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Takayama Festivals :: Takayama, Japan

April 3, 2010 by  
Filed under Festivals

Held twice a year in the old town of Takauama, the Takayama Festivals (Takayama Matsuri) in Japan are rich experiences featuring large ornate floats (Yatai) which are displayed throughout the city. The spring festival, held on April 14th & 15th, is held each year to pray for a good harvest and features the Hie Shrine. The shirine is known as Sanno-sama and is why the spring festival is referred to by many as the Sanno Festival. The fall festival (Hachiman Festival), held on October 9th and 10th after the harvest, centers around the Sakurayama Hachiman Shrine and focuses on giving thanks for a good harvest. Started sometime Read more

Nijō Castle :: Kyoto, Japan

March 9, 2010 by  
Filed under Landmarks

The lavishly decorated Nijō Castle is a wonderful example of Japanese Momoyama architecture and was a symbol of the power and authority of the Tokugawa shogunate. It was built in 1603 as the official residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun Ieyasu and enlargement was completed in 1626 by the third Shogun Iemitsu. An interesting aspect about Nijō Castle is the fact that pieces of another castle have ended up being incorporated into it. The main Tower and karamon(gate) of Fushimi Castle was moved to Nijō Castle in 1625 during the completion of construction. In 1939 Nijō Castle was donated to the City of Kyoto by the Imperial family and has been open to the public ever since. The castle is part of the UNESCO World Heritage site “Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto” which comprises of 17 locations in three cities. Read more

Himeji Castle (Himeji-jo) :: Japan

February 11, 2010 by  
Filed under Landmarks

Himeji Castle, also known as Himeji-jo is one of Japan’s “Three Famous Castles” and is the most visited castle in the country. This 17th century castle is one of the finest surviving example of Japanese castle architecture and is a masterpiece of construction in wood. The breathtaking castle consists of 83 buildings with defensive and protection devices that date back to the beginning of the Shogun period. With its tall stone foundations and white plastered walls, the castle is truly breathtaking when seen in contrast with the natural elements of the area. Himeji castle was inscribed onto the Read more

Sapporo Snow Festival :: Japan

January 8, 2010 by  
Filed under Festivals


The Sapporo Snow Festival is a world famous winter celebration where hundreds of massive ice sculptures are created from packed snow and shaved ice and put on display throughout the city of Sapporo, Japan. To support the festival, over 30,000 tons of snow is trucked in from the mountains and surrounding areas. The festival was established in Read more

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