Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Yokohama Sand Sculptures


While in Tokyo we read in the newspaper that a large sand sculpture exhibition had just opened in Yokohama. The train to Yokohama took us about 30 minutes from Tokyo and the exhibition is on until the 3rd of November.
Sand sculptors from around the world have created giant detailed sculptures that include World Heritage and historical buildings from China, Japan and South Korea.  The artists used sand from the Tottori Sand Dunes, Japan’s largest coastal dunes which is about 6 hours by train from Tokyo.






Seajong the Great - Korean ruler


Incredible detail on the sculptures




Sand trees


Terracotta warriors



The Great Wall of China


The Great Wall of China




The Forbidden City 



Terracotta Warriors


The Forbidden City 


Admiral Perry and officers who opened up Japan to the West




Meji era Japan 


Admiral Perry's fleet


Meji era Japan 



Terracotta Warriors



Dragon



Yokohama City


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