Friday, November 25, 2011

Shirakumo Pond Unzen Nagasaki

Located up in the Hot Spring Resort town of Unzen on the Shimabara Peninsular, Nagasaki, Shirakumo Pond is the place of choice for the autumn foliage hunters and bird watches alike.  This area teems with flora and fauna and on weekends there can be a real fight for premium parking space especially in Spring and Autumn.

Arriving on Monday gave me plenty of time to take some real good photos to share with you so I hope you enjoy them!

Check out Shirakumo Pond here on a map!

Click here to enlarge the photos:

Picture perfect
Amazing colours
Autumn Foliage

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Urakami Cathedral Wall Nagasaki

Urakami Cathedral Wall Nagasaki is a prime Christian symbol from yesteryear that is still celebrated today.  When the government repealed its prohibition of Christianity the residents of Urakami who had regained their freedom in the 20th century started building  a church as their first and foremost project.  Due to funding difficulties construction did not get underway for another 20 years or so but eventually the project was finished and the Christians of Urakami were able to worship and pray in a context of their choice without restrictions.

The explosion of the atomic bomb on Aug 9, 1945  completely destroyed the Urakami Cathedral, the grandest church in east Asia at the time.  Only the broken church wall remained.  A portion of the southern wall was brought to Matsuyama Park (Nagasaki Peace Park) to make way for the construction of a new church building in 1958.  Today, Urakami Cathedral Wall Nagasaki can be viewed by all visitors to the Nagasaki Peace Park.  Located next to the epicentre monument, it is a moving and important cultural asset that can be enjoyed by all that come to this highly spiritual and surreal place.

This wall is an important part of Christian History in Nagasaki and should be celebrated as such. Without a doubt a huge and very significant part of the Psyche of all Nagasaki Christians and used as a sign of hope and for future peace.  I recommend all visitors come and check out the Urakami Cathedral Wall Nagasaki in conjunction with all the other amazing and heart moving landmarks within the Nagasaki Peace Park domain.

Check out the Urakami Cathedral Wall Nagasaki on a map!

Click on the pictures below to enlarge:

Urakami Cathedral Wall Nagasaki Depiction of Christ and his Apostles
Urakami Cathedral Wall Nagasaki
The view from the epicenter depicted in a painting
Urakami Cathedral Wall Nagasaki
The remaining tower

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Hachirao Christian Tombstones

The Shimabara Peninsular, Nagasaki is dotted with Christian tombstones.  It's hard to imagine that once there used to be many Christian communities and schools located all over the place in this largely Buddhist and Shinto dominated country.   One of these communities was the Hachirao Jesuit School in present day Kita Arima.   It was responsible for bringing Western Style painting and copperplate engraving to Japan.  In 1588 there were 75 Japanese students at the preparatory school in Kita Arima and by 1596 the number had grown to 112.

Eventually these schools closed or went underground as a result of Japan's ban on Christianity and as a result today less than 0.5% of the Japanese population regard themselves as Christian.

Come and check out the Hachirao Christian Tombstones on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

In Kita Arima
The graves

Friday, November 11, 2011

Nagasaki Porcelain Museum

The Nagasaki Porcelain Museum is located in Huis Ten Bosch and shows classic Imari Ware styled pieces that are so popular and desired today.  If by any chance you are going to visit Huis Ten Bosch whilst travelling around Nagasaki and you are interested in Porcelain then you can cross two interests of your to do list and save time and money at the same time.

Imari is the name for Japanese porcelain wares made in the town of Arita, located just outside Nagasaki Prefecture.  They were exported to Europe extensively from the port of Imari between the second half of the 17th century and the first half of the 18th century.  In Japanese, these products are also known as Arita-yaki.  Imari or Arita porcelain has been produced continuously until the present date and are still sought after products from around the world.

The main type of Imari used today is called Kinrande.  Kinrande Imari is colored porcelain with underglaze cobalt blue and overglaze red and gold.  The color combination was not seen in China at that time.  Traditional Ming dynasty color porcelain used dominantly red and green, probably due to scarcity of gold in China, whereas gold was abundant in Japan in those days.  The subject matter of Imari is diverse ranging from of foliage and flowers, people scenery and abstractions.

Nagasaki Porcelain Museum is conveniently located in Huis Ten Bosch and allows the public to see Imari Porcelain up close and personal.  You will be intrigued by the colors and even more intrigued with the attention to detail.  It's a rather small Museum but allow at least 30 to 40 minutes as each piece will reel you in and demand your total attention.

Check out the Nagasaki Porcelain Museum for yourself on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Nagasaki Porcelain Museum Classic style plate
Nagasaki Porcelain Museum
Original Japanese designs
Nagasaki Porcelain Museum
Various figurines
Nagasaki Porcelain Museum
Imari wares
Nagasaki Porcelain Museum
Lots of varieties

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Saint Philip Church Nagasaki

Saint Philip Church Nagasaki is on Nishizaka Hill where the 26 Martyrs are situated.  The Church is named after a Mexican martyr who was one of the 26 saints that was killed by the Shogunate powers which banished Christianity in the 16th century.  His bust can be witnessed along with the other 25 martyrs at the Nishizaka Landmark which has such as power message and image of sacrifice and willpower to defy the orders to renounce Christianity within Japan.

The 2 towers soaring from the church are 16 meters high and the church has becomes one of the most visited landmarks in Nagasaki.  The museum and church was designed by Kenji Imai (1895-1987).  Here is some background information of the unknown designer and architect.

1895        born in Tokyo
1919        graduated from Waseda University
1919-65  teaches architecture at Waseda University
1926-27  travelled to Europe, influenced by Gaudi´s work
1948       converted to Catholicism
1987       died

The architecture of the church is unique and any fans of the works by Gaudi will immediately recognize the similarities.  So, if you are a follower of Gaudi's works or just like to visit interesting places then i am sure you will come away with a positive image of this place.  It will be impossible to just spend 10 to 15 minutes here, budget on at least 45 minutes to an hour as every aspect of this building will attract your eye and demand further detailed inspection.  This location is a great place to talk a walk and just breath in the history and atmosphere that remains today.

Click here to locate Saint Philip Church Nagasaki on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Saint Philip Church Nagasaki Interesting patterns
Saint Philip Church Nagasaki
Entrance of the Church
Saint Philip Church Nagasaki
The unique Spires

Please take a look at this video to see Saint Philip Church Nagasaki in more detail: