Saturday, October 29, 2011

Fukusaiji Temple: Nagasaki City

Fukusaiji Temple in Nagasaki was founded in 1628, originally as a Zen Temple.  During the dropping of the atomic bomb on the city of Nagasaki on August 9th, 1945, the temple was completely destroyed. It was rebuilt in its present particular shape, a giant turtle at the base with an 18 meter statue of a Kannon (a goddess of compassion)  standing on its back.  In my opinion a unique and interesting construction of a temple and is also known as the Nagasaki Kannon Universal Temple and is instantly recognizable within the Nagasaki skyline.

Fukusaiji Temple also has another claim to fame.  It has a fascinating addition, a Foucault pendulum which is a device used to show the rotation of the earth.  Normally found in universities or planetariums, it is one of only five in Japan.  The pendulum is the third largest in the world and is only dwarfed by the ones in Paris and St Petersburg.  I am pretty sure that the only Foucault pendulum to be found in an active place of worship and can be witnessed here at Fukusaiji Temple Nagasaki.  I am sure that 99% of Nagasakians wouldn't know anything about this incredible fact and you could be more in the know then the locals with 1 visit to the amazing place.

If you have an interest in Buddhism, unique architecture an or just like to take photos of rare and special attractions then this is your place to visit!  You will be drawn in by this places uniqueness as its a place that you travel the world and still not find something this interesting and completely different to any other structure you have seen before.

Click here to see Fukusaiji Temple Nagasaki on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:

Powerful from all angles

The monuments

Unique pond

Great hope for all

Goddess on a turtle

From afar

Unique image

Please click on the videos below to see Fukusaiji Temple in all its glory:

Kunisaki Geopark: Nagasaki Prefecture

The Kunisaki Geopark Andesite in Nagasaki Prefecture was created 1.5 million years ago when a Volcano near the Shimabara Peninsular discharged a sticky lava called Andesite.  During the age when the volcanic activity in the Hayasaki Peninsula (further south where Kuchinotsu town is now located) was less intense, there were some volcanic islands in the sea area around Shimabara Island and they belched magma consisting of different ingredients.  On the Kunisaki Peninsula in the south-west of the Shimabara Peninsula, visitors can see some layers of earth containing thick lava from the volcanic eruption then and layers of debris deposited by those volcanoes.

Even an amateur like me who has no real volcanic and geological experience, just seeing and observing these prehistoric materials of rock and volcanic materials in the flesh up close and personal is a real eye opener.  To realize that time has stood still and that history is staring at you is a fascinating experience that one should not miss out on and its all here in my backyard, figuratively speaking.

I spent a good 2 hours here walking and exploring but a real avid fan could easily spend a half a day here, really interesting and exhilarating stuff to be seen and observed!  The walk is an easy one, right along the coastline a walking path has been paved for ease of access and movement so that you can thoroughly enjoy the entire viewing process.   The result is uninhibited viewing of all things volcanic and lots of interesting materials to be seen and touched by all involved.

Come and check out the Kunisaki Geopark here on a map!

Layered rock formations
At the shoreline
Porous looking ones too
Rock shapes are different
Unique Rock Formations

Check out the Kunisaki Andesite Geopark Nagasaki in the videos below:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kazagashira Park: Nagasaki City

Kazagashira Park in Nagasaki is otherwise known as Ryoma Sakamoto's Park.  It stands on the top of a hill overlooking the magnificent Nagasaki Harbor.  With panoramic views of the city it is a excellent place to get a feel of the land and the encompassing valley below.  The park is a well known landmark and visitors from all over Japan as well as from overseas especially those that have studies Nagasaki History come to get a gander of the most famous Samurai of recent times.

Ryoma Sakamoto is heralded as being a visionary samurai for his time and during the mid 1800′s when the country was in turmoil with feudal Lord’s batting for domination one man had new ideas to transform Japan from a backwater country into an industrial force.  Ryoma Sakamoto envisioned a country unhindered by the feudal system and led a movement to overthrow the Tokugawa Shogunate, which he was successful in accomplishing.  This opened up Japan to overseas influences, world trade, industrial advances, technological expertise and generally made Japan the country that it is today!

Nearly every Nagasakian knows about this park and has visited at least once.  It would be a brave man or woman to admit to never having heard of Ryoma Sakamoto and or his park that is named after his accomplishments.  If you have a spare hour or 2 and wish to take a nice scenic walk through the heart of Nagasaki City and experience the beauty of the area then this place is for you.

Come and check out Kazagashira Park Nagasaki on a map!

Click on the photos below to enlarge:


Ryoma Sakamoto the famous Samurai

The legend

Views of the harbor below

Spectacular Views

Here is a video of Kazagashira Park Nagasaki and the scenic views and splendid panorama:

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Urakami Cathedral: Nagasaki City

Urakami Cathedral in Nagasaki is a Catholic Church that was completed in 1914.  The main reason for its construction was because there were a large number of Christians who lived in the Urakami region of Nagasaki and many of them secretly continued to keep their faith even after Hideyoshi Toyotomi (the ruler of Japan in the 16th century) prohibited Christianity.

After the long-standing ban on Christianity was lifted, the  Nagasaki Christians started constructing the Urakami Cathedral Nagasaki, which took them 20 years to complete.

Please click on the photos below to enlarge:

A sight to see!

Statue minus its head

Lots of info

Inside the Cathedral

Many figures and statues to see

Remembering the 26 Martyrs

Very impressive

The bell tower after the bomb

Full story of the Bell Tower

Powerful messages for all

However, when the atomic bomb was detonated over Nagasaki on August 9, 1945,  the Nagasaki Urakami Cathedral was close to the center of the explosion and was completely destroyed, except for a part of its wall.  After the war, the followers of the church took great pains to rebuild it and in 1959, a beautiful brick cathedral was finally completed.

Today, it stands as one of the symbols of Nagasaki that has been rebuilt and rediscovered itself from the past.  Bigger, stronger, newer but at the same time able to remember the good times and the bad.

A great place to visit for practising Christians and non religious people alike.  I am sure all people from all walks of life will be intrigued with the Urakami Cathedral.  Today it still shines like a beacon and is a major attraction for tourists from all over Japan and the world to see and feel what Nagasaki was like all those years ago and its influence it had on many people all over Japan.

The Urakami area of Nagasaki is a landmark of sorts and there is many many places of interest that one could easily spend 2 to 3 hours in the area walking around and seeing the sights.  Well worth a visit and a gander.

See where Urakami Cathedral Nagasaki is on a map!

Please check out Urakamai Cathedral Nagasaki from the video below: