See Japan's castles the easy way
Article posted on Monday, August, 13th, 2012 at 4:03 pm
I’m toying with the idea of a Japanese castle (or relating to the Japanese castle) video series. Perhaps you could say that’s what I’ve been doing up to now, but those were me meandering and speaking off-the-cuff as it were. This time what I’m hoping for is a shorter and more concise format with less rough edges & more questions answered.
Now that the scene is set, here is episode 2. It’s all about the Kyū-Hosokawa Gyōbutei which we’ve seen before on this here blog. Anyway, please enjoy!
Article posted on Saturday, February, 12th, 2011 at 11:31 pm
Today we’re going to visit the Kyū-Hosokawa Gyōbutei. At times, misleadingly billed as a Daimyō’s residence, it actually started life as a second home for Okitaka, whose brother was the Daimyō. So, while not actually being a Daimyo’s residence, it remains a fine example of a home belonging to the upper echelons of the then ruling military class.
The building complex was built soon after 1646. Between the years of 1688 and 1711, it was remodelled & expanded on several occasions. It wasn’t until the age of the samurai had passed that it became the primary residence of Okitaka’s descendants. In 1985, it was designated an Important Cultural Property of Kumamoto Prefecture.
Location and layout
From 1990 and lasting 4 years, all buildings were moved to their current location from Higashi kokai, approximately one-and-a-half kilometres to the East of where it now stands.
The image above represents the site of Kumamoto castle. To the extreme left of the map is the Kyū-Hosokawa Gyōbutei compound. This part of the castle is known as the San-no-maru, and is in the North-West corner of the castle grounds.
Entry is gained via the Nagaya-mon. This type of gate more closely resembles a simple, rectangular building with double doors allowing passage through it.
Follow the short path and you’ll arrive at the entrance, and like so many others, it features a beautiful kara-hafu style gable. Naturally, the shoes will have to come off.
The first few rooms are where visitors could be greeted. As you make your way around in an anti-clockwise direction, you’ll then pass through the guest quarters. Continuing on, you’ll pass through the study, where high-ranking guests were entertained, then on to the private chambers of the Lord and his family.
The final major wing contains the amenities and the servants’ quarters.
The living quarters
The rooms are plainly decorated yet elegant. Most rooms contain simple exhibits such as furniture, cosmetics boxes and other small furnishings.
The wing containing the kitchen and the servants’ quarters was perhaps the most interesting.
Shown here is the kitchen, and you can see large pots and a sink in the background. Just out of frame is a refrigerator, covered with magnets & old fast-food menus.
Servant’s living quarters
Climbing these stairs isn’t allowed, so we’ll just have to settle for this shot. What I can tell you is that you’d find a pretty spartan room, not even any tatami flooring. That was reserved for the head male & female servants (which are down-stairs).
A quiet corner
I don’t think this room is anything particular special. I just like the shot. Aside for the three lanterns, there is a Jingasa, not exactly a helmet but simple head wear for those in the military. As for the room’s location, it sits to the right of the main entrance.
Article posted on Wednesday, October, 13th, 2010 at 11:09 pm
There are just so many pictures that I’m unable to post in the relevant castle profiles. With that in mind I’d like to share with you some photos of the Gyōbu mansion from my visit to Kumamoto City.
The Gyōbu mansion is said to be the former residence of a high-ranking samurai closely related to the Hosokawa lords of Kumamoto castle. It is located within a short walk of the castle so there are no excuses for skipping it. It was actually moved to its current site in 1993. (This type of thing is happening more & more.)
Unfortunately, I took all of the photos below from outside the residence. I did do a tour of the mansion back in 2001 and didn’t feel the need to check it out again. In hindsight, I probably should’ve taken the time to get some better photos of the interior. I’ll just have to visit again.
I’ve titled this post “Shashin -” which I’ll use for short-ish posts with a gallery of some pics, just as I have done with this post. Oh, for those not in the know, Shashin (写真) means photo in Japanese.