Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ito Hirofumi old villa in Kanazawa

After years of restoration, the old villa of the first Prime Minister of Japan Hirofumi Ito finally reopened to the public late last year. The renovated house provides a glimpse on the previous prime minister life and to the Meiji era houses.

The Prime Minister Ito built the house on 1898 in Kanazawa, a popular area for villas in the Meiji period, the place was visited by the emperor Taisho, crown prince at the time, and the crown prince of Korea.

The house with thatched roofs, tatami floors and sliding doors with scenic view to the beach has been designated as an important cultural property by the city of Yokohama.

The house layout has been changed after the renovation, and is now divided into three areas, facilities, visitors, and study/bedroom.

There is no entrance fee, so there is no excuse not to visit the villa when in the area.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Tokyo Sky Tree Update

The construction of the Tokyo sky tree is at very advanced stage, reaching a significant milestone; the main structure seems to be completed and is now at 470 meters.

In the next stages, the second observatory and the antenna are to be completed, despite the fact that the scheduled completion date is December 2011, the structure surely will be completed well before that date.

The new tower is already generating a positive economic impact in the surrounding area, as the rent and land price is already going up.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Martial arts center Tokyo Budokan

In a very Japanese way of mixing tradition with the moder, the Tokyo Martial Arts center in Ayase is housed in a futuristic looking, avant-garde building that shares more with the transformers that the traditional arts teach there.


The Tokyo Budokan in Ayase, Tokyo, (often confused with Nihon Budokan) designed by Japanese architect Kijyou Rokkaku and completed in 1989, with facilities for a wide variety of Japanese Martial Arts, like kendo, judo and karate.

The Center is a beautiful building that is not very well known to people outside Ayase, is worth a visit if you are in the north of Tokyo.


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Summer is finally over

Shinjuku Tilt shift
After a long and record-breaking hot summer, almost 40º C, we started finally to enjoy tolerable days and cooler nights.

Shinjuku Park tower
Some rain and cloudy days but we really do not mind as it’s bringing relief after the heat.

Photos of the cloudy sky from the top of the Tokyo metropolitan government building.


Saturday, September 11, 2010

Temple to the Japanese father of Buddhism Kawasaki Daishi

According to the temple legend, over 900 years ago, samurai Hirama Kanenori was exiled from his hometown Owari due to a false accusation. After wandering through many provinces he finally settled in Kawasaki as a humble fisherman.
In a dream the Buddhist priest, Kobo Daishi, asked to retrieve his image from the sea, the he had carved while in China and cast it to the sea. When Kanenori throw his net into the sea, he retrieved a wooden statue of Kobo Daishi so beautiful and with so extraordinary qualities, that Buddhist priest Sonken was moved to tears, when he saw it. In 1128, Sonken and Kanenori began construction a temple, which was the start of present day Kawasaki Daishi.

Heiken Ji, best known as Kawasaki Daishi is a Buddhist temple, dedicated to the Buddisth priest Kobo Daishi, in Kawasaki city in Kanagawa, is the third most popular temple for ‘hatsumode’ or first visit to the temple on new year.

Fudo gate
Kawasaki daishi is now a large complex of temples and purifications areas, the main access is through the Main gate or dai-sanmon, and the Fudo gate.

The Main hall, Dai-Hondo was destroyed by the fire during the war and rebuilt in 1958, the image of Kobo Daishi was transferred here.

Hakkaku gojunoto
The Hakkaku Gojunoto or octagonal five-storied pagoda, completed in 1984 to commemorate the 1,150th anniversary of Kobo Daishi, stands next to the main hall.

Outside the temple grounds, the street is lined with shops selling souvenirs and Japanese sweets.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Edo period post station town of Senju

Nikko kaido, one of Edo five routes, was the route connecting Edo (Tokyo) with Nikko Tosho-gu. Senju (thousand Inns) was the first station of the road, now the area is part of the Adachi ward in Tokyo.

The area still marks the site of the old stores location and some old houses are still preserved.

The Hospital Nagura was a period famous chiropractic hospital and continues until now as an orthopedic hospital.

Marked outside as Tenmaya (Yokoyama house), a toilet paper wholesale store, the house it is now a private residence.

The house of the Yoshida family, 8th continuous generations of Ema manufacturing. Akiko Yoshida of this house is registered as a human cultural asset by Adachi ward.

The Senju butterfly park was made to convey the atmosphere of the Edo period post town.

Shosenji temple (also known as red gate temple), founded on 1260, used by the third Shogun Tokugawa Hidetada as a rest place when on hunting trips.

Senju post station historical petit plaza, the house used to be owned by the Yokoyama family whom moved the paper business to the new location; the house is used as a mini exhibition center of the era.