Suma Beach, Japan


The Beach, Suma ム望ナ山伏りョ演海浦の磨須

(Not sure on the transcription, it is hard to read in places. 須磨 is Suma.)

There is a white sandy beach in this ward, which attracts tourists to the Kansai region for sun bathing and popular events during the summer season. The same beach has appeared in the classic epics Genji monogatari, Heike monogatari, and Ise monogatari. Thus Suma is often referred as an utamakura or meisho, referenced frequently in waka poetry, Noh theatre, kabuki and jōruri.
Wikipedia.

“Suma, or Suma-no-Ura (4 M.), Shioya (6 M.), and Maiko (9 M.), all popular and attractive bathing-resorts W. of Kobe (main line of the Sanyo Rly., and the electric trolley), on the beautiful shore of the Inland Sea, possess fine shingly beaches (the delight of children), lovely sea views and a charm which has been the theme of native poets for ages. A day can be spent very pleasantly visiting the three places.
“…Many fishing-boats dot the placid waters, and long nets filled with silvery fish are often hauled up on the sandy shore [at Suma]. The sea-bathing is excellent and safe, with no heavy ground-swell or treacherous undertow.”
“Terry’s Japanese Empire”, T. Phillip Terry, 1914

Old Tokyo

There were three villages on this beach, Higashi-suma, Nishi-suma, and Hama-suma. None ofthese villages, however, seemed to have a distinctive local trade. According to an ancient poet, there used to be a great number of salt farms on the beach, but they must have gone out of existence years before. I saw small fish called kisugo spread on the sand to be dried. Some villagers–they hardly seemed professional fishermen–were guarding the fish against the crows that dived to grab them. Each had a bow and arrow in his hand. I wondered why these people still resorted to such a cruel means without the slightest sense of guilt, and thought of the bloody war that had taken place in the mountains at the back of the beach.
“Oku no Hosomichi (The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and other travel sketches)”, Matsuo Basho, 17o2 (translated Nobuyuki Yuasa, 1966 Penguin Classics, p.88)

Double Bridge, Tokyo Imperial Palace, Tokyo


Handwritten on back:
Empire palace & “Nijyubashi”, Double bridge

Google Street View

Edo Castle also had two bridges here, but the names were different. The stone bridge was a wooden bridge called 西之丸大手橋 nishi no maru ōtebashi “front bridge to the western compound” and the iron bridge was also a wooden bridge called 西之丸下乗橋 nishi no maru kejōbashi “dismount bridge to the western compound.” Nijubashi was actually the nickname of the kejōbashi (now the iron bridge), not the ōtebashi (now the stone bridge). The bridge was built in 1614 by the shōgun, Tokugawa Hidetada. The bridge had a secondary wooden support mechanism built underneath which made it a 2 level construction. Because of these two levels, it looked like there were two bridges. The nickname 二重橋 nijūbashi/futaebashi came to be used as it was quite a distinctive bridge.

When the imperial court moved into the castle in 1868 but the bridges remained. After the confiscation and destruction of the daimyō residences in Daimyō Alley and elsewhere, the old bridge and gate system was re-evaluated. The two bridges were chosen as the main entrances to Tokyo Castle (the Imperial Palace). The kejōbashi was torn down and replaced with an iron bridge in 1888. It was rebuilt again in 1964 to match the 新宮殿 Shin Kyūden the New Palace, which is the collection of shitty 60’s-looking buildings that litter the palace grounds.
Nijubashi – Tokyo’s Most Famous Bridge

Zotokuin Temple, Motomachi, Yokohama, Japan


YOKOHAMA Obsèques Japonaises (montant au Temple).
(Japanese funeral rites (climbing to the Temple))

Zôtoku-in is a Kôya-san Shingon Buddhist temple in the Heiraku neighborhood of Yokohama; originally located in the Motomachi neighborhood and directly associated with the Yokohama Foreign Cemetery, it was moved to Heiraku, up on the Bluff, after the 1923 Great Kantô Earthquake. The chief objects of worship are Kôbô Daishi and Fudô Myôô. The temple’s Yakushi Hall, most recently rebuilt in 1972, remains in Motomachi. It is said to date, originally, to the 9th century, though there is no surviving documentation of this. The temple’s 20th century stone and metal main gate was replaced in 2008 with a new wooden gate in the traditional style.
The Samurai Archives (has links to Google Maps).

Motomachi, located at the foot of the Yamate area, was established when the residents of Yokohama Village moved here at the time of the opening of the port. Zotokuin Temple was located at the end of the main street (present day Motomachi-Dori). The building in this photograph is the Yakushi-do next to the main hall. The Yakushi-do was later moved to the Horikawa Waterway from its original location and still stands there today.
Naosite

In 1859, soon after the opening of the port of Yokohama, extreme nationalists killed Russian marines Roman Mophet and Ivan Sokoloff. The bakufu bought farmland-adjoining Zotokuin for their tomb. This grave is the oldest known in the Foreign Cemetery. … The former Zotokuin Cemetery area defined at that time is now the area near the Meyer M.Lury Memorial Gate (Motomachi Gate), where the oldest tombs can be found. [Approximately here.] After the Great Kanto Earthquake, the Zotokuin Temple was relocated to Heiraku (Yokohama).
Brief History of the Yokohama Foreign General Cemetery

Rokkaku-dō Temple, Kyoto


Rokkakudo, Kyoto —- 堂 角 六 都 京

Street View

The Rokkakudo (Chohoji) temple is said to have been founded by Shotoku Taishi (Prince Regent Shotoku). Successive generations of Ikenobo headmasters have served as head priests of this temple and the site is known as the “birthplace of ikebana.”
Ikenobo: Rokkakudo Temple

According to legend, when Prince Shōtoku was a child on Awaji Island he found a small Chinese chest that had floated ashore. Opening the lid, the prince found a gold image about 5.5 cm long of the Nyoirin Kannon, which he decided to keep as a sacred Buddhist image or amulet. He prayed to the Kannon to bring him success, promising Kannon that he would build Shitenno-ji Temple (in the area of present Osaka) if he was successful.

In 587, Prince Shotoku decided to build the great temple of Shitennoj-i in Osaka. Searching for building materials, the prince journeyed out from Osaka. It was a hot day and the prince stopped by a pond to cool down. He took off his clothes and his precious amulet in order to bathe in the pond. He placed his clothes and the Nyoirin Kannon on a nearby tree. After his swim, he went to put on his clothes and put the Nyoirin Kannon back in his pocket. Suddenly the Kannon became too heavy to pick up and the prince was unable to continue. So the prince decided to spend the night there and await the morning.

During the night he dreamed that Nyoirin Kannon appeared to him saying, “With this amulet I have given you, I have protected many generations but now I wish to remain in this place. You must build a six sided temple and enshrine me within this temple. Many people will come here and be healed.” So Prince Shotoku built the temple and enshrined Nyoirin Kannon within it.
Wikipedia

Osaka Castle, Osaka


The majestic castle-tower looked up in the sky, Osaka.
Post-1930

Street View

In 1583, Hideyoshi Toyotomi (1537-1598), a powerful feudal lord and warrior during the Sengoku period, built Osaka Castle during a period of unrest which had followed numerous wars over the previous decades. Obsessed with gold, Hideyoshi insisted that gold be applied to much of the castle’s interior furnishing, with this motif also appearing on the exterior awnings to this day. Upon completion, Hideyoshi held the castle as a stronghold, which led to a secession of the wars that were raging in Japan at that time – essentially unifying the country and bringing temporary peace.

As history tends to prove, peace did not last forever, and numerous wars broke out over the coming centuries. Osaka Castle was destroyed and rebuilt numerous times, and not always by war – in 1665 the main castle tower was in fact destroyed by fire as a result of a lightning storm. After this period the castle stood for another 200 years, before again being destroyed during the Boshin War. The most recent (and hopefully permanent) iteration of Osaka Castle was reconstructed in 1928
Osaka Info

In 1583, Hideyoshi began construction at the former site of Honganji Temple and completed the magnificent castle, which was reputed as being unparalleled in the country. Hideyoshi, having employed the castle as his stronghold, succeeded in quelling the wars which had continued for more than one century, thereby unifying the entire nation. After Hideyoshi’s death, Ieyasu Tokugawa, who worked for Hideyoshi as his chief retainer, was appointed to the Shogun and he established the shogunate (government) in Edo (Tokyo). In 1615, Ieyasu ruined the Toyotomi family and destroyed Osaka Castle (in the Summer War of Osaka). Thereafter, the Tokugawa shogunate reconstructed Osaka Castle. It held the castle under its direct control until 1868, when the Tokugawa shogunate lost power and the castle fell.

In 1931, the Main Tower of the Castle was reconstructed in the center of Osaka Castle, which was used as a military base, with funds raised by the citizens.
The present-day Main Tower is the third generation. It follows the Main Tower from the Toyotomi period, which was destroyed by fire during the Summer War, and the tower from the Tokugawa period, which was struck by lightning and was burned down.
Osaka Castle

Wikipedia.

Incline, Lake Biwa Canal, Kyoto, Japan


Keage Incline on Street View

Lake Biwa Canal is a waterway in Japan constructed during the Meiji Period to transport water, freight, and passengers from Lake Biwa to the nearby City of Kyoto. The canal supplied Japan’s first public hydroelectric power generator, which served from 1895 to provide electricity for Kyoto’s trams…Due to the 36 meter difference in elevation between the upstream dam and its terminus, an inclined plane was built, which allowed boats to travel on land via the use of a flat car on which they were placed. Operation of the 9 ft (2,743 mm) track gauge incline ceased in 1948.
Wikipedia

Canal Museum.

Kohfukuji, Nara


Pagoda of Kofukuji and Hananomatsu, Nara
松の花及塔重五寺福興良奈

Five-storied pagoda in the Kohfukuji Buddhist temple complex. Hananomatsu is the tree.

Google Street View

Kofukuji used to be the family temple of the Fujiwara, the most powerful aristocratic clan during much of the Nara and Heian Periods. The temple was established in Nara at the same time as the capital in 710. At the height of Fujiwara power, the temple consisted of over 150 buildings.
Japan-guide.com

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784. During this period the framework of national government was consolidated and Nara enjoyed great prosperity, emerging as the fountainhead of Japanese culture.
Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara (UNESCO)

The Five-Story Pagoda, which was completely restored in 1426, is the second tallest pagoda in Japan at 50.1m, behind the 55m-tall pagoda at Toji Temple in Kyoto. The pagoda had burnt down no less than five times before the 15th century.
Japan Visitor

From the temple website:

History of Kohfukuji
In the eighth year of the reign of Emperor Tenji (669 CE), Kagami no Okimi, consort of the statesman Nakatomi (Fujiwara) no Kamatari, founded a Buddhist chapel on the family estate in Yamashina Suehara (in modern-day Kyoto Prefecture) to pray for Kamatari’s recovery from illness. In this temple, which came to be known as Yamashinadera, Kagami no Okimi enshrined a Shaka triad (Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha, along with two attendant Bodhisattvas) that had originally been commissioned by Kamatari. In the wake of the relocation of the capital as a result of the Jinshin Rebellion of 672, the temple was disassembled and moved to Umayasaka in Nara prefecture, where it was re-erected and named Umayasakadera.

Shortly after the establishment of the Heijo Capital in 710, Yamashinadera relocated to its present location in what is now the city of Nara. The temple, now called Kohfukuji (“The Temple that Generates Blessings”), grew rapidly in size under the patronage of successive emperors and empresses, as well as continued support from members of the powerful Fujiwara family. Over time, it developed a particularly close connection with the “Northern House” of the Fujiwara clan, under whose sponsorship it accumulated sufficient wealth and power to rank as one of the “Four Great Temples” of the Nara Period (710-784) and one of the “Seven Great Temples” of the Heian Period (794-1180).
The Kohfukuji Temple Complex

THE FIVE-STORIED PAGODA
The five-storied pagoda was originally erected in 730 by Empress Komyo, the daughter of Kohfukuji’s founding patron, Fujiwara no Fuhito. Over its long history, the building burned down a total of five times, with the current reconstruction dating to around the year 1426. At a total height of 50.1 meters, it is the second tallest wooden pagoda in Japan today. Famous for its deep eaves, the structure successfully blends references to Nara-period architecture with the dynamic architectural style of the medieval period. The original Nara-period building is thought to have risen to a height of around 45 meters, making it the tallest man-made structure in Japan at the time.

The Kohfukuji Temple Complex: the Five Storied Pagoda

Hananomatsu
On the stone monument is written “Monument of Hananomatsu”.
Actually, there was a pine tree in front of the Tokondo hall.
It was called Hananomatsu.
It is said that the pine trees were planted by Kobo Daishi.
Kobo Daishi is the posthumous name of the priest called Kukai about 1,200 years ago.
Kukai is the one who opened a new sect of Buddhism called Shingon sect.
For this reason, he has a name that respects Kobo Daishi.
The pine grew big, but it withered in 1937.
In 1940, successor pine was planted.
But that pine withered in 2008.
Thereafter, pines have not been planted there.

Tourist Spots in Kyoto, Nara, Osaka

Wikipedia
Wikipedia Commons

Meiji Shrine, Tokyo


門 神 南 (神宫治明)

(That last part seems to be written backwards? I don’t know Japanese. My best guess is:)
South/Minami Gate (Meiji Jingu)

1921-1946

Google Maps.

After the emperor’s death in 1912, the Japanese Diet passed a resolution to commemorate his role in the Meiji Restoration. An iris garden in an area of Tokyo where Emperor Meiji and Empress Shōken had been known to visit was chosen as the building’s location.

Construction began in 1915 under Itō Chūta, and the shrine was built in the traditional nagare-zukuri style, using primarily Japanese cypress and copper. The building of the shrine was a national project, mobilizing youth groups and other civic associations from throughout Japan, who contributed labor and funding. It was formally dedicated in 1920, completed in 1921, and its grounds officially finished by 1926.

The original building was destroyed during the Tokyo air raids of World War II.
Wikipedia

Official website (uses Flash)