Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Na na na na Nagoya

So here I am writing from Tbilisi, Georgia. What? Georgia? How did I get here? I have no idea life is strange and crazy and involves far too many flights.
I am way behind in my blogging, around two weeks. I traveled by bus from Yokohama. On the way I managed to get this below shot of Mount Fuji. It's the best shot I have and no, it's not great, especially after visiting Japan twice this year,
Mt Fuji from the bus.
The thing is nearly 4000 metres high and yet I've only seen it as a silohette. In my defence there were a lot of clouds this time around in Japan. I visited Nagoya also whilst in Japan this time.

Town Hall, Nagoya.
It's a pleasant sort of place with the usual temples and one grand castle that is not to be missed. The castle is mostly a reconstruction of the one on the site that was destroyed in the Second World War, although parts of the walls and smaller turrets still stand from longer ago. They are presently reconstructing the original entrance and the work can be seen where you visit the castle. Apparently it is still seven years away from completing, the woodwork on the rooves is intricate and quite amazing.

Restoration work at Nagoya Castle.
Inside the castle are many levels. From the top you get a great view over Nagoya, the other floors have an interesting museum spread out over them with traditional rooms set up for the tourist to view. One staircase is just for going up, the other for going down. As the photo shows, it's a stunning building on the outside. The curvy rooves are a feature, as are two gold dolphins on top.

Nagoya Castle.
 Also in Nagoya was the simply brilliant temple 'Kannon Osu', somehow the surrounding buildings have been built to connect in a way to it. It's grand with a serious staircase leading up to its quieter shrine for prayer. It's also right next to a long covered shopping strip, which is the place in town to get all manner of Japanese sweets and cakes.
Kannon Osu, Nagoya.
 Back in Yokohama I took one half to see the moving walkway, which extends from one of the metro stations to the Landmark Tower, the tallest building in Yokohama. I visited the Port Museum, where I learnt a lot about the history of Yokohama from the time when Japan started to open to world for trade to the present day. A few centuries back now, Japan was a completely closed country. Thanks to the arrival of a fleet of American ships to Yokohama in 1858 under the leadership of Commodore Matthew Perry, a treaty was signed and the port started to grow. It was devastated by an earthquake in the early 1900s, but bounced back. After World War Two a lot of Americans lived in Yokohama. Nowadays it still a bustling centre of imports/exports and has plenty of industry too.
The Nippon-Maru.
The Nippon-Maru, a retired navel training ship, is attached to the museum. It's a perfect museum piece which allows you to see how the ship functioned, where people slept, how they slept, ate, cooked and lived. A worthwhile museum to visit.

But NOW I am in Tbilisi, the capital of Georgia, a former USSR state located between Turkey and Russia. Why I am here and what I've been doing... that will be the next blog in a day or two! Stay TUNED!

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