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Showing posts from June, 2015

Osaka: Osaka Castle

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Located in Chuo-ku, Osaka Prefecture in Japan, Osaka Castle (大坂城 or 大阪城,Ōsaka-jō ) is one of Japan's most famous castles. It also played a major role in the unification of Japan during the Azuchi-Momoyama period.
Under the command of Toyotomi Hideyoshi, Osaka Castle was built in 1563 on the site of the Ikko-ikki Temple of Ishiyama Hogan-ji. Toyotomi wanted the castle to look like that of the Azuchi Castle (Oda Nobunaga's headquarters) but it turned out much better. Osaka Castle was completed sometime in 1597, however, Toyotomi Hideyoshi died soon after. The castle was then passed to his son Toyotomi Hideyori.

Osaka Castle was built on two raised platforms of landfill supported by sheer walls of cut rock. The central castle building is five stories tall with an additional three stories underground. 
Going back to its history... In 1614, Tokugawa Ieyasu attacked Toyotomi Hideyori and started the Siege of Osaka. Despite being outnumbered, Toyotomi's forces managed to protect the…

Osaka: Hozen-ji Temple

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Located not far from Dotonbori Bridge in Osaka City, Osaka Prefecture in Japan, Hozen-ji Temple (法善寺)is a very small temple tucked in the busy Dotonbori area.

Hozen-ji Temple was built sometime in 1637. The temple pays homage to Fudo Myoo, one of the five Myoo or Wisdom Kings. These kings are said to be the guardians of Buddhism and more specifically the Five Wisdom Buddhas. Fudo Myoo is usually depicted holding a sword that represents wisdom that can cut through ignorance. He is usually accompanied by two smaller statues named Kongara and Seitako (they are his attendants).
Unlike the bigger temples, worshipers do not toss coins as offering in Hozen-ji Temple. Instead, they splash some water on the statue of the deity found in the heart of the temple. Over the years (and the frequent splashing of water) the statue of the deity is now covered by a soft green carpet of moss.
We visited Hozen-ji Temple during our 12th day of touring in Japan. The place was really small but still a lot of pe…

Osaka: Dōtonbori

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Located in the Namba District in Osaka City in Osaka Prefecture in Japan, Dōtonbori(道頓堀, pronounced [doːtomboɽi]) is one of the principal tourist destination of the city and the prefecture.
The history of Dōtonbori (which means Dōton's canal) could be traced back to 1612 when a local entrepreneur, Yasui Dōton began expanding the tiny Umezu River in hopes of increasing trade in the region. Sadly, his project was interrupted when he died defending Toyotomi Hideyori during the Siege of Osaka. (He was on the losing side though). His project was continued and finished by his cousins in 1615. The new lord of Osaka Castle, Tadaki Matsudaira named the canal and avenue beside it Dōtonbori despite  being on opposing side during the Siege of Osaka.
In 1621, Dōtonbori was designated as the entertainment district of Osaka. By 1662, the avenue already had several Kabuki and Bunraku theaters as well as numerous restaurants and cafes. Over the years, declining interests in traditional forms of ente…