From the brochure of the castle, I got to learned that the castle is also know with a different name. Hirsohima Castle is also famous as Carp Castle or Rijo Castle in Japanese. The area where the castle was built known to be Koi-no-ura (Koi Sea Shore) and “Koi” means Carp in Japanese. Good to know the origin of the castle name.
After strolling around Peace Memorial Park, we targeted other parts of the downtown but because most of the places to see are museums which require more time, we ended ourselves exploring the Hiroshima Castle. Before reaching the castle we passed Hiroshima Museum of Art. Then we crossed the underground walkway to the castle.
And not far from the street where we emerge from the underground walkway, we saw the Second Compound or Ninomaru of the castle where the Main Gate and surrounded Turrets are located. We walked towards the said gate. Before we crossed the Gate Bridge to the Main Gate, we stopped for few photo shots moment.
Ninomaru (Second Compound)
Bridge Gate, Main Gate and Turrets (Yagura)
Moats that surrounds the castle from the Gate Bridge
Omotegomon (Main Gate)
Hira-Yagura (One-Layer Turret)
We crossed the bridge and entered the Main Gate. We walked a bit towards the middle of the compound and I looked around and observed. I saw a door located at the corner, part of Hall Turret (Tamon-Yagura) and I walked and climbed towards it. My family followed me and we took off our shoes then put it on the shoe cabinet available near the door. Next, we stroll the Hall Turret and there we saw different exhibits. At the end of Hall Turret is Taiko-Yagura (Two-layer Turret) where the drum at the second part and used before for Samurai sally out.
Main Entrance and Hira-Yagura (One Story Turret) captured from inside of Ninomaru
One of the drums at Taiko-Yagura (Two-Layer Turret) used for signals
After looking around at Taiko-Yagura and Tamon-Yagura, we walked back and reached inside the Hira-Yagura and the top of the main gate.
Inside the Ninomaru Omote Gate (the top layer of Main Gate)
Inside Hira-Yagura (One-layer Turret)
Ruins of Ninomaru (basepoint to defend the gateway of the castle)
Moats that surrounds the Castle. Scenery after crossing the walkway towards Main Compound (Honmaru)
Moats that surrounds the Castle. Scenery while leaving the castle ground
Honmaru (Main Compound)
When we reached the Main Compound of the castle, the first thing we saw was Hiroshima Gokoku Jinja Shrine where we saw another stone gate similar to what we saw in Miyajima Island. The original shrine has already built in two locations, the shrine was also destroyed by atomic bomb. When the decided to rebuild it, it was rebuilt after the war within the ground of Hiroshima Castle. As per history, the purpose of building the shrine is to mourn the Hiroshima-Han victims during the Boshin War (Japanese Civil War).
Photos of Hiroshima Gokoku Jina Shrine
We moved forward nearing the castle tower, but before we reach the tower itself, we have other stuff that we saw within the ground of Hiroshima Castle. We found the location of ruins of Hiroshima Imperial Military Headquarters. After reading the brochures in my hand, I’ve got to understand, why Hiroshima was possibly the main target of atomic bomb attack, its because of the castle ground was a military base. And I also learned that the base was also use to infiltrate the plan of Allied forces during World War II, in a war like that, a military base can be a main target for attack.
Hiroshima Imperial Military Headquarters Ruins
At the ground, we also found a castle ground map that looks like inscribe in a metal piece and put in a stone.
Hiroshima Castle ground map
The original foundation stones where the Castle Tower was built
As we walked towards the castle, I got more excited, I knew it was not the original tower, because like other buildings in Hiroshima City, it was also destroyed during the atomic bomb attack. The castle location is in the corner most of the ground and in an upper layer that we need to climb few steps of the stairs. The restored castle tower shows what its look before the second world war, thus we enjoyed the photos outside before we decided to enter the tower. The castle tower now served as museum before the war. We paid the entrance fee and ready to explore the building. At first, I never realized how many floors the castle has and when we were strolling around it, I just learned that it has 5 floors. All floors has exhibits and I cannot really take photos because there’s portion of the exhibit not allowed to take shots. But as far as I remembered, I still sneaked some shots inside the museum thought it was not too many unlike other museums where photography is allowed.
Castle Tower (now a museum)
Each floor showcases different exhibits that portrays Hiroshima. At the first floor, there’s displays about Ancient Hiroshima, Castle History, its government, life inside the castle, its defense and even different castles in the world can be seen. At the second floor, the exhibits are more of castle town life and culture where it includes samurai versus townsfolk lifestyle. In the third floor, we saw different weapons and armors displays. The fourth floor currently displayed that time has a theme of life and progress of Hiroshima Castle Town.
Some Exhibits displayed inside Hiroshima Castle Tower
We reached the final floor or fifth floor which called as Observation Platform. We stayed a bit in the floor because it offers a scenic views that surround the castle in many ways. Because the castle ground surrounded by trees and green plants and moats, I can sense how Japanese has great pride in their castle. Aside from having yagura or turrets that protects the castle grounds, there is moats that prevents the invaders to reach the castle easily. If you are a strategist, it is a great place as well for military bases. And that’s what happened to Hiroshima Castle.
Scenic snapshots that surrounds the castle ground and the moats from Castle Tower Observation Deck
Chromatic Outlook (Post#25) : Saigon Opera House
One of the buildings that I got a chance to see while backpacking in Ho Chi Minh City (also known as Saigon), the capital city of Vietnam was Saigon Opera House or Municipal Theatre of Ho Chi Minh. The location of the opera house is not far from the backpacking street area of the city which is Pham Ngu Lao. As per description of the opera house, its design is french colonial architecture existing in Vietnam which built last 1897. Photo captured during the backpacking of the mountaineering group I am member last March 2011.
View At My Window (Post#22) : QUT – The Cube
When I visited Brisbane, I made it interesting as I always heard that the city is a boring city and not much interesting like Sydney and Melbourne. I planned my visit during Open House Brisbane event where I can enjoy not only its surroundings but some of the houses, offices or buildings listed as open to public at that time. One of the buildings that I got a chance to see was Queensland University of Technology (QUT). I honestly enjoyed the tour because there is designated places to explore inside the university. When I reached the building, I got an earphone and small brochures where there is QR Code available in the prints that I can listen into while exploring some parts of the university. And one of the interesting to discover inside is its large digital screen where its heights reach up to the second floor of the building and they call it as “The Cube” – one of the world’s largest interactive digital display systems. The photo captured last October 2013.
Name Of The Place (Post#24) : St Kilda Marina
One of the walks that I did while living in Melbourne for a while was walks near the shore. Since I lived in St. Kilda that time, I had a chance to see some part of the suburb and one of the things that St Kilda is famous is because of its beach or marina. I can say that its marina is one of the nearest from city center of Melbourne. The photo above that I captured was taken when I was passing St. Kilda Marina where boats and yachts do their parking and offers other marina services. Photo captured last December 2013.
Because Hiroshima is very far from Tokyo, I booked a domestic flight in ANA Airlines, where I found the cheapest price available at the time that I was booking the flight because I was able to maximize their offer price for foreign visitors.
After watching Sumo event and after spending time in Akihabara, when we reached the hotel, we immediately packed all our stuff back to our luggage since that night was the same as our last night in the hotel. We woke-up early in the morning as our flight was around 7AM and our airport was Haneda Airport, which is another airport located nearer in Tokyo compared to Narita Airport, the entry point we had in Japan.
From Kayabacho Station, we took Tozai Line to Nakano, transferred at Nihombashi, changed to Ginza Line to reach Shimbashi Station. At first we planned to take Monorail Line which mean we plan to go to Hammamutso station. When we were waiting at Shimbashi Station for the next train, we found out that the next train goes directly to Haneda Airport, I asked one officer in the train to confirm if the next train goes to Haneda Airport, and he confirmed it. We took the said train. When we were inside the train, my sister and I checked the next station that the train will stop by and we quite surprised because it seems it has too many stations on its route. Then, my sister and I keep monitoring the next train stop and we were thankful because it bypassed many stations, as time really matters for us in that situation because we were catching up with our flight schedule.
When we reached Haneda Airport it’s just right time, we’re not too early nor too late. The flight from Tokyo to Hiroshima took at least an hour and that flight actually saved us a bit of time. We touched down at Hiroshima Airport passed 8:20 AM in the morning and got off the plane passed 8:30 AM. Because we’re new, we did not realize that the bus schedule to Hiroshima Station is closer to our arrival schedule, therefore we were left behind even before we can buy our bus ticket (which can be get through automated machine) and we waited for the next schedule which was after an hour. When the next bus arrived, we boarded the bus immediately. The airport does not have train station and the only way to go to Hiroshima Station is through bus. The bus travel from the airport was around 45 minutes to reach Hiroshima.
At Hiroshima station, since it’s our first time again in another city of Japan, we really don’t know where to go to reach our hotel in the city. That problem was forgotten a bit after I saw the JR Train Line office at the station. I booked our ticket train from Hiroshima to Kyoto to reserved our seats the next day we travel. We scheduled to spend almost 2 days to go around in Hiroshima.
After booking the train ticket, we got off at the station and followed few people as we thought they were exiting the station. We ended up leaving the station in a wrong way. We passed the station docking area and underground way since we still did not realize where majority people goes when passing the station. We learned the right way later that day.
River View from our Room
Even we used the wrong way in getting off the station, we were still able to find the way to our hotel. We did not take a cab as I booked a hotel just near Hiroshima Station. We reached the road Johoku Dori and turned left and then we crossed the bridge. After crossing the bridge, the hotel accommodation were after comes next. We stayed at Hotel Century21 Hiroshima located at Hijiyama Dori. In that hotel, we got a room with tatami room and river view. I really like the room that was assigned to us by the hotel.
The only plan that I had in mind initially in Hiroshima is to walk around in downtown to see the city and its historical places. I checked some brochures that I picked-up from the airport so I can plan and add more to the basic itinerary that I had. My sister and I talked about what we’re going to do for the day while we were in the hotel. I had Miyajima in mind as additional to Hiroshima city. We discussed which one will go first, at first my plan was the city then Miyajima Island. My sister thought opposite. Her idea was more sensible than mine since the afternoon of the next day, we’re planning to go to Kyoto which is another famous city of Japan and very far from Hiroshima. So we decided with agreement that we will go and explore Miyajima Island first and followed by the city the next day.
Because of limited time we had, the major places we visited within Hiroshima Prefecture where two of world heritage sites can be found, they are:
Life In The Metro (Post#4) : Overlooking Sydney CBD, Circular Quay and The Rocks
During my first time visit in Sydney Australia, to be honest I can’t believed that I was seeing Opera House and Sydney itself. The city is one of my dreams that I never thought that’s going to happen or became a reality. The photo above was a partial snapshot of Sydney CBD which includes, the CBD itself, the Circular Quay, The Rocks and the Sydney Cove and when I captured this I was at Opera House. Seeing so many people in a famous city like Sydney is a normal thing. People flock to these kinds of places as it is known to the world. It can be a pride to anybody who was able to visit such places. I was really thankful I had a chance to walked around Sydney. I took this photo last April 2013 during musical collaboration event that I got a chance to joined in.
In The Middle Of Somewhere (Post#4) : Khao San (Khaosan) Road
The photos were showcasing the typical scenario in a public market. These photos were shot while being lost in Khao San (Khaosan) Road in Bangkok Thailand during the backpacking adventure that we had last March 2011. The said road is famous to all backpackers that visited Bangkok which is a capital and most populous city of Thailand. The road is the center of cheap markets were surrounded as well by affordable accommodations that suits all types of backpackers. We had fun time walking around the road.
Yamashita Park with Marine Tower
The green park that we saw before we reached Hikawa Maru is Yamashita Park. The place is appropriate in such place where both locals and visitors enjoys the walks while appreciating the beautiful view that Port of Yokohama offers.
Hotel New Grand – at the front of Yamashita Park
Marine Tower is located near where Hikawa Maru docked. Its front is Yamashita Park. The tower is considered as the tallest lighthouse in the world. We just took photos of the tower and we did not try anymore to visit its observation deck.
While taking snapshots of the surrounding area of Yokohama port, we cannot avoid not to see Osanbashi Pier. I knew it was a pier because we saw large cruise ships stops in the area. But without really thinking it is a pier I just thought that it was a huge space ship because of its color, shape and design, very futuristic.
NYK (Nippon Yusen Kaisha) Maritime Museum
Next museum we entered was NYK Maritime Museum. Here we spent time to see the exhibits in the museum. I saw a lot of ships display which showcases the history of NYK. We witnessed as well based on exhibits how the Japan maritime evolved through the years. Not so much photos inside the museum because it was not allowed to use a camera.
When we bought the ticket of NYK Museum, I selected the option where it includes the NYK Hikawa Maru entrance to save a bit on our tickets.
NYK Hikawamaru is a ship museum docked at Port of Yokohama in Yamashita Park Waterfront. The ship is a historical ship which at first, it was a cargo-passenger liner when it was built and during the war it became a navy hospital ship, then it returned to a cargo-passenger ship again after the war.
Entrance to NYK Hikawamaru
When we reached the ship, we realized the ship is not just an ordinary one. For me and my family it was a huge one. Walking from Yamashita Park, we walked to the entrance of the ship and climbed up to the Deck B where the main entrance is and we showed our tickets to the receptionist. After checking our tickets, we were freely able to walk inside the ship by following the track available to visitors.
Near the Reception at Deck B
At Mini-Theatre near at Reception at Deck B
Near the reception area, there are exhibits of photos of the ship displaying its some historical photos. There was a mini theater where it shows some videos about Hikawa Maru.
First Class Childrens’ Room
We followed the walk way and along the walkway we saw the First Class Children’s Room. In that moment, I thought a bit and tried to put myself of being one of the child of the rich people at those old times and I thought that I probably felt really lucky.
First Class Dining Saloon
Our walk continues until we reached the First Class Dining Saloon. As my minds wondering as I saw the room, I imagined we were part of the ship where most people belong to high-class societies can be found and they were savoring their delicious food while on boarded in the ship. And I understood that time it was really expensive to be in that room, what more this time.
First Class Social Hall
We moved on and climbed to the Deck A where we found the First Class Reading Room. Then it followed by First-Class Social Hall.
First Class Cabin (First Class Passenger’s Room)
First Class Smoking Room
Next we saw was Exhibition Room, then First-Class Passenger’s Room followed by First-Class Smoking Room and Deluxe Cabin.
Port of Yokohama and Minato Mirai 21
In Deck A, the outdoor deck can be found where I enjoyed the scenery around the Port of Yokohama and Minato Mirai 21 – the central business district of Yokohama located.
N1, N2 and N3 Deck
Looking Towards Yamashita Park and Marine Tower
We climbed N1 Deck, then N2 Deck where Captains Office is and climbed again in N3 Deck where the Wheelhouse is.
Third Class Cabin
After enjoying the top deck areas, we went down to Deck C. In Deck C where we found the Third-Class cabin. The Gallery is located in the same deck too. Then, I got excited when I saw the Engine Room. And it’s not a small one it’s a huge room and there’s is a track we followed as well to go around the Engine Room. And there’s more, the Deck D, still housed the other parts of the Engine Room.
The last portion that can be found in the ship is the exhibition room that showcases the rich history of Hikawa Maru.
In the end, we were satisfied that we visited the ship. Being inside of that ship was a worthwhile because it was a tour like going back in time. Knowing that this kind of ship were already available in 1930s, proves that Japan already in advance technology of shipping and cargo lines. And that made me admired them for their developed talents and skills.
As I am following the trail in my Triposo mobile application, we enjoyed our walk along the way. Before we reached Yokohama Brick Warehouse, we enjoyed the walk within the port. We passed Yokohama Customs Museum and Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building
Yokohama Customs Museum
Yokohama Customs Museum (from Zuo-No-Hana Park)
Kanagawa Prefectural Government Building
When we reached Zuo-No-Hana Park or Zuo-No-Hana Terrace which is an open air plaza within Port of Yokohama, here we enjoyed lots of beautiful view around the port.
Views captured from Zuo-No-Hana Park where can see Osanbanshi Pier, Minato Mirai 21 and Red Brick Warehouse
Zuo-No-Hana Park / Zuo-No-Hana Terrace
After enjoying the picture taking and sceneries in Zuo-No-Hana Park, facing the bay, we turned left to visit the historical Red Brick Warehouse.
After Zuo-No-Hana Park, we walked towards Red Brick Warehouse building. On our way, we crossed the bridge and we saw Minato Mirai 21 in different angle.
Minato Mirai 21 while crossing the bridge to Red Brick Warehouse from Zuo-No-Hana Park
Red Brick Warehouse is one of noticeable building structure around the Port of Yokohama. Both because of its color, old design of the building and its location in an open space in the port.
When we entered the Warehouse #2 (based on the brochure I have), we discovered that the building are full of shops, restaurants, diners and cafeteria. We had lunch at the 1st floor of the building where the food court is located and they call it as Picnic court where I saw a lot of people. My whole family enjoyed our lunch. Then, we walked around the building to see different stores until we reached the balcony. The balcony is one of the spots in the building that I enjoyed because of the sceneries it offered which is the surroundings of port of Yokohama and a great location for up close and personal view of Minato Mirai.
Sceneries while at the balcony of Warehouse#2
We haven’t visited the Warehouse #1 as the building used in exhibits and events.
I also learned that the building is a historical building in the city which used as a custom houses before. The building or warehouse #1 which is the shortest building among the two was partially destroyed because of Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
Structure (Post#4) : Queensland Parliament House
I visited Brisbane, the capital state of Queensland Australia during the Open House Brisbane last October 2013 where private and public buildings are open to people to explore. The photo above is the Queensland Parliament House where house its Legislative Assembly that I got a chance to see.
Minato Mirai 21
We continued our walk from Nippon Maru Memorial Park until we reached the JR Sakuragicho Station. For me it was a great walk as the surroundings is really refreshing for me. Like what I experienced when my sister and I walked towards Ginza during our first night in Japan, the walk was relaxing since it still morning. The climate is not hot and just right for a good walk in the city. While we were quite a bit far from Landmark Tower, it was an amazing view of the surroundings which later I just learned that the central business district of Yokohama is called Minato Mirai 21 which means “Port of the Future in the 21st Century”.
Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History
We crossed the Ookagawa River or Ooka River and followed the road until we found the Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Cultural History. The museum was the former Yokohama Specie Bank (a Japanese founded bank which has a significant role in Japan-China trade during 1880s as per Wikipedia). The museum’s displays focuses on the history and culture of Kanagawa Prefecture. We went inside to check what we can see, were only able to had a glimpse in the first floor where some photos of the prefecture are displayed.
As we followed the walk way after getting off the Landmark Plaza, we saw a classic ship just outside the plaza. The ship is one of the few classic ship that I saw in my travel adventures. It has similarity in the Enterprize ship that I boarded when I was in Melbourne in terms of both of them can sail through the directions of the wind. Nippon Maru was way bigger and a bit more modern compared to the Enterprize.
At first I did not know the name of the ship, since I am using an app in my mobile phone, I just discovered that the ship is called Nippon Maru. I also learned from brochure that I got that Nippon Maru was a sailing ship for training which built in 1930s.
The ship is actually open for visitors but we never get inside as we were overwhelmed and overjoyed in the city as soon as we started strolling around. The park where Nippon Maru is docked is called Nippon Maru Memorial Park. Beside the said classic ship is Yokohama Port Museum. Same with Nippon Maru, we did not get inside in the museum to maximize our limited time in the city.
Queen’s Square Yokohama
Queen’s Square Yokohama (from the outside)
As we ascended from Minatomirai station to the 1st floor of Queen’s Square, all the stores were still close, since it’s still a bit early for the mall to open. We took the escalator, I can sense that the area has a bit of elegance and glamour. The ambiance that surrounds the place was also relaxing as the mall is spacious when we reached the 1st floor. We walked a bit in the Queen’s Square, then we went outside towards Landmark Tower.
On the way to the 1st Floor of Queen’s Square
Outside Queen’s Square to Landmark Plaza
Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo
Between Queen’s Square and Landmark Plaza, we found a silver or chrome structural art. It is a magnificent roller-coaster-esque sculpture. As per map that I got, the structure is not only an art display, it has a purpose too. The art helps to break the wind tunnel that forms between the Landmark Tower and Queen’s Square Skyscrapers which still good to know. The public art is called Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo.
Queen’s Square (from Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo)
Mok Mok Wak Wak Yokohama Yo Yo
It was Saturday and our second day in Japan. I had my itinerary for that day but initially I was having second thoughts on the plan, it’s just that too many places that I wanted to see for a short period of time. But since I can’t decide of places that will replace the activity for the day, I ended up following the plan that I created which was to visit Yokohama.
Yokohama is the second largest city by population (according to Wikipedia) in Japan following Tokyo. I think one good reason of being one of the largest city aside from being near or beside Tokyo as its strategic location is also because the city is part where Tokyo Bay is located. Currently Tokyo Bay was heavily industrialized where a lot of development occurred and Yokohama progressed along with it.
Based on history, Yokohama tremendously affected by what Japan called Great Kanto Earthquake in 1923 and World War II bombings which impacted the development of the city.
Seeing the city with my very own eyes, if there are historical evidence of war in the place or ruins of earthquake, it may not be evident to the sights and places that we visited during the day trip. The whole day that myself and my family spent in Yokohama was indeed a worthy visit.
From Kayabacho Station, we took Tozai Line to Nihombashi Station, we transferred to Ginza Line to Shimbashi Station and from the same station we took JR Tokaido Line going to Yokohama Station. Around 10AM, we reached Yokohama Station, from the station we took Tokyu Toyoko Minatomirai Line which is a local train in Yokohama. We used the Passmo card in the local train.
We reached Minatomirai Station, we got off the station and we found ourselves inside the mall, wherein the Queen’s Square is just at the top of the station. I felt excited because it seems that there’s something exciting to discover in the city.
During our visit in the city, the places we saw in Yokohama were:
To be honest, one day was not enough to see everything in the city, seeing all the brochures that I got, there are more places that I wanted to enjoy and discover. I hope I can comeback again wherein time is not really a constraint.
It was a great day spent in Yokohama.
Transportation (Post#3) : Japan – Bullet Train
One of the things that made us happy and we will never forget an experience was, when we had a chance to travel in Japan through bullet train. Bullet train in Japan are one of the fastest train available in Earth. And this kind of transportation seems to be just another common transportation mode that being look as moving people in a fast way. What I like the most about this bullet train, the ambiance inside of it is similar to an airplane. The travel was so smooth and you will just surprise in just few hours, you were already in your destination. Snapshot captured during Japan adventure last September 2015.
Discovery (Post#4): Snow Shoe (From Royal Alberta Museum)
As I am looking for photo to post that belongs to my project – photo themes, while reading again my old post for the month of February which entitled Royal Alberta Museum – Edmonton (Part 8) I saw again the snapshot that I captured inside the museum. When I saw the old version of snow shoe I was amazed how people really creative and intelligent just to address what it needs to survive. This image was shot last June 2008 and this is part of my Edmonton photo collection.