Friday, June 28, 2013

Hakodate Images

Hakodate is the largest city in southern Hokkaido. As one of the first cities in Japan to be opened to trade with the outside world, there are some traces of foreign influence in Hakodate, notably with regards to architecture in the Motomachi District. The city's famed Asaichi or Morning Market draws visitors from all over Japan for its plentiful and cheap seafood (especailly crab) as well as its distinctive architecture, old fangled streetcars and red brick warehouse district which has been turned into boutiques and restaurants for a bit of nightlife.
Hakodate Images - Images by John Lander

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kyoto Images

Kyoto is the ancient capital of Japan but it is unlike other former capital cities. Not content to just sit back and enjoy its former glory protected by UNESCO. Rather, Kyoto is a thriving, living, breathing center of arts and culture as much as it ever has been. A trip to Japan without visiting Kyoto is like missing the main highlights of the entire country.

Kyoto Images - Images by John Lander

Monday, September 6, 2010

Hakone Images - Please click slideshow to view still images

As the Romance Car express train glides out of Tokyo, concrete gives way to green. An hour or so into your journey to Hakone, the train emerges from a tunnel and Fuji-san, as Mt. Fuji is known, momentarily appears, glowing pink and golden in the afternoon light. Minutes later you arrive at Hakone-Yumoto station, the hub of Hakone National Park. As if Mt. Fuji weren't enough of an attraction in itself, Hakone has blossomed into one of the largest spa towns in Japan. The area is also one of the most accessible to the casual visitor, having catered to Tokyo weekenders for decades. Besides the hundreds of inns with their own onsen, a few springs are devoted to day trippers. Tenzan is a large onsen complex complete with cedar baths, outdoor baths and the popular "massage waterfall". Sit under it for five minutes and you'll want to take one home.

Hakone Images - Images by John Lander

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Shonan Images - Please click slideshow to view collection

Extending from Hayama through Zushi, Kamakura, Enoshima, Hiratsuka and beyond, Shonan Beach has long been a source of escape for Tokyoites wanting sand between their toes and sea breeze in the hair. It is also known for its surfing and fishing ports, such as Kotsubo - not to mention the old capital of Japan, Kamakura, at the center of it all with its gardens, temples, beaches and culture. And all only about an hour from Tokyo.

Shonan Images - Images by John Lander

Monday, August 9, 2010

Japanese Lighthouse Images

As a maritime island nation, Japan has more than 3200 lightouses ranging from older Japanese-style ones made of wood or stone, to more modern art deco edifices as well as the most common (unfortunately) generic, functional boxes. The first western-style lighthouse in Japan was Kannonzaki, overlooking Tokyo Bay on the Miura Peninsula as one of Japan's most important shipping lanes.

Japanese Lighthouses - Images by John Lander

Friday, July 23, 2010

Nagasaki Images - Please Click Slideshow to View Collection

Nagasaki is an attractively situated port city on the island of Kyushu. As one of Japan's closest port cities to the Asian mainland with nearby access to China and Korea, Nagasaki played a prominent role in foreign trade relations for many centuries. The city was the most important of only a very few ports open to restricted numbers of foreign traders during Japan's long period of isolation from the rest of the world. Only Dejima, an "offshore" area was left open to Dutch traders, albeit with many restrictions. Once Japan opened up again to the world during the Meiji Period, Nagasaki was an important port of call for European, American and Chinese traders all who had a foothold here. During this period, "Madame Butterfly" was composed by Puccini about the relations between a European trader and his Japanese mistress.

Nagasaki Images - Images by John Lander

Monday, June 28, 2010

Kamakura Images - Please click on slideshow to visit collection

It's hard to believe that this quiet little town with its many temples was once the political capital of Japan during the Kamakura shogunate, from 1185 to 1333. These days Kamakura is a very popular day trip from Tokyo for both locals and tourists. Its principle draws are Shonan Beach, its many temples, quiet gardens and nature trails. Located a mere 55 minutes from Tokyo, its popularity is a given, world's away from high-rises...

Kamakura Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Tokyo Images - Please click on slideshow to view collection.

Just beyond chrone skyscrapers there are almost certainly mom-and-pop noodle shops unchanged from centuries ago. Never mind those costume play goths, just down the street there will almost certainly be people who still take the time a trouble to dress in kimono.

Tokyo Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Yokohama Images Gallery - Please Click Slideshow to View Collection

Looking out over the panorama of Yokohama from Japan's tallest building, you can hardly believe that 150 years ago, Japan's second largest city and largest port was hardly even a village. When Commodore Perry's Black Ships sailed in and demanded that Japan open itself up to the rest of the world after its long insular snooze, Yokohama was opened up as an international port. The city quickly grew around the port and foreign concessions blossomed. Foreigners were allowed to live only in certain areas of the city. Yamate Bluff quickly became a virtual European village. Chinese were soon to follow. Chinatown, just below the Europeans' bluff bustled, as it still does, with the sizzle of noodles being stir-fried and the smell of ginger and sesame.

Yokohama Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Nagoya Images Gallery - Please click slideshow to view static images

Nagoya is Japan's fourth largest city after Tokyo, Yokohama and Osaka. It is one of the nation's major manufacturing centers as home to automaking giants Toyota and Honda. But Nagoya is not just a factory town

Nagoya Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Nara Images - Please click slideshow to view individual images

Overshadowed by its traditional neighbor Kyoto and shiny, modern Osaka, Nara is omitted from many a visitor's itinerary. As Japan's first capital city, Nara is home to attractively preserved UNESCO World Heritage sites. Most of Nara's attractions, including temples, shrines and the town's famous deer who roam around town are conveniently within Nara Park - a wide, pleasant space of greenery. Besides the ever-present deer, Todaiji Temple is home to the Daibutsu, literally "Big Buddha" the largest Buddha statue in Japan. The other main UNESCO attraction is Kasuga Shrine, lined with more than 1000 lanterns, and scene of many festivals and Japanese ceremonies throughout the year.

Nara Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Takamatsu Images - Please click slideshow to view collection

Takamatsu is the largest city on the island of Shikoku. The city developed over many years as a port town and is one of the primary entry points into Shikoku and is therefore known as the "Gateway to Shikoku". In recent years, it has also come to be known as "Udon Kingdom" for its famous sanuki udon noodles. Its premier attraction is the renowned Ritsurin garden, one of the finest strolling gardens in Japan. As Shikoku is the venue for the Buddhist pilgrimage trail of 88 temples around the island, many of which are in the Takamatsu and Kagawa Prefecture area, a steady stream of "henro" or pilgrims pass through daily. Nearby Zentsuji Temple is number 85 on the pilgrimage trail and the birthplace of Kobo Daishi, Japan's most renowned monk.

Takamatsu Images - Images by John Lander

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Naoshima Images Gallery - Please click slideshow to view collection

Naoshima is an island located in the Seto Inland Sea of Japan. It is renowned for its collection of contemporary art galleries and exhibits. The best known for the Benesse House complex. The original contemporary art museum and remains one of the best. A superb fusion of nature, art and architecture that display numerous outdoor exhibits.

Naoshima Images - Images by John Lander

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Osaka Images Gallery - Please Click Slideshow to Enter Collection

If Tokyo is Japan's capital, one might call Osaka its anti capital. Whatever you call it however, Osaka is an adventure left to be explored. Commonly considered Japan's "commercial" center with its population devoted to business, Osaka is also known for its salty, in-your-face frankness not common elsewhere in Japan. Osaka dates back to the Asuka and Nara period. Under the name Naniwa it was the capital of Japan from 683 to 745 long before the upstarts at Kyoto took over. Even after the capital was moved elsewhere, Osaka continues to play an important role as a hub for land, sea and river transportation.

Osaka Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Nikko Images Gallery - Please click slideshow to view collection

Nikko is most famous for Toshogu Shrine, Japan's most lavishly decorated shrine complex and mausoleum of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate. Unlike most Japanes shrines, the buildings here are gaudy and ornate, with multicolored carvings and plenty of gold leaf. Though designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a very popular destination for both Japanese and foreign visitors, many Japanese consider the flamboyant decorations to be somewhat tacky.

Nikko Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Koyasan Images Gallery - Please click slideshow to visit collection

Koyasan is the center of Shingon Buddhism, a sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daish one of the most significant personalities in Japan's history. Over one hundred temples stand in the small town on top of the wooded mountain, now declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Koyasan is one of the best places to experience a night at a temple. About fifty temples in the area function as shukubo, where tourists are welcome to overnight, try shojin ryori - the vegetarian cuisine of monks - and participate in the morning prayers and ceremonies.

Koyasan Images - Images by John Lander

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Japanese Cuisine Images - click on slideshow to visit archives

Japanese cuisine is not about just sushi or sashimi. Tempura, nabe or "hot pot', various tofu dishes, not to mention all the street food snacks available: sembai rice crackers, mochi, onsen eggs, monju, dried squid, rice cakes and other treats make Japanese food one of the world's most varied, healthy and great cuisines.

Japanese Cuisine Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Japanese Garden Images - Please Click Slideshow to go to Archive

Japanese gardens reveal themselves only detail by detail. After visiting a japanese garden we ask ourselves what is deliberate, what is accidental? Does it truly offer hidden meaning behind those rocks or ponds? To enjoy the hushed silence of a Kyoto garden is to appreciate the Japanese aesthetic, which puts great value on what is implied not shown. Or if the symbolism gets too much just choose which garden you like the most, relax and enjoy the view.

Japanese Garden Images - Images by John Lander

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Japanese Festival Images - Please click on slideshow to go to archives

Despite Japan's modern high-tech image, numerous festivals are held throughout the year. Summer festivals or matsuri are extravaganzas of color and exuberance, springtime hanami cherry blossom viewing is a long-time favorite, exotic lanterns at Star Tanabata festivals, or O-bon in August is a panorama of brightly colored kimono, lanterns and dancing.

Japanese Festival Images Gallery - Images by John Lander

Inland Sea Images Gallery, Click on Slideshow to go to Archives...

Only from the deck of a boat with the wind in your hair and brine in your face , does the Inland Sea reveal its true nature. Patterns of distant islands with evocative sounding names: Innoshima, Bentenjima, Awaji, Shikoku... advance and retreat on the horizon as the ferry chugs along. There has long been a romantic notion of Japan's Inland Sea and its salty charm. Yukio Mishima's novel The Sound of Waves was set on one of these tiny islands. Donald Ritchie's classic travel tome The Inland Sea outlines his ferry-hopping quest for an bygone, retro Japan.

Inland Sea Images - Images by John Lander

Monday, November 16, 2009

Sapporo Images - Please click slideshow to enter archive

Sapporo is the capital of Hokkaido and Japan's fifth largest city. Sapporo is also one of the nation's youngest major cities. In 1857, the population stood at under ten people. When the development of Hokkaido was started on a large scale, Sapporo was chosen as the island's administrative center and developed from the advice of foreign specialists. As a result Sapporo was built based on an American-style grid street system. The city became famous in 1972 when the winter Olympics were held there. Today, the city is well known for its beer, art parks, spaciousness and well-planned urban design.

Sapporo Images Gallery - Images by John Lander