Monday, May 2, 2022

Sumiyoshi Shrine: Fukuoka City

One of the more popular Shrines in Fukuoka City is Sumiyoshi Shrine which is located within a 1 km  radius of Hakata Station.  Realistically a very close and conveniently located Urban site and quite remarkable that such a quiet and open area can be situated so close to a major Train Station.  You are enclosed in such a nature filled area that you could be confused that you are in the countryside and not a large metropolitan city, such as Fukuoka.

Our walking tours of Fukuoka always includes a Shrine is our travels as it is a great way to connect to Japanese History and Culture.  The Shinto religion encompasses everything Japanese and it is believed that the gods created Japan in its purest form.  Sumo, the National Sport of Japan, was originally performed as a Shinto ritual and the Deity of the Sumiyoshi Shrine worshipped Sumo as a result.

In fact, before the annual Kyushu Basho in Fukuoka every November you can see a Sumo Ceremony at the Sumiyoshi Shrine whereby all the Wrestlers pray for healthy and prosperity for the last tournament of the year.  I haven`t seen this ceremony yet although I have been to many sumo matches in the past.  In the future I will attempt to get some photos and videos of this special and highly respected occasion.

A trip to Sumiyoshi Shrine will be remember for a long time to come.

Check out Sumiyoshi Shrine here on a map:

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:








Check out these videos below to learn more about Sumiyoshi Shrine in Fukuoka City:


Friday, April 1, 2022

Cherry Blossom Viewing: Nagasaki Prefecture

Cherry Blossom Viewing in Nagasaki is so much more popular than it's plum tree cousins.  In fact, it's more like a religion rather than a casual stroll around a park looking at the beautiful flowers.   It is such a big deal that people plan these days weeks and months in advance even before the Cherry Blossom forecasts have been given by the Japan Meteorological Service, such is the devotion and fanatical feeling towards these inspiring flowers.

Even once the Cherry Blossom Viewing season starts, it's not the lack of places to go (there are cherry trees all over Japan) but the lack of car parking due to the influx of fellow spectators who all have one thing on their mind:  Cherry Blossom Viewing.  I mind admit, when I first came to Japan I wondered out loud what the fuss was and why on earth would someone have to visit 5 different places in one day and take literally 1000 photography of this rather pretty flower?  But, now that I have lived in Japan for a while I have come to realize that Cherry Blossom are so intricately linked to the Japanese psyche and soul that one cannot get enough of this awe inspiring and moving flower.

I guess I have turned Japanese some what because this year I visit 4 different locations, not all in one day mind you so i guess I am still Australian as well.

Viewing Cherry Blossoms will move you as well I am sure.

The pictures I took are from the famous Omura Park and they grab a lot of attention from all over Nagasaki and other areas as well.  The crowds never dispersed all day and even though the weather wasn't the best, this didn't hold anyone back.

Click on the photos below to enlarge.




A time to ponder and stroll around

One of the most popular places in Nagasaki


The social highlight on everyone's calendar

Pretty as a peach

Best time of the year























Please click on the videos below to see Cherry Blossoms as seen from a moving car, another great way to enjoy the beauty of this special event:


Thursday, December 9, 2021

Sushi Experience: Nagasaki and Fukuoka Prefecture

In my adopted Prefectures of Nagasaki and Fukuoka, we without doubt have some of the best and freshest tasting fish in all of Japan.  Now, for those who aren`t in the know, which is most of us non Japanese people, not all sushi tastes the same!  Of course going to a fast food type sushi restaurant (kaizen sushi/ sushi train) is a good experience but going to a real sushi restaurant where the Master makes the sushi right in front of you and prepares the meal one piece at a time, this is what eating sushi is all about!

I am so lucky to have one of the best sushi restaurants in my backyard and the ingredients and choices change according to the season and what the Master believes will satisfy his patrons the most.
The interaction with the Master (known as Taisho in Japanese) adds to the experience of the meal as does the Japanese sake (rice wine) which compliments the sushi to a T!

If you wish to request this type of Gourmet eating experience on your Private Nagasaki or Fukuoka Tour it can be catered for depending on whether the Master is available that day.

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

Sea Bream

Sea Urchin

Yellowtail

2 Types of Tuna

Delicious Eel
Special herb and sauce
The Master hard at work
Looks amazing

Unlimited varieties




And if you thought the Sushi in Nagasaki is great you should check out the Sashimi:




Fresh and delicious


Seafood Galore



Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Peace Park Statues: Nagasaki City

Of course when one thinks about the Nagasaki Peace Park Statues, the main one that comes to mind is the sculpture by Seibo Kitamura of the human being with one hand pointing to the sky whilst sitting cross legged and eyes closed shut.  Nagasaki Peace Park is synonymous with this awe inspiring statue.

Indeed this is a powerful and internationally known symbol associated with the Nagasaki Atomic Explosion but one of my favourite things to do is to walk peacefully through the Peace Park and look at the tens of sculptors and statues that have been donated by Organizations and Countries from around the world as a symbol of hope and peace for the future.

They are all special in their own way and of course one's imagination and feelings of sorrow come through with each viewing yet at the same time they give hope for the future.  In this way they cause the statues to come alive and speak to us in a private way because everyone needs hope and want to leave the earth in a better way for the future generations.

If you ever have a chance to visit Nagasaki for yourself I implore you to do the same and come to the Nagasaki Peace Park Statues.  It will be a surreal if not highly moving experience and one that you will never forget, especially the viewing of the Mother and Child Statue which really hits you at your core of compassion and empathy.  It is this symbol of sorry and regret that must be remembered so that the weak and innocent are protected no matter what and in all situations of conflict around the world.

Come and check out the Nagasaki Peace Park Statues on a map:

Click on the pictures below to enlarge:



Strength in Numbers

Whisked away by angels

A popular but haunting photo

Mother and child

Water is a big part of the exhibition

The date and time of that horrific day








Monday, June 21, 2021

Oura Catholic Church: Nagasaki City

The Oura Catholic Church in Nagasaki was established in 1865 and this church is officially known as "Oura Catholic Church, The Church of 26 Martyrs."  It was built by French priests as a dedication to the 26 saints martyred on Nishizaka Hill.

For this reason, the church faces Nishizaka Hill as a sign of respect to those that dies on this day.  The church was constructed in the Gothic style and is Japan's oldest existing wooden church.  It was designated a National Treasure in 1933.

French stained glass was installed in the interior some 100 years ago, but most of this was seriously damaged in the atomic bomb blast.  It has since been restored with some pieces of other stained glass from that period.  Oura Catholic Cathedral will always be famous worldwide as the church that discovered the "hidden followers" who had survived the religious persecution in the 16th Century.  It was the Oura Catholic Church that lured these hidden Christians back into society and to continue their faith without fear and reprisal.

I recommend viewing this church from the outside and from within as it will provide you with a feeling and of the dedication of those that apposed the Christianity ban all those years ago.  A well received site from all visitors.

Oura Catholic Church is situated very close to the Nagasaki Port Terminal, it is only about a 300 to 400 meter walk although there is a rather steep incline on the the hill area on which it is perched.  The other advantage is that is is very close to the famous Glover Gardens and as such 2 major attractions in Nagasaki can be achieved without too much walking and time wasting.  A double whammy that won't leave you disappointed!

Check out the  Oura Catholic Church on a map!

PS:  The latest news is that on the 29th of June 2018, the Oura Catholic Church has been added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.


Click on the photos below to enlarge:

The Church




On the cross

Imposing figures


Maria Statue


Powerful view
In Memorandum
Lots of images inside










The inside view of the Church


Please click on the video`s below to see more about the Oura Catholic Church Nagasaki: