Going inside the gate of Hakone Sekisho, a checkpoint which also operated as a significant transit and communication site for around 250 years during Edo period.
After the collapse of the Kamakura shogunate in 1333, a warlord named Ashikaga Tokauji became a shogun in 1338. The Ashikaga shogunate, Japan’s second shogunate, was called the “Age of the Country at War” but despite the chaos, trade was encouraged and Zen-inspired art started during this period. The government collapsed towards the end of this shogunate, with the local lords called daimyos gaining the loyalty of the samurai. The daimyos got peasants for their armies and became rulers of their respective territories. The last Ashikaga shogun was forced out of office by a local lord named Oda Nobunaga but was assassinated in 1582 and was succeeded by Hideyoshi, his best general. A power struggle ensued after Hideyoshi’s death in 1598 until Tokugawa Ieyasu, another Nobunaga’s general, gained victory in the Battle of Sekigahara in 1600. Read More
When we travel, we seek more than what we see. Japan is such a breathtaking place but beyond that, in order for us to have a deep understanding of its culture, we need to know the geographical and historical conditions that had shaped what it is today…and Kamakura, being the heart of power for 150 years and the 13th century de facto capital, is one of Japan’s most significant historic places. Read More
Ancient Japan’s spirituality was in reverence with nature mysticism, where the forces of nature were seen as spirits…and this evolved into a religion called Shinto. Nature was the heart of their spirituality and culture. Even their shrines and temples were placed according to its natural landforms. Read More
Japan is such a remarkable synthesis of two extremes – you can sink into calmness or get dazzled by excitement… you can walk through ancient temples and shrines or explore the ultra modern landscape with huge monuments of glass, steel and concrete. There is such diversity in landscape… gardens disrupt the modern concrete so peace and harmony are preserved in some spaces of a densely populated metropolitan area Read More
I’ve travelled two thousand miles to see a landscaped mystery.
Behold, under the heavens, a scene of majesty!
A sublime beauty sweeping up 12,388 ft above ground
With snow-dappled summit, so vivid and profound!
Now I’ve seen the summit that enlightens
Why you are most praised of all mountains!
All seasons must be sweet to you,
Always beautiful with each changing hue. Read More
The land of the rising sun shines with beautiful colors and shapes with the depth and sweetness of nature…and when the sun finally goes down and crawls on Mount Fuji, nature’s dramatic art takes center stage.
This illustrates that only the highest Master’s hand can bring the highest level of beauty to the world.
It’s a delight to see, smell and most especially, taste the colorful array of Korean cuisine! Read More
Centuries of strife had its crippling effect for a while but it did not permanently paralyze this beautiful place in Asia. Their determination to rise above the ashes brought forth their ingenuity and industriousness. After the Korean War, from 1961 to 1987, they were led by a dictator who implemented extremely harsh measures to achieve a desired outcome…then the successor was succeeded by liberal leaders who had the vision and were able to rekindle the flames within their citizens so they would shine brightly once again.
Ultimately, they had experienced a miracle – the “Miracle on the Han River” – a spectacular economic rise which made them the 11th largest economy in the world by 2002. Indeed, they have arrived brightly on the world stage.
DMZ is one of the scariest places on earth. South & North Korea designated this Demilitarized Zone 2 kms. away from the truce line on each side of the border right after the Korean war. This 4 km wide and 240 km long DMZ is one of the most heavily fortified borders in the world. There are thousands of landmines, electric fences and tank traps on both opposing sides within the DMZ area. Read More
On July 11, 1953, an armistice for the restoration of the South Korean State was signed here in Panmunjeom, known as the “truce village”, located just 55 km north of Seoul, in the Demilitarized Zone. A line not far from the 38th Parallel divides Korea into communist-controlled North Korea and democracy-dominated South Korea.