All posts tagged: castle


The earthquakes in Kumamoto on April 14th and 16th  killed at least 48, injured over 3000, and more than 44,000 were evacuated from their homes. Many historic structures were damaged including Aso Shrine and parts of Kumamoto Castle. Today, a news report in the Asahi Shinbun showed the pond at Suizenji Jojuen garden had almost disappeared. Right now there are pressing matters of getting water, food and shelter to those who need it. In the long term I’m a believer in the positive power tourism can have. It brings in money, provides jobs, and gives pride to residents. I first visited Kumamoto around 10 years ago to write and shoot a travel feature for Okinawa Living, I returned in 2013 and in 2015 updating the Fodor’s Japan guidebook. The castle and the Japanese garden are my favorite spots in a beautiful city. I hope some of you can make a trip to Kumamoto while you are living in  Japan or during your next visit. It’s a fine city, well deserving of your time. Kumamoto Castle The Uto …

Cherry Blossom at Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle is Japan’s greatest castle. It’s the largest and most visited. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and several parts of the complex are National Treasures. The city of Himeji is one of the stops on the shinkansen bullet train running between Osaka and Hiroshima so it’s easy to reach. The castle is visible from the train station at the opposite end of the main street. Himeji is also known as Shirasagi-j0 or White Egret Castle, this is in contrast to the Crow Castles at Matsumoto and Okayama. Years of wear and tear had left the castle somewhat rundown, so a major renovation project took place recently. The castle reopened to the public on March 27, 2015 and now has bright white walls and pale grey roof tiles. The cleaning meant that my older images of Himeji needed updating and there’s no better time to do it than while the cherry blossom is blooming. Luckily we got the blue skies I wanted for “postcard” shots of the castle. Finished off with a few pics in the last …

100 Kata for Karate Day at Zakimi Castle.

October 25th is Karate Day in Okinawa, at 6AM members of several dojos gathered at Zakimi Castle to perform 100 kata (set forms). There were representatives of many different styles of karate. The event was hosted by James of the DOJO Bar, and Arakaki sensei gave the opening words of encouragement. It was great to see so many nationalities, ages, and ranks taking part. After performing 100 kata of their own styles. Everyone gathered together and performed a single kata at the same time. The group size wasn’t big enough to break a world record this year, but that’s just something to achieve another time. See you all next year! If you’d like a copy of the group pic you can download it for free HERE.