar to hagoita, which were initially used for a game resembling badminton, the temari (てまり) balls were originally used for a game like football (soccer).

During the Edo period, the women at the Imperial court begun making balls covered with colorful silk threads. Over the years, this became an art form, and later the art became a mass phenomenon, the temari balls being made not only with silk but also with cotton or wool.

Temari are today toys and precious art objects at the same time, and are very popular gifts, symbolizing friendship, loyalty, and carrying the meaning of a wish for good luck and happiness.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 70mm
Aperture: F/4.5
Shutter Speed: 1/320s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 1200
Osu Kannon, the story of a name
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Osu Kannon, the story of a name

Osu Kannon, the story of a name

At the beginning of the Edo Period, in 1612, the shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu moved to Nagoya, in the today’s Naka ward, a temple from Ōsu-go, Nagoka Village, in the Owari domain (the today’s city of Hashima, Gifu Prefecture).

The temple was just destroyed by flooding and a lot of its goods were lost. All that was saved, including a precious statue of Kannon sculpted by Kobo Daishi, were brought to the new location, in a small village called Hiokimura.

The presence of the temple raised the importance of the village, and as a result the name of the place was changed to Ōsu, as the original location of the temple. Today, the official name of the temple is Kitanosan Shinpuku-ji Hosho-in, but it is know as the Ōsu Kannon Temple.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/100s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
Imabari Castle moat
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Imabari Castle moat

Imabari Castle moat

The moats surrounding the Imabari castle are filled with water through a channel connecting to the ocean (visible in this photo as a small black rectangle in the center of the image).

The salty water is mixing with the fresh water springing in several places of the moat, and this created a unique ecosystem, in these moats living together both fresh and salty water fishes.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1000s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
Genkyu-en garden panoramic view
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Genkyu-en garden panoramic view

Genkyu-en garden panoramic view

In Japan, the period of peace and prosperity during the Edo period led to the development of many arts, gardening being one of the most prominent. The level of sophistication was determined by the influence of the local lords, each of them desiring a unique garden.

Several ingenious ideas led to gardens of high artistic value, such as the pond in the shape of the “kokoro” kanji of the Tensha-en garden in Uwajima, the 53 post stations of the Tokaido reproduced in the Suizen-ji garden in Kumamoto, or, photographed here, the miniaturized replication of Hiroshige’s famous woodblock prints Eight Views of Ōmi at the Genkyu-en garden in Hikone.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D300
Lens: 8-16mm F/4.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 8mm
Aperture: F/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/1000s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 250
Traditional Japanese architecture, Kurumayose
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Traditional Japanese architecture, Kurumayose

Traditional Japanese architecture, Kurumayose

Similar to the Karamon gate presented yesterday, the sumptuous entrance porch (kurumayose in Japanese) of the Ninomaru Palace in Nijō castle, Kyoto, is a symbol of high-ranking social status. This type of architecture was reserved for aristocrats, religious liders and the top members of the samurai class. In this case, it was built for the shogun Tokugawa.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 31mm
Aperture: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/320s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 800
Nijo Karamon gate
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Nijo Karamon gate

Nijo Karamon gate

During the Tokugawa shogunate, the karamon gates were a symbol of power and authority, so their presence at the Nijō castle was mandatory.
The wealth of gold leaf covered ornaments was making a strong impression on those coming for audiences at the Ninomaru palace.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 38mm
Aperture: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/500s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 640
Shinkansen 500 TYPE EVA, Full-Size Cockpit Riding Experience
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Shinkansen 500 TYPE EVA, Full-Size Cockpit Riding Experience

Shinkansen 500 TYPE EVA, Full-Size Cockpit Riding...

I wrote before about the Shinkansen Evangelion Project, a unique 500 Series Shinkansen train operating on the Kodama service between Shin-Osaka and Hakata until the spring of 2018.

The most interesting part of this project is photographed here, the full-size Evangelion cockpit, built inside the first car. If it’s not occupied, you can see it by just boarding the train, but if you wish to ride in the cockpit you need to sign up in advance for a lottery on the official site, and in order to do this, at least for now, you need to reside in Japan. However, there are plenty of other attractions inside the 500 TYPE EVA. I will return to this subject…

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/125s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 3200
Japanese castle interior, Hishi Yagura, the diamond-shaped turret
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Japanese castle interior, Hishi Yagura, the diamond-shaped turret

Japanese castle interior, Hishi Yagura, the...

The turret (yagura in Japanese) photographed here, Hishi Yagura of the Kanazawa castle, was built in a rhomboid or diamond shape (hishi in Japanese) with walls making angles of 80 and 100 degrees.

It is not known the reason behind this unusual design, but it is supposed to be related to the defensive role of the turret, because it was a watchtower of the second defense wall, and this shape probably allowed for simultaneous observation of two gates.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D700
Lens: 14mm F/2.8D
Focal Length: 14mm
Aperture: F/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 1600
Shinkyo, one of Japan's finest bridges
Yesterday’s Japan Photo:

Shinkyo, one of Japan’s finest bridges