We were very excited to see Japanese castles while in Japan. We have seen castles all over Europe and wanted to compare. Himeji Castle, the White Castle, is one of the most famous castles in Japan, and is a day trip from Kyoto. With 600 years of history within the walls of the castle it was a great site to explore with a lot history.
The outside of the White Castle was very impressive. It towered over a large courtyard. It was exactly the castle we had been hoping to see.
Continue reading “Himeji Castle”
After the night bus we were unable to check into our hostel until late afternoon. So, we took off to see the city! We started at Nijo-jo castle. This castle was completed in 1603 and was the residence of the head of the Shogunate (samurai government) from completion until 1867.
The castle is surrounded by a moat and to enter you go through the Kara-mon Gate. This gate uses cypress bark as the roof along with brilliantly colored carvings. Continue reading “Our First Day in Kyoto “
We travelled up the coast from Guangdong to Fujian to see one of the unique architectural features of southern China, the Tulou. These ‘earth houses’ are large multi-family dwellings, like a condominium with a courtyard. The round Tulou are especially notable. During the Cold War, Americans seeing satellite images of the Tulou though they were missile silos or fallout shelters. Continue reading “Tulou Villages of Fujian “
In the morning we went to the famous Potala Palace. This was the home of the Dalai Lamas until the 14th Dalai Lama fled to India in 1959. It was originally built in the 7th century but remained mostly in ruins until the 5th Dalai Lama rebuilt the palace in the 17th century. Since the 17th century the palace has had additions and been maintained very well. The palace is built of wood and stone and divided into two parts. The white part is where the Dalai Lama lived, and had the offices for Buddhist and political affairs. The red portion of the building is halls, chapels, and libraries. Continue reading “Potala Palace and Sera Monastery “
The Forbidden City is the largest palace complex is the world. It was home to the two last dynasties before The Chinese Republic. For 500 years when Emperors ruled China, no ordinary citizen was allowed to enter the city, with instant execution as punishment for attempting; hence the complex received its western name “The Forbidden City”. It is referred to as Palace Museum or Ancient Palace by the Chinese. The complex is divided into two parts: royal residence and ceremonial court. Continue reading “The Forbidden City “
From Beijing, Christopher, Meg, and Katie took a tour to see and hike the Great Wall of China. The sections we saw were Mutianyu and Jiankou. The wall was built over multiple millenia, to protect China from horse-riding invaders from the Mongolian steppe, including Huns and Mongolians. Continue reading “The Great Wall of China “
Our first stop in the district of Agra was Fort Fatehpur Sikri. We stopped here while driving into the city of Agra. This fort was founded by Emperor Akbar as the capital. They started construction in 1569. It took 15 years to build the fort, but the royal family left the fort in 1585, 19 years after beginning construction. They were forced to leave their new home and return to the city of Agra because the spring-fed lake had gone dry.
The fort has been used since by other families and governments. It is in good condition today. It has a five mile walk around the fort and a mosque inside, built for the original royal family. Continue reading “Agra “