Japan 2010 & 2016

Japan in a nutshell: efficient, clean, safe and hospitable.

Japan or “The Land of the Rising Sun” consists of 127 million people living on 4000 islands, stretching for 3,000 kilometers from north to south.
The four largest islands are Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu and Shikoku represent 97% of Japan’s land area

We stayed only on the largest island: Honshu.
May 6 to May 24

Arts & Crafts

There is no clear distinctions between arts and crafts in Japan. They both a continuous blend of traditions and influences from other oriental countries, mostly China and Korea. Straw can be used in constructions as well as in weaving of useful objects like ropes, boots, dresses and hats. Rice straw can be also processed into …

Contemporary – Japan

Post World War buildings adopted first the “unadorned box” style. Steel and concrete replaced the traditional wood constructions. After 1990 the japanese architecture became more daring with unique designs, away from the rectangular forms. FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below        Use ——> /<—— to navigate           SLIDESHOW: Click ‘Start’ on full-size …

Contemporary – Tokyo

First impresssion of  Tokyo is a bit dissapointing. It doesn’t have an obvious downtown with  the tallest and nicest modern buildings. Tokyo’s architecture is a chaotic mix of old and new spread over various neighbourhoods. It takes time to discover, lots of time. We had only 4 days. FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below       Use …

Japan revisited – 2016

Miyajima

Shrines

Kami is the Japanese word for the spirits, natural forces, or essence in the Shinto faith which originated in ancient peoples’ worship of supernatural powers. It has no written doctrine, but it is Japan’s main religion and is practised widely through ceremonies and festivals. Trees and stones have long been objects of deep devotion in …

Technology

Transportation FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below              Use ——> /<—— to navigate             SLIDESHOW: Click ‘Start’ on full-size picture Wending machines, toilets, etc FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below         Use ——> /<—— to navigate            SLIDESHOW: Click ‘Start’ on full-size picture

Temples

Temples are places of worship and contain  images of Buddha. They are generally clusters of buildings with several halls, where people can pray, and living quarters for monks.  Some have cemeteries. The architecture of Buddhist temples is influenced by the  Korean and Chinese Buddhist architecture. They include  stone column bases, brackets, curved roofs, painted surfaces, …

Woodcraft

Wood has been traditionally used in Japan for the creation of a large range of  sculptures, decorations, ustensils and vessels.  Spectacular transom carving was integrated into traditional construction. Most temples include Jizo statues or fine Buddhas sculpted in wood. FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below                 Use ——> …

The Land

About 70% of the land area consists of mountains. Mount Fuji (3776 meters) is Japan’s highest and best known volcano. You have  to consider youself lucky to get a clear view. We just got  a view.    FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below        Use ——> /<—— to navigate         SLIDESHOW: Click ‘Start’ on full-size picture → …

Japanese Gardens & Bridges

  Chaniwa Gardens are built for the tea ceremony.They contain a tea house, stepping stones that lead towards the tea house, stone lanterns and a stone basin, where guests purify themselves before participating in the ceremony. Karesansui Gardens reproduce natural landscapes in a more abstract way by using stones, gravel, sand and patches of moss …

Rhythm and Pattterns

Traditional Japanese architecture is very simple, especially viewed from a distance. However, various patterns and visual rhythm of the basic elements  can add “interestingness” to the simplest wall or fence. FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below        Use ——> /<—— to navigate            SLIDESHOW: Click ‘Start’ on full-size picture

Traditional Towns & Villages

Old  mountain villages with farmhouses, traditional merchant towns with latticed houses and samurai mansions, narrow roads with shops, restaurants…and castles FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below        Use ——> /<—— to navigate         SLIDESHOW: Click ‘Start’ on full-size picture Castles Nijo Castle in Kyoto is a complex of vaguely fortified buildings and nice gardens created in the …

Thatch Roof Houses

The Shirakawa-go & Gokayama remote regions are famous for their traditional farmhouses some of wich are more than 250 years old. The area has been declared a UNESCO world heritage site. Steep thatch-roof  farmhouses were built for large families. The  ‘gassho-zukuri’ ( praying arms) roofs are designed to shed the heavy snows in the winter.These roofs, …

Traditional House Interiors

The traditional Japanes house, called “minka” is made of wood beams and columns. The “engava” is a space outside, like a veranda. ” Fusuma” are the opaque, often painted, sliding doors that partition the interior. Thy are made of a light wood frame and rice paper. “Ramma” are the carved wood lintels above. “Tatami mats” …

Fish Markets

Tsukiji Fish Market in Tokyo is the biggest wholesale fish and seafood market in the world. The most famous fish for sale is the tuna. The daily 5:30 am wholesalers’ auction is a well known tourist attraction. Anything that swims and is edible can be found here under the huge covered hangars. FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click …

Japanese Cuisine

For centuries the average Japanese diet consisted in rice, miso soup and pickles. Today there are more than a dozen different types of Japanese cuisine. Often we had the feeling that food was prepared just to be photographed. Arrangements are colour combinations and sometimes related to the particular season or event: white for winter; pink …

People

Most Japanese people  seemed to be incredibly polite and friendly. If we looked a little confused,  people stopped and asked if we  needed help. We had one day an older gentleman come join us for sevral blocks just to show us where to take our lunch. There are stories about the people looking down on …

Shopping

Japan is a shopper’s paradise, offering everything from high-tech gadgetry and electronics to traditional arts and crafts. Packaging is an art. Everything  is wrapped,  packed, bagged in layers of plastic and paper. Yes, there is big amount of waste in packaging but everything is beautifully done. FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below           Use ——> /<—— …

Wild Kingdom

Hooded Dog Raincoat:  designed with style and detail, good for any season and great addition to the dog’s wardrobe. FULL-SIZE PICTURES: Click on images below        Use ——> /<—— to navigate         SLIDESHOW: Click ‘Start’ on full-size picture Maneki Nero (Inviting Cat) is one of the most common lucky charms in Japan, designed to attract business and …