10: three japanese castles - the auroran sunset

Here at abelard.org, we take a lot of photographs. Many of them are pretty or interesting. This is the tenth in a regular “photograph with little or no explanation or comment” feature.

Our first castle is my favourite: Kumamoto Castle. Kumamoto City is located near the centre of Kyushu Island. The castle was originally built in 1606 by Kiyomasa Kato. Like with many Japanese castles, wars and fires had taken their toll, so in 1960 the government rebuilt the castle. Hence the pristine condition that makes this one of the most impressive castles in Japan:

Kumamoto Castle, up close. Image credit: the auroran sunset
[Taken in Japan on the 11th May 2003.]

Kumamoto Castle, wide view. Image credit: the auroran sunset
[Taken in Japan on the 11th May 2003.]

The next castle is probably the biggest and most famous in all Japan: Osaka Castle. Osaka is located about halfway along the bottom edge of Honshu Island, very near to Kobe and Kyoto. The castle was originally built in 1583 by Hideyoshi Toyotomi, the general who first united Japan.

I've been to Osaka twice, neither time did I like the place. It does, however, have the advantage of having just the right climate for gorgeous autumn colours, which are unfortunately somewhat dilluted by the smoggy haze.

Osaka Castle through autumn leaves. Image credit: the auroran sunset
[Taken in Japan on the 4th December 2005.]

Osaka Castle walls and skyscrapers behind. Image credit: the auroran sunset
[Taken in Japan on the 4th December 2005.]

The last castle is tiny and not at all famous. Even the people living in the same town seem not know of it. These miniature castles are scattered all across Japan and nowadays are mostly used as a someone's (somewhat large) house. This one is from Kokubu in southern Kyushu.

The first photo is from the bedroom window of my flat; being able to see a castle everyday was one of the major factors in my choosing that place!

A miniature castle in Kokubu, seen over suburban rooves. Image credit: the auroran sunset
[Taken in Japan in April 2003.]

Close up of a miniature castle in Kokubu. Image credit: the auroran sunset
[Taken in Japan in April 2003.]

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