See Japan's castles the easy way
Article posted on Saturday, June, 25th, 2011 at 7:43 am
Four, unique trucks from four different Iga-city-based transport companies do more than just deliver their goods all over Japan, they are also official tourism ambassadors of their home town(s). They all look fantastic, so be sure to click on this (pic pop-up) to see all four in their funky livery.
The four trucks
The first of the trucks has a Matsuo Bashō theme. Bashō being the name of a master Edo-period poet. The second truck displays a scene from the local Tenjin festival. The third truck depicts Tōdō Takatora’s Iga Ueno Castle. And, the last truck promotes the famous Iga Ninja.
It’s been over a year since I first became aware of the travelling billboards of Iga (Mie Pref). I would’ve written a post about it back then, but I couldn’t get pictures and thought I never would. This all changed the other day though. I was on the way home from work on Kyūshū’s route 3 and saw one of the afore mentioned funky trucks. Luckily for me it was the castle truck.
Article posted on Monday, November, 15th, 2010 at 9:12 pm
Azuchi castle is at last mine! Mwa haha! And what a bargain at ￥350 (a few bucks). Okay, so I won’t be moving in anytime soon, seeing as it fits in the palm of my hand and all.
This particular series of castles date from 2007 and were produced by a company named Doyusha, a company that also makes (larger) plastic model kits of Japan’s castles. Actually, as I glance over to the book shelf, I can see one of those very kits (again it’s Azuchi) that I picked up for ￥1,000 (a few bucks more).
So, what do you get for your hard earned? Well, perhaps the picture says it all. It’s a painted & pre-assembled plastic diorama, the size of which I’ve already alluded to. Pictured is the Summer version. And, for those lacking Bionic-Man eyesight, there is also an Autumn version of Azuchi.
It’s a bit of a lucky dip as to what you get, the box is sealed with no indication as to which one is inside. I could just as easily have picked up Wakayama Castle (Summer), Matsumoto Castle (either Summer or Winter) or Hikone Castle (Summer). To totally sweeten the deal there is an ultra rare version. It’s Hikone castle (Spring) with bonus Hiko Nyan! See this post for an explanation – Castle Mascots.
Well, I think I may have gotten the bug. And why not? They are only a few bucks.
Article posted on Wednesday, July, 14th, 2010 at 5:47 pm
Castle in Japanese – 城, represented a lot of things. It ranged from something massive and modern like Nagoya or Himeji castles right down to the simplest of stockade, which is probably now nothing more than a site marker in the form of a post in the ground.
It is a little confusing then, that there was a particular type of fortification that served many of the same functions as any large, Edo-period castle but was instead known as a Jin’ya. Well, just to be clear, they would never have been able to withstand any sustained assault but it was from within their offices that the domain was administered, just like at the larger castles.
Jin’ya, written as 陣屋, can be a little tricky to translate. Depending on your source, the following words may pop up: Magistrate’s office, Encampment, Government house, etc…
Generally, Jin’ya were located in domains valued up to 30,000 koku – which is what Wikipedia says. According to a recent book purchase though, it seems there were plenty of domains valued over the 30,000-koku figure. Akizuki Jin’ya in Fukuoka Prefecture for example, was valued at 50,000 koku at one point. And, I’m not having a go at Wikipedia’s contributers. To be honest, the average koku value does tend to hover around the 30,000 mark.
Jin’ya were found all over Japan, and in rather large numbers. Many were built on land held by the Tokugawa Shogunate and others were set-up by Daimyo as mini-domains within their own borders. Some were even established at decommissioned castles. Nagayama Jin’ya in Oita prefecture to name just one.
Akizuki Jin’ya / Jō
Depending on which resource you refer to, the H.Q. of a certain Kuroda Nagaoki (third son of Kuroda Nagamasa) in 1623 was Akizuki castle (秋月城) or Akizuki Jin’ya (秋月陣屋). Whatever its label, let’s have a look at how it may have once looked:
The rear & the side defences cannot clearly be understood viewing this scale model. After refering to my field notes, those three sides were inaccessable due to a creek & embankments. Along the front however is a moat, several multi-story turrets & a main gate. Perhaps it also isn’t so clear but their are two enclosures. One containing the offices and an “L” shaped horse stable. The other presumably containing the lord’s residence.
So, there you have it folks. I hope I’ve been able to clear up what a Jin’ya is and isn’t. In the end, I’m not so sure if I have. Suffice it to say, It’s a Jin’ya if it says it’s a Jin’ya.