Friday, June 19, 2009

Day 13, Osaka to Kyoto; Japan

Osaka Castle is a Japanese castle in Chuo-ku, Osaka, Osaka Prefecture. It is one of Japan's most famous castles and is a popular spot during festival seasons, and especially during the cherry blossom bloom (hanami), when the sprawling castle grounds are covered with food vendors and taiko drummers.

Just for your information:
In Japan cherry blossoms symbolize clouds due to their n ature of blooming en masse, besides being an enduring metaphor for the ephemeral nature of life, an aspect of Japanese cultural tradition that is often associated with Buddhistic influence. Have you noticed that the flower is also represented on all manner of consumer goods in Japan, including kimono, stationery, and dishware??
Cherry blossom is an omen of good fortune and is also an emblem of love, affection and represents spring.

Next stop, Kyoto
We are in awe of the historic monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Built in A.D. 794 on the model of the capitals of ancient China, Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan from its foundation until the middle of the 19th century.

As the centre of Japanese culture for more than 1,000 years, Kyoto illustrates the development of Japanese wooden architecture, particularly religious architecture, and the art of Japanese gardens, which has influenced landscape gardening the world over.

Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II ( thank goodness!! )

Countless temples, shrines and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.

Kyoto Imperial Palace (Kyoto Gosho) used to be the residence of Japan's Imperial Family until 1868, when the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo.The palace burnt down and was moved around the city several times over the centuries. The present reconstruction dates from 1855. The palace complex is enclosed by a long wall and consists of several gates, halls and gardens.

Since the palace can be visited only on guided tours held by the Imperial Household Agency, I applied for permission in advance with our passports at the agency's office in the Kyoto Imperial Park. Nopi was delighted as this was another birthday gift:-) we are all looking forward to meeting our dear, mutual friend, Noriko from Nara.....

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