Category Archives: Architecture

Kura: Japanese Traditional Warehouses in Shizuoka Prefecture 3-Galvo Gallery in Shizuoka City!

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“Kura” (in japanese 蔵 or 倉) means “warehouse” or “Storehouse”.
In traditonal Japan, especially during the Edo Era, as most of buildings and urba/village structures were made of wood, fires were the bane of society by and large.
However well-protected a fire would consume a house or buildings and all its properties within minutes.
Hence a special building or warehouse was needed to protect goods and properties against such a catastrophe.
But erecting a storehouse solely made of concrete, stones and some metal cost a vast amount of silver and gold and only rich merchants and nobility could afford them. Even castles could not be built entirely of stone then.

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I have been chasing “kura” in Shizuoka for some time but I had never realized that the most beautiful of them stood along my daily cycle trips in Shizuoka City!
There is a simple reason for that: I was always cycling past the front facade without bothering looking up!
And then yesterday as I was cycling around in search of a totally unrelated spot I espied the back of a grand kura across a large car park. Mind you, the car park is fairly new and lays in a spot formerly occupied by old buildings!

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So I got off my bicycle, leaving my bag in its basket (Japan is so safe, but I realized later that was border limit!), and practically ran across the car park (not really allowed, LOL!) to have a closer look.
How could I have missed such a big kura (enormous by Shizuoka standards) and the more for it being built of ancient red bricks? The roof had been restored and the fact that red does not really stand out in the city might have been other reasons!

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It is now owned by Galvo Gallery, a high end ladies fashion shop.
The great clothes in the display window tend to keep your eyes away for a more deliberate view of the building itself!

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Since the windows upstairs are kept shut they probably use the upper floor as a storeroom!

GALVO GALLERY「ガルボギャラリー」
Shizuoka City, Aoi Ku, Shichiken Cho, 8-4/静岡市葵区七間町8-4
Tel&Fax 054-251-6611

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Navigating Nagoya by Paige, Shop with Intent by Debbie, BULA KANA in Fiji, Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Ichi For The Michi by Rebekah Wilson-Lye in Tokyo, Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
ABRACADABREW, Magical Craftbeer from Japan
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Kikugawa Red Brick House saved from the developers’ clutches!

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If you walk straight out from the only exit of Kikugawa City JR Station you are bound to walk past a square old building all made of red bricks.
Now, this is a noteworthy discovery as such buildings, mostly official at the times, were destroyed during WWII and most of those you may discover, especially in Yokohama and Hokkaido, are copies.
This building in Kikugawa City is the real article!

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It was erected as soon as the Tokaido Railway Line opened a station in Horin No Uchi (as of Hori no Uchi District in Kikugawa City) ine 23rd Year of Meiji Era (1890).
many buildings of the same architecture were also built at the same time along Kikugawa Station platform, Yoshizawa Arch Bridge, Kanaya Station and Makinohara Tunnel as offices, warehouses and else but they all have disappeared and the Red Brick House in Kukgawa City is the only one left.
For long the land had been ogled by developers and only 2 years ago the rumors were pretty bad until an NPO took charge of it with the blessings of the city as Cultural Asset!

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The original front facade although it is now oriented away from the street.

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If one looks carefully one can see the traces of the adjacent buildings and walls which have all disappeared!

The place can be visited on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 to 16:00 except on third week-ends.
It is still being cleaned and ordered inside but it is still worthy of a visit and of a glimpse of the past!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Stone Lanterns at Sengen Shrine in Shizuoka City!

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Yesterday, having some time on hand, I paid a visit to the Sengen Shrine, the largest Shinto Shrine in Shizuoka Ciy.
I had planned to take some pictures of dragons, but to my disappointment they were too few and unintereting.

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On the other hand I discovered many traditional Japanese stone lanterns.
They are called tourou/灯籠 in Japanese.
They have been there since immemorial times though candles have been replaced by electric devices nside.

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With all the tress, shrubs and hedges around it is easy to create some unexpected pictures!

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These lanterns are either geometrically placed in front of smaller shrines or in rows along the many paths crisscrossing the very wide shrine properties.

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At night you would certainly need the lanterns to find your way up the stairs to that very dark shrine!
Actually shrines are all either deep red or charcoal black, colors which would both make them invisble at night!

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Interestingly enough the small wooden board notice warns to beware of the danger of the lantern! In day time? Unless you want to push it down in spite of its very heavy weight! Or maybe to warn drunk people during the New Year festivities?

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Taken at an angle you can see the lanterns in a staggered manner!

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Another graphic possibility!

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Some of these lanterns are so old they have become a virtual garden!

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They almost seem to march around a bend!

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Some are almost hidden under the trees of the many gardens and small parks.

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As far as I know there are only two types.

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There were only a few of those roundish squat types, probably the older kind.

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Thanks to the lichen patterns you could say they were all different!

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Now, what’s that?

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A bird’s nest, probably that of swallows!
It had been left undisturbed in spite of being presently vacant. After all such nests are considered as lucky in Japan, so cleaners see no need to take them away!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Inari Dai Myojin Shrine at 1,000 meters in Shizuoka City!

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It takes a good hour by car to reach this spot in Umegashima, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City, along and above the Abe River at 1,000 meters at the very end of the road where you are greeted by a minuscule Shinto Shrine.

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The sign says “1,000 meters, the highest tea fields in Japan!”

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The red color is arguably the most used color for Shinto Shrines which are found in far more places than Budhist Temples especially in rural Japan!

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This “Torii/鳥居/Bird Gate”, for all its small size is remarkable for the fact that the top beam was made with the bottom part of a tree to show a pointed horn at its tip! Very rare actually! The whole portal was created by with logs sawed by the small log company just a few meters away!

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For the people interested with such facts, the name of the shrine is called “Inari Dai Myoujin/稲荷大明神”!
“Inari” is also the name of a sushi. Can you guess why? “Ina” means “rice” and it was offered inside rice straw balls at such shrines to pray for bountiful crops whose shape has been copied to make inari sushi!

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This very spot is heavens for photography buffs!

SN3O4806take a zoom with you to catch to the different grey hues of the mountain reminding you of a Chinese ink painting!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

Shop with Intent by Debbie
BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City

Japanese Culture & History: Oomura Family House and tea Fields in Shizuoka City!

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if you know where to look or if you keep your ears (and other senses) open, there will always be a time for a new discovery in Japan. The deeper in the country you venture the better chance to discover true history in the guise of a farmhouse for example!

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Oumura Family House is located up the Abe River in Shizuoka City perched high above the water by its own green tea fields.
It has been an official Shizuoka Prefecture designated (and protected) cultural asset for ages.
But the House and the (restored) farm and its original tea fields have been there since Edo Era, that is more than 150 years!

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Green tea has been grown there for even longer, for hundred of years!

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It is heaven for photographers as pictures are possible from an infinite number of angles, be they at ground level or from above!

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All the walls and roofs have been preserved or restored all the time to reveal the grand house of a rich farming family of yore!

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Traditional Japanese carp pond! At such an altitude, it is a wonder!

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Under the thatched roof eaves…
We cannot visit the inside but from I could judge from outside it was full of antiques!

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This wall was built in the Edo Era manner. How old could it be?

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But now this is a very old and authentic wall of the Edo Era. i was told it was more than 200 years old!
Pity we couldn’t visit the place as the family still lives inside and grows green tea!

RECOMMENDED RELATED WEBSITES

BULA KANA in Fiji
Kraemer’s Culinary blog by Frank Kraemer in New York,Tokyo Food File by Robbie Swinnerton, Green Tea Club by Satoshi Nihonyanagi in Shizuoka!, Mind Some by Tina in Taiwan, Le Manger by Camille Oger (French), The Indian Tourist, Masala Herb by Helene Dsouza in Goa, India, Mummy I Can Cook! by Shu Han in London, Pierre.Cuisine, Francescannotwrite, My White Kitchen, Foodhoe, Chucks Eats, Things that Fizz & Stuff, Five Euro Food by Charles,Red Shallot Kitchen by Priscilla,With a Glass, Nami | Just One Cookbook, Peach Farm Studio, Clumsyfingers by Xethia, PepperBento, Hapabento, Kitchen Cow, Lunch In A Box, Susan at Arkonlite, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat, Bento Lunch Blog (German), Adventures In Bento, Anna The Red’s Bento Factory, Ohayo Bento,

Must-see tasting websites:

-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Another Pint, Please!, Beering In Good Mind: All about Craft Beer in Kansai by Nevitt Reagan!
-Whisky: Nonjatta: All about whisky in Japan by Stefan Van Eycken
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery

Non gastronomy must-see sites by Shizuoka Residents

HIGHOCTANE/HAIOKU by Nick Itoh in Shizuoka City