Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Shimabara Samurai Street Nagasaki

Shimabara Samurai Street Nagasaki commemorates the old samurai section of Shimabara City on the Shimabara Peninsular.  This famous street is lined with stone walls and a spring water canal running down its center.  Three samurai houses have been restored and opened as exhibits to the public to restore the image and the traditions of this old Samurai town.  It is an extremely picturesque setting and perfect for a great photo shoot as images of feudal Japan came racing back into your consciousness from many of those movies and books you have read from your youth.

There aren't too many places left in Japan where one can step back in time and literally feel what it was like to live in these exciting yet dangerous times in Japan where the Samurai yielded ultimate power and demanded total respect.  The houses are basic and it is evident that living was quite antiquated and very traditional.   The kitchen too was very rudimentary and of course a lot on ingenuity was needed to cook and prepare the food for the huge number of immediate family as well as extended family, guest and of course acquaintances that visited the house every now and then.

The canal was used by all of the district and the water source was controlled and looked after communally.  A great example of group dynamics where everyone within the community helped each other unlike today's society that is built on greed, destroying the natural resources around us and lacking compassion of our fellow man.  Sometimes i think it wouldn't have been too bad to live in these feudal times especially when comparing to the issues that we face today.

Check out the Shimabara Samurai Street Nagasaki on a map:

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

A restored Samurai House


Traditional Samurai setting

Samurai Kitchen

Natural Spring water running the length of the street




















Taking a closer look




Typical Samurai Pose


From the outside



Old thatched roofs






Please take a look at the Shimabara Samurai Street Nagasaki here on this video:

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sofukuji Temple Nagasaki

Sofukuji Temple Nagasaki was built in 1629. The Chinese residents of Nagasaki who hailed from Fujian Province constructed this Chinese Temple.  It houses 21 cultural assets, including two national treasures - Daiohoden (Buddha Hall) & Daippo-mon (First Peak Gate).

It is a temple with a unique pedigree as it is unique for housing so many cultural assets in one temple in Western Japan.  Sofukuji Temple Nagasaki has three gated entrances known as "the three gates."  The red entrance gate and other structures in the precincts are rare examples of the architecture of South China during the Ming Dynasty.  The Chinese Bon Festival is held here from July 26th to the 28th and with Chinese people coming from all over Japan to participate in the ritual for the dead, it is one of the times where Chinese visitors will outnumber the locals.

I truly enjoyed the walking experience around the Sofukuji Temple Nagasaki.  It's peaceful and intriguing exterior leads into a tranquil and inviting interior where one can leisurely take their time and stroll around.  It allows one to see the connection that the Chinese were able to make with the Japanese in the 17th century through their association of religion and in particular Buddhism.  A true Chinese built Temple that was actually built in China and shipped piece by piece to Japan and rebuilt at its current location .  A true find and a place that anyone from all walks of life can find appealing and appreciative of its beauty and tension to detail!

Come and check out the Sofukuji Temple Nagasaki on a map!

Click on the pictures below to enlarge:

The entrance
Splendid views
Roof tiles are intricate as well
Chinese Buddhism in Nagasaki
The detail of the eaves is magnificent
Chinese Lanterns

Here is a video of the Sofukuji Temple Nagasaki: