Just the Pictures (Japan) Farmland on the outskirts of Osaka. Sign for Menbaka Fire Ramen restaurant in Kyoto. Advertisement for Menbaka Fire Ramen restaurant. Flaming oil being poured into my bowl of ramen noodles. Emperor Meiji Tomb at Fushimi Momoyama; he was the 122nd Emperor of Japan and reigned from 1867 to 1912 AD. The entrance gate to Fushimi-Momoyama Castle. Fushimi-Momoyama Castle. The original castle was built in 1592 AD, but this replica was built in 1964 AD. Another view of Fushimi-Momoyama Castle from the gardens. Entrance to Fushimi-Momoyama Castle. Vending machine at the Fushimi-Momoyama Castle – these vending machines were found on just about every block I walked by in Japan. Bamboo forest in the Fushimi Momoyama area. The main gate at Fushimi Inari-taisha. Worship Hall at Fushimi Inari-taisha with the Main Shrine behind it. “Ema” (wooden prayer plaques) hanging at Fushimi Inari-taisha. Fox (“kitsune”) sculpture found in Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. Structure in the Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. Torii gates at Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. View of Kyoto from Inari Mountain. Shinto graveyard at Fushimi Inari-taisha. More torii gates – there are around 1,000 at Fushimi Inari-taisha. Another torii path at Fushimi Inari-taisha. Walking through the torii gates. Torii path in the woods on Inari Mountain. Another fox statue at Fushimi Inari-taisha shrine. Hachirei Shrine on Inari Mountain. Wooden statue at Fushimi Inari-taisha. Tonan-Sumi-Yagura (Southeast Watchtower) at the Nijō Castle complex; the tower was constructed in 1626 AD. Kara-mon Gate, an imperial gate that leads to Ninomaru Palace at the Nijō Castle complex. Pond in Ninomaru Garden. Exterior of Ninomaru Palace. Another view of the pond in Ninomaru Garden. The inner moat in the Nijō Castle complex, which helps protect the castle towers. Kamo River in Kyoto. Tower gate (“rōmon”) at Shimogamo Shrine. Hall in Shimogamo Shrine, which is one of the oldest Shinto shrines in Japan, dating to the 6th-century AD. View of the tower gate from one of the halls in Shimogamo Shrine. Temizuya (“purification fountain”) at Shimogamo Shrine; this is used by worshipers to cleanse their hands and mouth before entering the shrine. Structure inside the Shimogamo Shrine. Another view of the tower gate at Shimogamo Shrine. Mitarai-sha inside Shimogamo Shrine. Statues of Arhats (enlightened Buddhist monks) at Kanga-an Temple – a Zen temple in Kyoto. Kabuse Tea White Ale, Rauchbier (“smoked beer”), and a Lazy IPA at Kyoto Beer Lab. “All Evil” cocktail (celery gin, black sambuca, plum wine, sake, shiso, lemon juice, and egg white) at Nokishita 711 pub. Corridor in a Kyoto subway station. Gishumon Gate in the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Gekkamon Gate with Shishinden (“Hall for State Ceremonies”) on the other side of the wall. Looking at Nikkamon Gate through an entranceway. Shishinden, seen through Jōmeimon Gate. Shishinden with Gekkamon Gate to the left. Shunkōden (“Hall of the Sacred Mirror”), which was used to enshrine the Sacred Mirror during the enthronement ceremony of the Taishō emperor. Interior in the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Seiryōden (“Hall of Rites and Rituals”). Oikeniwa Garden in the Imperial Palace. Bridge in the palatial gardens. Painting in a room in the Omima – a building used for private events. Pathway in the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Wall around the Kyoto Imperial Palace with Kōgōmon Gate visible. Ginkaku-ji (“Temple of the Silver Pavilion”); the temple dates back to 1490 AD and it’s name comes from the original plan to cover the temple in silver, which never happened. Another view of the Silver Pavilion. Tōgu-dō Hall in Ginkaku-ji. Pond in Ginkaku-ji. View from the garden path in Ginkaku-ji. The kannonden (the “Silver Pavilion”) at Ginkaku-ji. The shariden (“Golden Pavilion”) at Kinkaku-ji (“Temple of the Golden Pavilion”). Another view of the Golden Pavilion. The original Golden Pavilion was burned down by a novice monk in 1950 AD, but rebuilt in 1955 AD. Rear view of the Golden Pavilion at Kinkaku-ji. Yet another view of the Golden Pavilion. My dinner at the Kikyo Sushi restaurant. Calpis, an uncarbonated soft drink produced by lactic acid fermentation. Koshoji Temple in Kyoto. The over-400-year-old ginkgo tree at Nishi Honganji Temple. The corridor between the Goeido (“Founder’s Hall”) and Amidado (“Hall of Amida Buddha”) at Nishi Honganji Temple. The Scripture Repository at Nishi Honganji Temple. The Amidado in Nishi Honganji Temple. Kondo (“Golden Hall”) in Tōji Temple. Kodo (“Lecture Hall”) in Tōji Temple. The five-storied pagoda at Tōji Temple, which dates back to 1643 AD and is considered the tallest wooden tower in Japan. Inside the Shoin Drawing Room at Tenryū-ji Temple. Painting in the Shoin Drawing Room. Altar inside the Tahoden at Tenryū-ji. The Main Hall and Sōgen Garden at Tenryū-ji. Tahoden at Tenryū-ji. Bamboo forest at Tenryū-ji. Looking inside the Shoin Drawing Room. Roof-tile sculptures at Tenryū-ji. Entrance to Tenryū-ji. Boats on the Katsura River. Residential street in the Arashiyama neighborhood in Kyoto. The haiden (“Hall of Worship”) at Matsuno’o Taisha Shrine. Sake barrels at Matsuno’o Taisha – it is said that sake will not spoil if brewed with a portion of this shrine’s “kamenoi” spring water. Statues at Matsuno’o Taisha. The torii and tower gate at Matsuno’o Taisha Shrine. The tower gate at Matsuno’o Taisha Shrine. Saiho-ji (Kokedera) Temple. Crossing the Katsura River. Entry Hall and Imperial Gate at Ninna-ji Temple. Inside the Shiro-shoin at Ninna-ji Temple. Depiction of Buddha at Ninna-ji. The Shiro-shoin at Ninna-ji. Hokutei (“North Garden”) view from Shinden. Inside the Shinden at Ninna-ji. View of the Kuro-shoin. Nio-mon Gate, located in the front Ninna-ji Temple. Chu-mon Gate in Ninna-ji. Five-storied Pagoda built in 1644 AD at Ninna-ji,. Kondo (the “Main Hall”) at Ninna-ji. Omuro Zakura (a late-blooming variety of cherry tree) orchard at Ninna-ji. Steak dinner. “Smoked Mojito No. 1” cocktail, which uses cherry blossom wood smoke – enjoyed at Bee’s Knees pub. Pumpkin with iced rum and milk cocktail at Mixology Bar Smooth. “Soil & Pimp Sessions” cocktail (burdock gin, black soy beans bitters, herb water tonic, herbs) at Nokishita 711 – the actual cocktail is in a plastic bag buried under the soil. “Fungus Negroni” cocktail (shiitake mushroom gin, amaro, cooking sake, soy sauce, umami bitters, and mushroom syrup). Kamo River at night. Nikka Whisky at a jazz bar in Kyoto. A Japanese super toilet, with built-in bidet, posterior sprayer, and seat warmer. Street in Kobe. Kobe Motomachi Shopping Street. Hakutsuru Sake Brewery. Sen-mai (“rice washing”) is the washing of polished rice – this is the first step in the process of sake brewing. Hourei (“cooling”) of the rice after it has been steamed. Yamaokoshi (“stirring the seed mash”). Taruzume (“barreling”) of the sake. Ferris wheel at Kobe’s harbor. View of Kobe from the MOSAIC (a shopping mall) at the harbor. Kobe Port Tower. “Girl on a Dolphin” by Yuki Shintani (1993 AD). Gate in Kobe. Street in Kobe’s Chinatown. Assortment of gyoza (dumplings or “pot stickers” filled with ground meat and vegetables). Gate in Kobe’s Chinatown at night. Closed shops in the early morning along Prefectural Road 21 in Kobe. Himeji Castle. The Main Keep with the Northwest Small Keep (left) and West Small Keep (right) in the foreground. Angled chute or “stone drop window” on the corner of the castle keep. Roof tiles at Himeji Castle. More angled chutes with the Main Keep in the background. Inside the Main Keep. Looking toward the Kesho-yagura Tower (“Cosmetic Tower”) and Nishi-no-maru Bailey (“West Bailey”) from the Main Keep. Osakabe-jinja Shrine on the sixth (topmost) floor of the Main Keep. Looking south at Sannomaru Square and Otemae-dori Street from Himeji Castle. Tiled roof of Himeji Castle. Looking down at a gate in Himeji Castle. Looking up at the castle keeps. The Main Keep and West Small Keep, seen from Hon-maru Bailey (“1st Bailey”). Another view of the Main Keep from Hon-maru Bailey. The Obi-no-Yagura (“Belt Tower) on the east-side of the castle complex. No-no-mon Gate. Sangoku-bori Moat. Room inside the Hyakken-roka Corridor (“long connecting corridor”). Hallway inside the Hyakken-roka Corridor. The Main Keep, seen from Kesho-yagura Tower (“Cosmetic Tower”). Room in the Cosmetic Tower. Sama (“loopholes”) in a wall at Himeji Castle – these shapes (triangular, square, and circular) were used to fire guns. Castle keeps seen from Nishi-no-maru Bailey (“West Bailey”). Pond in Koko-en – a traditional Japanese Garden near Himeji Castle. Path in Koko-en. Another pond in the gardens at Koko-en. Akashi Kaikyō Bridge, which has the longest central span of any suspension bridge in the world. Torii at Ikuta Shinto Shrine. Fox statue at Ikuta Shrine. Honden (“Main Hall”) at Ikuta Shrine. Inside the honden at Ikuta. Tower Gate at Ikuta Shrine. Ikuta Road in Kobe. Western-style mansion in Sorakuen Garden. Pond in Sorakuen Garden – traditional Japanese Garden in Kobe. Path in Sorakuen Garden. Barge built in the late-17th-century AD and owned by the Lord of Himeji during the Edo era. Another stone path in Sorakuen Garden. Train ride to Arima Onsen. Street in Arima Onsen. Arima Onsen at night. ‘Hello Kitty’ Shinkansen (“bullet train”). Ferry returning to the mainland from Itsukushima Island, which is also known as Miyajima (“Shrine Island”). Itsukushima Island with with the large torii at Itsukushima Shrine in view. A tame Sika deer trying to drink beer. Itsukushima Shrine. The torii at Itsukushima Shrine during low-tide. Another view of the torii. The torii with the shrine in the background. A Sika deer on the beach. Yet another view of the large torii, which is usually photographed at high-tide. Coins around the base of the torii. Inside the Itsukushima Shrine. Marodo Shrine (“shrine for guest deities”) with the Five-storied Pagoda in the background. Main Shrine of Itsukushima Shrine with the Takabutai (“elevated stage”) in the foreground. Corridor in Itsukushima Shrine with Noh Stage on the right. Sake barrels. Street in Miyajima. Statue inside a gate at Daiganji Temple. Five-storied Pagoda which is part of Itsukushima Shrine. Street lined with shops in Miyajima. Green tea ice cream. Statue of Taira no Kiyomori (1118 – 1181 AD) who was a military leader during the late Heian period of Japan. Red Bird Monument with a bust of Miekichi Suzuki (1882 – 1936 AD), a novelist from Hiroshima. The Hiroshima Prefectural Commercial Exhibition Hall (built in 1915 AD), now known as the “A-bomb Dome.” Another view of the A-bomb Dome. Close-up of the dome. A-bomb Dome seen from the western bank of the Motoyasu-gawa River. Peace Clock Tower in the Peace Memorial Park. Peace Bell. Atomic Bomb Memorial Mound. Children’s Peace Monument. Flame of Peace and Pond of Peace. Cenotaph for the A-bomb Victims. Fountain of Prayer. Onions, tempura crisps, cabbage, dried fish powder, and batter – the first five layers of a Hiroshima-style Okonomiyaki (a meal with eleven layers). Three Hiroshima Okonomiyaki meals nearly complete. Cooked and sliced Okonomiyaki. Kawara Sembei (butter-less cookies shaped like roof tiles) Matcha gelatin, and a Matcha cookie. Beers from three different Japanese breweries. Moat around the Hiroshima Castle complex. Aioibashi Bridge leading to Ninomaru (“second compound”) of Hiroshima Castle. A drum like this was used during the Edo era to signal the time of day, opening/closing of the castle gates, and the time for samurai to report for their duties. Hiroshima Gokoku-jinja – a Shinto shrine rebuilt in 1965 AD. Hiroshima Castle, a flatland-style castle that was rebuilt in 1958 AD after the original was destroyed by the atomic bomb blast. View of Hiroshima from the castle. Another view of the city and moat from the top of the castle. Eastern-side of Hiroshima Castle. Ruins of Hiroshima Castle; the photograph was taken in November 1945 AD by the U.S. Army. Hiroshima Castle seen from the Northwest corner of the moat. Fountain statue with Hiroshima Castle in the background. ‘Woman with a Straw Hat’ by Auguste Renoir (1915 AD). ‘Daubigny’s Garden’ by Vincent van Gogh (1890 AD). ‘Landscape with Trees’ by Maurice de Vlaminck (1950 AD). ‘Bust of Woman’ by Pablo Picasso (1970 AD). ‘Nude on the Waterside’ by Okada Saburosuke (1935 AD). ‘Rice-planting’ by Kojima Zenzaburo (1943 AD). ‘Night View of Cherry Blossoms’ by Tsuchida Bakusen. ‘A Pretty Little Child’ by Uemura Shoen. ‘Light in Spring (Jukai: Sea of Trees)’ by Yokoyama Taikan (1946 AD). Statue outside in the Hiroshima Museum of Art. Marker on the sidewalk that marks the atomic bomb’s hypocenter; the bomb exploded approximately 600 meters directly above this spot on August 6, 1945. Sculpture outside the Hiroshima National Peace Memorial Hall for the Atomic Bomb Victims – it shows the time, 8:15, when the A-bomb exploded. Map showing the destruction of Hiroshima, the hypocenter, A-bomb dome, and current location of the museum, Glass bottle deformed from the extreme heat of the atomic bomb blast. Sculpture given to Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park by Pope John Paul II in 1981 AD. The A-bomb Dome and Motoyasu-gawa River. Grilled eel covered in teriyaki sauce. Grilled oysters. Bag of grilled and dried squid tentacles. Wine made from Delaware grapes – a variety of Vitis labrusca, a grape species from North America. Sushi from a local supermarket. Okawa River with Osakatenma Kawasaki Bridge in view. Moat around the Osaka Castle complex. Sengan-yagura Turret. Dry moat with Sakuramon Gate. Main Tower in Osaka Castle. View of the Inner Bailey, seen from the Main Tower. Looking toward the Osaka Business District from the castle’s Main Tower. Crest of a feudal lord, inscribed into a stone that makes up part of the castle wall. Multiple crests of feudal lords inscribed into the castle walls. View of the north side of the Main Tower. The Main Tower and Inner Moat of Osaka Castle. The Kyoikuto (“Education Tower”), a memorial for the victims of Muroto typhoon in 1934 AD. Hokoku-jinja Shrine, a Shinto shrine located in the Outer Bailey of Osaka Castle. Statue in front of Hokoku-jinja Shrine. Shudokan, a martial arts training hall in Osaka Castle. The Main Tower of Osaka Castle, seen from the Inner Bailey. Another view of the Main Tower and Inner Moat. Aoyamon Gate. Peace Statue, found near Kyobashi Station. Izakaya Toyo, a street-food chef made famous from the series: ‘Netflix Street Food Guide’. Fatty tuna shashimi, sea urchin, and sushi rolls, served at Izakaya Toyo’s standing bar. Nan’endō (“South Octagonal Hall”) at Kōfuku-ji Temple in Nara. Gojū-no-tō – the five-storied pagoda in Kōfuku-ji Temple. Chū-kondō (“Central Golden Hall”) in Kōfuku-ji. Wooden prayer plaques in Kōfuku-ji. Representation of Buddha’s footprints, found near the Gangō-ji Temple pagoda site ruins. Gokurakubō (“Main Hall”) at Gangō-ji Temple. Lotus flower. One of several small demon statues found on the grounds in Gangō-ji Temple. Stone tablets (many of which feature images of Buddha) in Gangō-ji. Flowers in Gangō-ji Temple’s gardens. Ukimidō, a hexagonal hall in Nara. Nandaimon Gate, the giant south gate to Tōdai-ji Temple. Statues inside Nandaimon Gate. Tōdai-ji Nakamon. Daibutsuden (“Great Buddha Hall”) at Tōdai-ji Temple. Looking back at the Tōdai-ji Nakamon from the Daibutsuden. The Great Buddha inside the Daibutsuden. Komokuten, one of the guardian statues in the Daibutsuden. Backside of the Great Buddha statue. Bishamonten, the other guardian statue in the Daibutsuden. Nyoirin-kannon. Binzuru (Pindola Bharadvaja), one of sixteen Arahats (disciples of Buddha) who excelled at occult powers; it is said that if someone rubs part of this statue and then rubs the corresponding part of their body, which ails them, they will be cured of that ailment. Another view of the Daibutsuden. Corridor on the eastern side of Tōdai-ji Temple. Deer in Nara Park. Stone lanterns in the forest near Kasuga-taisha, a Shinto shrine. Deer statue and fountain near Kasuga-taisha. Path leading to Kasuga-taisha. Close-up of stone lanterns. Herd of deer looking for lunch. Hanging lanterns in Kasuga-taisha. More stone lanterns in the woods near Kasuga-taisha. Restored building at the Heijōkyū Palace Site. Farmland adjacent to the Heijōkyū Palace Site in Nara. Daigoku-den (a replica of the former Imperial Audience Hall) at the Heijōkyū Palace Site. Squat toilet found in Japan. Takoyaki, a molded, ball-shape snack popular in Osaka. Dotonbori River at night. Creative billboards for restaurants in the Dotonbori district in Osaka. Fugu fish in a restaurant’s aquarium; this pufferfish can be lethal if prepared incorrectly, due to a tetrodotoxin. Fugu restaurant in Dotonbori. Restaurant with a dragon popping through its billboard. A Dotonbori restaurant with numerous red lanterns. Melonpan, a brioche covered with a thin layer of cookie dough.