Walking in the City

Kamakurayama park in Kamakura (Kanagawa Prefecture near Tokyo)

Now the statue of Minamoto Yoritomo, the great shougun, is in right front of me. He defeated Heike, the eternal rival family, and established the governance of samurai, politics being ruled by them.  He is known as the excellent leader of the ancient era, moving the era into the one dominated by samurai. But this person of great charisma could not hand over the status to his descendants well, because of his charismatic character. And his government actually ended before long. But it was certainly the turning point in which the main player is changed from aristocrats to samurais.
No one is here in this park and I alone face Yoritomo now.

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Zeniarai-benten in Kamakura

There is a shrine called “Zeniarai-Benten”. Benten is said to be the goddess of music, eloquence, also wealth and water. And Zeniarai means the washing money.
At the end of 12th century, Minamoto-Yoritomo established the first government of samurai in the Kamakura area. He made the pit on the side of the mountain and built the small shrine there. Then, in the middle of 13th century, a regent of the government, Hojo-Tokiyori started to wash the money there wishing for the prosperity of the family. However the government perished in 13th century.

Only the shrine has been existing there with the tori-gate, which separates the zone of god from human world in front of it.

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Kawasaki-daishi in Kawasaki,Kanagawa

Do you know there’s temple called Kawasaki-daishi?It is the temple which was built in the 12th century. The formal name of the temple is Heikenji, named after a fisherman who founded the basis of the temple. This small path is the road that leads to the temple.

A large number of people rush to this temple at night of the new year’s eve, seeing the old year out. So, this street is very crowded at that time. But in the mid-summer evening there’s no one in the street. Now I walk to the magnificent temple.

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I walked on the sidewalk of Omote-sando street, and passed in front of the fashionable Omote-sando Hills, then I came to the North Cat Street.

At present this street is a promenade. But until 1964, in the time of the first Tokyo Olympics, it was a river. And then it was covered by lid to be a culvert. (It means the river still flows under this promenade.)

There are small shops and restaurants among the private houses along it. They are relatively small boutiques, shops of fashion related items, and restaurants, different from the big brand stores.

When you walk on this promenade, you may encounter the wonderful things like splendid clothes, beautiful accessories, sweet cakes, delicious cuisines … and somebody wonderful

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Crossing Aoyama-dori street, you will see the big stone lantern at the entrance of the Omotesando, the main street to Meiji Shinto Shrine. This lantern has been showing an entrance of Omotesando for 90 years, since Meiji Shrine was established. They say that there once was a torii gate here but it was gone for some reason. And now this stone lantern is the only guardian of the street.

This stone lantern has seen the street changing always. That is, burnt field in war, revival from the war, sudden economic development, the first Olympics, recession, prosperous economic development and the birth of new culture. Now the stone lantern stands in the corner of the most stylish town in Japan.

I will take a little walk in Omotesando from here.

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I’m in Aoyama, Tokyo.

In the Edo era, more than 150 years ago, it was the area where the mansion of the samurai chiefs, houses of the common people and grove of miscellaneous trees spread through. It was a town at the edge of Edo city. Now it is the area where office buildings, big apartments and high-quality boutiques form a line. And it is the town of a stylish image.

Omatsu Inari Shrine is located in the corner of a street in Aoyama. It is so small that I almost passed it without noticing.

The combination of old Shinto shrine and the fashionable town is interesting. It is a tasteful scenery that the flag of a red Shinto shrine flutters on the street of lively Aoyama, a stylish town.

A neighboring shopkeeper and residents take care of it properly.Local people in hope of business prosperity seem to make faith to the shrine.

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It may sound a kind of tour guide but I’d like to show you the scenery of Yokohama Minatomirai district from the back of whale (the Big Pier). There is a tall building in the center of the photo. It is the Land Mark Tower, which had been the highest skyscraper in Japan until 2014.

And below it, the Yokohama Red Brick Warehouse spreads, which was the real bonded warehouses built by the government of the Meiji era and turned into the very nice shopping mall early 21st century. A building of the form of a crescent moon seen on the right side is the Inter Continental Yokohama Grand ( Hotel) and convention halls, etc.

For overlooking the Minato Mirai district, this is the best place here.

 

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I am facing the Yokohama Port from the back of the whale (the big pier). The Yokohama port was constructed not so long ago. This port was opened on the 1st of July 1859 in accordance with the agreement with U.S. A. It was around 150 years ago.

Until then Japan had officially closed the country and only the window to the world was Dejima, which was a small artificial island located in Nagasaki, Kyushu. Japan traded with only China and the Netherlands at that time.

Yokohama has been the center of the foreign trade since 1859. Therefor Yokohama doesn’t have the very traditional relics. But it is Yokohama that every Japanese remembers of, when hearing the word of port in Japan. It might be the characteristic of Yokohama that it has been new.

Japanese sailed out from Japan from this port more than 50 years ago. Any countries were far from it. I heard that it took a few months to arrive in America or Europe. And foreigners also came to Japan through this port.

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Now I am here on the roof of the Osan-bashi Pier, the large pier of Yokohama. It is officially called the International Passenger Ship Terminal. Two large-sized passenger ships such as Queen Elizabeth II, can be anchored at the same time here.

This pier was called the Meriken( American) harbor since the end of the Meiji era about 100 years ago.And it was reconstructed to the current large pier in 2002.

There are not a pillar, a beam or stairs inside the construction of the pier. People walk on slopes or use elevator to go up onto the roof. And wood deck, and lawn open space are there as if it was a park on the sea.

The shape of this large pier seems to be a big whale.So the roof has the official pet name as the back of the whale.

The whale is beginning to swim toward the Pacific now.

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Why Don’t You Walk in Yokohama?

I am at the Elephant Nose, the landing place of Yokohama, near the Osanbashi Pier.
This landing place has the shape of elephant nose, which was made at the time of construction of the Yokohama port. The elephant nose prevent loads get wet by water when landed from the ships. Barges used to carry the loads and people from the ship which anchored in the offing.
Now the small walls in front of me seem to march in the place under the cloudy sky.
What are they?
Seeing the objects, I started to think about the times when Japan opened its window to the world in Yokohama around 150 years ago.

 

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Why Don’t You Walk in Yokohama?

Yokohama is sometimes called the port town, namely the port town Yokohama.I think it might be only Kobe which deserves the name. Of course there are various port towns in Japan But those towns usually don’t have the prefix of the port. So, if you ask me to name one port in Japan, I will say it is Yokohama.

Then how can I explain what I feel about Yokohama. Here is the picture of the street around the Kaiko-hiroba square located at the point where you get into the Osanbashi after walking through Nihon-odori street. It has an atmosphere which is peculiar to the port in Japan.

Why don’t we walk around here?

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Why Don’t You Walk in Yokohama?

There are many hills in Ishikawacho Yokohama. An western-style house of the Meiji era stands on the hill. This house was a residence of a Japanese diplomat, originally located in Tokyo. And it was removed and rebuilt here, I heard. There are some more European-style houses near here.

It may not be unusual for European or American people. But, here in Japan, such a European-style house is rare to see.I have not lived in such a house. But I feel that it seems to be the house in the world of the noble stories that I had read a lot in a childhood. For example, —- such as ” Little Lord Fauntleroy”, if I mention a few. I confess that I longed for the life in such world 50 years or more ago. How about now? No, I don’t long for it any more. But I want to stay in the hotel like that, a few days.

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The long and straight road is ahead of us.
“What does it mean by  beeing straight ?”, my friend whispered.
It is actually hard a little to walk the straight way, as far as there are not something like milestones. We can walk easily for something seen in the end of a straight way.

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This is a street close to Shimbashi .
Various kinds of shop call to the people to come.
There is slight vulgarity in the orderly town.

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There are many  shoppers  in Ameyoko-cho Arcade close to Ueno Station.
It is a  town which give us some kind of spirit.

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In front of Yokohama red brick warehouse, there is skating rinks, which is built temporally only in winter.
Because the outdoor skating rink is unusual, a large number of people come to enjoy skating.
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I’m  in front of the No.2 entrance of Yokohama BayStars Stadium. On one day of the baseball game, it is crowded with people.But it is quiet morning now.

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I saw the Tokyo Tower from a balcony of Roppongi Hills.  There is a small tower on the left side in the picture. That is the Tokyo Tower.

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One man runs on the train road.                 Looking  at the canal aside, I saw the beautiful forms of  branches of trees.
It’s nice walking  on the promenade.

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I was walking in Yokohama and took the photograph of the sailing boat in Minato Mirai district.
This “is Nippon-Maru” launched in 1930. The length of the ship may be around 100m. It was a Japanese large-sized voyage training ship.This is not in service any more but is called “a swan of the Pacific” or “the lady of the sea” because of its beautiful form.

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The long slope leads to the top of Daikan-yama. there are many small shops and stores of fashinable items there.

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It is the spectacle from observatory deck of TokyoTower. Fifty years ago, Tokyo Tower was the highest tower in Japan. Nowadays there are many other buildings higher than this tower in Tokyo. But the views from the tower are yet splendid.

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It is a very famous Shibuya Crossing. I took the photo on the side of Shibuya Station. Sorry, it is not undiscovered. On the contrary, it’s very popular.

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It is rather warm this autumn. So the yellow leaves of gingko haven’t fallen yet. And the yellow leaves are shining in the autumn sun. This photo is taken in Shiba, Minato-ku, Tokyo.

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The picture was taken in front of the famous Kaminarimon in Asakusa.In front of the gate, a man is running through crosswalk of the road in a hurry.

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Many people are walking in retro town in Kawagoe. Actually in Kawagoe there are old houses and buildings which belong to various periods, that is, Showa, Taisho, Meiji and Edo era. (The range of period is very wide.)  ????????????????

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Kawagoe City of Saitama prefecture is famous because of many nostalgic houses in the good old times. We may see retro taste in them.

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This tiny train runs in the very narrow way between houses in the city of Kamakura. And the train takes us to the Shonan beach. That is the paradise of Japanese surfers.

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Near Akihabara, there’s a place called Manseibashi. And in Mansebashi, you will see the building made of bricks, which once was a railway station but is now used as shops of fashion items or café and restaurants. It is an example of reuse of old things of nostalgic taste.

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Buildings near the Shiodome Station look as if they had come from the future.

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