Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Imperial Palace Tokyo tour

Having missed out on a tour of the grounds of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo on past visits to Japan , I made the effort to book ahead in order to go on the free guided tour during our latest trip to Tokyo. The tour is just over an hour and is conducted in Japanese but audio guides were available for other languages.
The Imperial Palace in Tokyo is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is located in a large park-like setting of about 3.5 square kilometres close to the Tokyo Station and contains several buildings including the main palace and the private residences of the Imperial family as well as the Imperial Household Agency.
 Most of the structures of the Imperial Palace have been rebuilt after being destroyed in World War II. After the war the current Imperial Household Agency building was used as a temporary palace.
 The current palace complex which consists of 7 main buildings and was completed in 1968 in a modernist style with Japanese architectural references such as the large gabled roof, columns and beams. The gardens surrounding the palace are beautiful and very sculptured and would be spectacular in Autumn.

Entrance for the tour

Fujimi- yagura keep - Mt Fuji could be seen from here when first built in 1457

Fujimi-yagura keep

Imperial Household Agency

Chowaden Hall - used for receptions

The main entrance to Chowadan Hall

Sculpture that represents a pine tree

 Chowadan Hall

Balcony for New Years Day and Emperor's Birthday greetings for the public in the courtyard

Shrubs clipped to form hills

Meganebashi Bridge 

Part of the 7 buildings making up the Imperial Palace

Nijubashi Bridge

Fushimi - yagura Keep and Meganebashi Bridge

Lights on the Nijubashi Bridge

Monday, 14 July 2014

Hari Raya decorations

The decorations and nightly bazaar are once again adding a festive spirit in the Geylang Serai area of Singapore for the Hari Raya festival or Ramadan.
This year 1200 temporary market stalls are set up in the area and this is an increase from the 800 stalls last year. The stalls sell items for the festival including decorations for the house, food for the daily breaking of the fast, gifts and clothing etc.
The end of Ramadan is on the 28th of July and is a public holiday in Singapore.

Selamat Hari Raya translates as "Happy Celebration Day"

Decorations hanging from the street trees

Some of the temporary market stores

Eid Mubarak - a traditional greeting meaning "Blessed Feast" 

Decorations along Geylang Rd

Decorations on pedestrian bridge

Decorations on the light poles

Decorations along Sims Ave

Part of the street decorations