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October 10 2012

Inuyama Castle's protector tree - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Sacred tree, Inuyama Castle, Inuyama

In Japan, in every Shinto shrine you will see a tree, usually a very old one, which is considered sacred. The explanation is that these trees are providing a place for the gods and spirits (kami), so that they can be present during the Shinto ceremonies.

But these aren’t the only sacred trees from Japan. The tree from today’s photo, located right next to the walls of the Inuyama Castle, is considered sacred because it actually protected the castle: it is said that over many years, this tree protected the castle against the fire by acting during storms like a natural lightning conductor… The tree is now dead (the green leafs are just a climbing plant), but since the castle survived untouched for almost 500 years (it is now one of the 4 original surviving Japanese castles designated as national treasures), the tree was declared sacred and was preserved as a shrine…

Reposted byMarkusBec MarkusBec

July 20 2012

Matsumoto Castle's hidden floor - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Matsumoto Castle, Matsumoto

One of the National Treasures of Japan, the keep (tenshu) of the Matsumoto Castle is one of the only twelve Japanese castles in the original form and, although it underwent two renovations in the beginning and in the middle of the 20th century, its interior still looks like in the 16th century.

Looking at the castle from outside, it clearly has 5 floors. However, the castle’s architecture manages to perfectly hide the fact that on the inside there are… 6 floors! Can you tell which is the hidden one?
The hidden floor (or the “dark floor", kurayamijuu) of the Matsumoto Castle is the third floor, with no windows and completely hidden from the outside. Mainly used for storage, the hidden floor was also a strategic asset against the castle’s attackers…

Reposted bydonotmindmeLogHiMa
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