Photo shoot in front of the Castle

Culture, Travel

In Japan, many couples have their weddings in October, November, March and May. And since June is in the rainy season, you can rarely see wedding ceremonies in this particular month.

While I was visiting Kumamoto in Spring, I had the opportunity to see a Japanese couple in their Japanese traditional clothes in front of Kumamoto Castle. The couple were having their prenup photo shoot with the castle and cherry blossoms in the background. They looked gorgeous.

In Southern Japan, Kumamoto Castle is a popular tourist spot, especially during spring because tourists get a chance to explore the old castle and enjoy the cherry blossoms at the same time.

IMG_4385

Advertisements

Yoshinogari Historical Park

Culture, Travel

IMG_2813

Yoshinogari Historical Park

History

The local Government of Saga prefecture designated Yoshinogari Hills as one of the prefecture`s industrial areas in the mid-80s. After that, the government started to develop the area for industrial purposes. However, while the project was on its way, relics and ruins had been found at the site. The unexpected discoveries prompted the local government to temporarily stopped the project.

In 1986, researchers conducted thorough studies to know whether Yoshinogari was truly an important cultural site.The research was a huge success, because they found out that it was, indeed, one of Japan’s largest moat encircled villages. It also appeared that the place and layout of the village closely resembled the ancient country of “Yamatai” or modern-day Japan. The research concluded that the village was established during the Yayoi period (3 century B.C. to 3 century A.D.)

10454435_10202669122555521_2313502246985984673_n

Yoshinogari Ruins – one of the largest ruins discovered in Japan.

10556397_10202669122795527_4531359330572598521_n

10606083_10202669123435543_7825858533890380102_n

The Yoshinogari village

The moat encircled Yoshinogari village is believed to have been the place where successive rulers of Yoshinogari resided. In Japanese history, sharpened posts or moats protect the villagers including the rulers who reside in the village from invaders or wild animals during the ancient Yayoi era. There are four towers inside the village.These towers provide high and safe places for guards to observe the surrounding area. There are also wide gates that serve as an entry way, storehouses for foods, meeting rooms, prayer rooms and different types of ancient houses. All structures in this village were reconstructed based on the ruins discovered by researchers during the excavations.

In addition, some important relics such as bronze knives, decorative glass beads and burial jars found during the past excavations are now displayed at the museum. They are of extremely high academic value and one of Japan`s important cultural assets today because they clearly show the characteristics of the different stages of Yayoi period. Besides, the Yoshinagari ruins and other relics discovered from the area are very important for they allow everyone, especially the young people, to understand how society evolved during that particular period.

10616646_10202669123275539_5356305141539336725_n

Be a Yayoi Villager

Aside from the usual tour around the park, visitors can also join in some individual and family interactive workshops such as fire-making, earthen float-making, KOUROUSEKI or stone pendant making and many more.

Moreover, tourists can also come and live in the village like a native villager at the Minami no Mura (South Village) under the “Become a Yayoi Villager Program”. In this program, participants can get an opportunity to live like villagers and see how life really looked like some thousands of years ago.

Nowadays, local and international tourists visit this park.

Why don’t you come and experience it for yourself?

Address: 1843 Tade, Yoshinogari-cho, Kanzaki-gun, Saga Prefecture
Opening hours: 9:00 – 17:00 (January 1 – May 31), 9:00 – 18:00 (June 1 – August 31)
Admission fee: 400 Yen (adults), 80 Yen (children), Children below 6 years old are free.

For more information, visit Yoshinogari Historical Park official website at http://www.yoshinogari.jp/en/

New Year in Saga City, Japan

Culture

When I was a kid, I really had to get up before midnight to welcome the coming new year. It has been a long tradition. I could not afford to sleep and miss the new year’s eve. It was funny, but everyone in my neighborhood believed that a kid, who sleeps on the new year’s eve and doesn’t jump or stretch his whole body would never grow up.

Well, I realized that I was just one of the million kids in the Philippines who once believed in that kind of superstition.

Here comes 2015.

Last night, I had a wonderful new year experience here in Saga City, Japan. The city has its own unique new year countdown. They brought the old cannon in the middle of the park and had it ready before midnight. The night was so cold and freezing, but I was so excited for it was my first time to see a real cannon. I couldn’t wait, I kept on checking my watch. At about 11:59, the announcer grabbed the microphone and started to count from 10 down to 0. And then… Bang!  WOW! The big explosion was heard all over the city. People in the park applauded and yelled out loud.  They were shouting “Akemashite Omedito Gozaimasu” which means, “Happy New Year”.

What a wonderful new year.

IMG_2790

Video:

Hirado City, Japan

Culture, Nature, Travel

Hirado City, Japan

By: Mark I.Quijano

Located in the northwestern corner of Kyushu, Hirado City is one of the best places to visit in southern Japan.

What makes this city unique? 

I’ve been to Nagasaki city and other parts of Nagasaki prefecture several times, but Hirado city remains on the top of my lists of places to visit in the future. This city has lots of interesting things to explore. And for me, the irresistible beauty of nature and the century-old business and Christian history of Hirado make this little city unique.

IMG_8299

IMG_8246

Obae Lighthouse

Located at the northern tip of Ikitsuki Island, this lighthouse is standing at the top of the steep cliffs. The lighthouse is officially called “Obae Hana Lighthouse”. It was built in 1958. This lighthouse is one of the few lighthouses in Japan where one can climb up and enjoy the views from the viewing deck for free. From the tower, anyone can see the sweeping views of the sea and the green scenery that covers the entire Island. The beautiful sunset is also favorably visible from here. This lighthouse is visited by both local and foreign tourists and has become one of the iconic places of Hirado.

IMG_8160Hirado Castles

Religious History

Japan is one of the most developed countries in the world today. It has a rich Christian history that began in early 1500. However, recent statistics shows that only 1 percent of Japan’s total population practice Christianity.

In 1550, Christian faith was brought to Hirado by Francisco Xavier. But, in 1587, Hideyoshi Toyotomi issued an interdict against the Christian faith in fear of a decline in political power and started a severe suppression of the Christian community. Christianity was also prohibited in the Edo Period. Many Christians were executed in the first half of the 17th century. Others decided to move to the Islands of Nagasaki, particularly in Hirado or (Firando) to escape death from persecutions.

At the moment, there are at least 130 Catholic Churches in Nagasaki prefecture, the main area for Christians in Japan. Other Christian denominations such as Seventh Day Adventists and Baptists are now present in this prefecture.

IMG_8167 - コピー - コピーTourists have their photo taken in front of Hirado Church
 St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church (Hirado Church)

The record shows that this Church was originally built in 1913 and reconstructed in 1931 at its current location. As part of the 1971 memorial celebrations of St. Francis Xavier’s visit to Hirado, a statue of the missionary was erected here and the church was renamed to St. Francis Xavier Memorial Church. It is now one of Hirado’s popular tourist spots and a well-known landmark of the city.

IMG_8176

The interior part of the famous St. Francis Church.

IMG_8321Gaspar-sama Martyrdom Site

IMG_8209

IMG_8214 - コピー

IMG_8222

IMG_8215 - コピーIkitsuki basalt columns

In Hirado, Ikitsuki Island is one of the 100 special sights in Nagasaki prefecture these days. It is blessed with cliffs. Halfway up the coast there are rock formations that always amazed visitors, the Ikitsuki basalt  columns or “shiodawara” in Japanese, which means “salt bag”.The rock cracked vertically so it creates pillar-like rock formations. For photographers, to get a good angle of the rocks is quite difficult. One must go down from the top of the clip a bit. The path is very narrow so the exploration is quite tricky and dangerous, but there’s no other way down. Just be careful.

IMG_8243

IMG_8189 - コピー

Rice fields

In this city, guests need not worry about foods because locally produced rice are available in the market. Fresh marine products are also available at the market everyday.

Warabino Rice Terraces

Culture, Nature
This is Warabino rice terraces in Karatsu City, Japan. This beautiful place is a National Important Cultural Scenery and one of the Top 100 Terraced Paddy Fields in Japan. There are about 700 rice paddies in this place built by the local farmers centuries ago.

IMG_8570

IMG_8504

IMG_8529

IMG_8537

Dikes and fences that protect the area from erosion.

IMG_8533

Vegetables and rice are regularly planted here every year.

IMG_8613

IMG_8610

Beauties of Japan!

Culture, Foods, Nature, Travel

Luminarie

Kobe City

Luminaire is one of the best  attractions in this beautiful city. Thousands of people from different places visit this event every year. 

faces of amami

167192_1528507218923_5825417_n

Amami Islands

Located in the southern part of  Japan, Amami Islands or ( Amami Oshima) in Japanese, are widely known for their earthenware  products.  They started making it 6,000 years ago.

yamagata

yamagata 3

  Yamagata 1

yamagata 2

Yamagata City.

I am showing you the things that attracted my attention while I was on my trip to Yamagata. They have these wonderful night views, classic Cadillac, natural parks and many more. And I know there are more wonderful things to discover in this place. 

Tokyo 2

I met these lovely dogs while I was taking a walk at Mizumoto Park, Tokyo

Tokyo 1

Aside from the famous sky tree tower and the busy streets of Shibuya, you may also visit some parks and shrines within the capital.

 

Tokyo

Tokyo

If you are in Tokyo, don’t forget to visit Asakusa Temple. This is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Tokyo.

hokkaido 2

hokkaido 3

hokkaido 4

28227_1286539289876_331069_n

28227_1286540049895_4798424_n

28227_1286541609934_3961873_n

28227_1286542089946_3425472_n

28227_1286542129947_3663866_n

28227_1286542569958_4993979_n

  Hokkaido

At the north, I visited Kushiro and other parts of Hokkaido.

hokkaido 1My birthday cake, my first ever birthday celebration in Hokkaido, Japan.

Hokkaido  

Located at the northern tip of Japan, this place can give you a wonderful experience. An experience that you will never forget. Try their foods and delicious products. Explore the nature by visiting several active volcanoes, hot springs, natural parks, and green pastures. There are also some museums and parks in this area.