Obi Castle, Otemon Gate

Rebuilt 40 years ago, the main gate of the Obi castle in Miyazaki completes the Edo Period landscape offered by the surrounding streets, many of which are lined by old samurai residences, some of them still in their original form.

The castle was an important fortification at the end of the Sengoku Jidai, when two clans, Shimazu and Ito, fought hard to own it. The castle was dismantled at the beginning of the Meiji Period, like many other Japanese castles.

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Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/250s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
Ekiben
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Ekiben

Beppu Umi Jigoku, the Sea Hell

One of the boiling water lakes of Beppu, aptly named Umi Jigoku – the “Sea Hell” – is known to have appeared 1200 years ago after an eruption of Mount Tsurumi. The cobalt blue colored water springs at a temperature of 98°C (209°F), creating an eerie landscape.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/6.3
Shutter Speed: 1/200s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 640
Shimabara Shinozuka samurai house
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Shimabara Shinozuka samurai house

The less known and oldest geisha district in Kyoto

The geisha district in Nishijin, Kyoto, is a lot less known than the famous Gion, but it is the oldest of the remaining geisha venues.

Located close to the Kitano Tenmangū Shrine, it is called Kamishichiken, meaning “Seven Upper Houses”, a name referring to how the district was originally built, with seven tea houses made from material left over after the construction of the Kitano Shrine. Today, there are 11 tea houses and a few dozen geisha and maiko, maintaining the charm of the old times.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 44mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/2000s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 1000
Higashi Hongan-ji
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Higashi Hongan-ji

The Osaka Ebisu Tower Ferris Wheel will reopen

The once famous Ferris Wheel of the Ebisu Tower in Dotonbori, Osaka, well known to visitors as the building housing the Don Quijote store, will reopen on January 19, after major renovation work that took 10 years.

With a maximum height of 77 meters, it offers a wonderful image over the vivid colored neighborhood, and will add another attraction to this fascinating area.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon D90
Lens: 8-16mm F/4.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 8mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/80s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 400
Local delicacies in Japan, Tama Konnyaku
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Local delicacies in Japan, Tama Konnyaku

Samurai strategy meeting in Kokura castle

Although it is a reconstructed castle and its architecture is not very attractive compared to the original Japanese castles, for fun or learning the Kokura castle is one of the best in Japan.

Photographed here is one of its attractions, a small theatrical play about a samurai strategy meeting in Kokura castle, played by life-sized mechanical dolls.

Inspired by a painting, it presents the meeting between the lord of the Kokura castle, Ogasawara Tadazane (middle) and his main vassals (among which we can see front-left Miyamoto Yori, the adopted son of Miyamoto Musashi) before joining the armies gathered to suppress the Shimabara Rebellion.

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Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/3.2
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 2000
Japanese trains, Ibusuki no Tamatebako
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Japanese trains, Ibusuki no Tamatebako

Japanese trains, Ibusuki no Tamatebako

One of the amazing trains of JR Kyushu is the limited express Ibusuki no Tamatebako, running 3 times a day between Kagoshima-Chūō and Ibusuki.

Originally a regular KiHa 47 type, the train has the interior modified by the industrial designer Eiji Mitooka. Photographed here is the car nr.1, featuring swivel chairs on the side facing the ocean and a small library, all made of teak wood.

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Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 34mm
Aperture: F/8
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 2000
Yamadera stairs
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Yamadera stairs

Yamadera stairs

To reach the sacred area of the Yamadera temple you need to go up the mountain through a spectacular forest. Paved with stone stairs and decorated with unique stone lanterns, the slope climbs under old cedars and eroded rocks, trough a landscape of great beauty and great tranquility.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: VR 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: F/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/125s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 800
Kagoshima Amuran Ferris wheel
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Kagoshima Amuran Ferris wheel

Kagoshima Amuran Ferris wheel

One of the most important entertainment venues in Kagoshima is the Amuran Ferris wheel, built inside the Amu Plaza mall, close to the Kagoshima-Chūō Station. During the first 3 years in operation it reached the impressive number of 1 million passengers.

The Ferris offers a spectacular image over the Sakurajima and Shiroyama mountains, and by nighttime it provides a spectacular light show in about 40 patterns.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/3.2
Shutter Speed: 1/60s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 3200
Bridge of the Sun
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Bridge of the Sun

Bridge of the Sun

One of the several thematic bridges crossing the Murasaki river in Kokura is the Bridge of the Sun, decorated with motifs inspired by waves and sunflower, the symbol flower of Kitakyushu.

With the spectacular architecture of the RiverWalk Kitakyushu in the background, the bridge creates a powerful view especially at sunset, when it is lit by the warm light of the setting sun.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: VR 28-300mm F/3.5-5.6G
Focal Length: 28mm
Aperture: F/5.6
Shutter Speed: 1/125s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 2000
Aoyagi Samurai house garden in winter
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Aoyagi Samurai house garden in winter

Life-size RX-0 Unicorn Gundam from Odaiba

Only 6 months after we said good bye to the old Gundam in Odaiba, a brand new life-size Gundam model was erected on the same place. The new giant represents the newer RX-0 Unicorn Gundam, which with a height of 19.7 is 1.7 meters taller than its predecessor and it brings an exiting novelty: it transforms in the Destroy Mode presented in the anime series.

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EXIF Info:

Nikon Df
Lens: 24-70mm F/2.8G
Focal Length: 24mm
Aperture: F/7.1
Shutter Speed: 1/2000s
ISO Sensitivity: ISO 200
Kakunodate Sakura manhole cover in winter
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Kakunodate Sakura manhole cover in winter