Visible from Akashi Station, Akashi Castle was first built in 1619 by Lord Ogasawara Tadamasa (later renamed Tadazane 小笠原忠真）. Only two turrets, stone walls, and moats survive. It is within Akashi Park.
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Near Sannomiya Station, Kitano is a district dotted with numerous Western-style homes built in the late 19th and early 20th centuries when foreigners were allowed to reside in Kobe. Many homes are open to tourists.
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On Jan. 17, 1995, the Kobe area was devastated by a huge earthquake, killing over 6,000 people. I visited Kobe 10 days after the quake hit. I show these photos on the 15th anniversary of the killer quake.
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Nishinomiya Jinja Shrine in Hyogo Prefecture, Japan is the headquarters for all Ebisu shrines in Japan. Centering on Jan. 10, the Toka Ebisu festival is held here with 1 million people coming to worship and pray for business prosperity. One highlight is the giant tuna on display for people to stick on their coins. These photos were taken on Jan 10, 2011.
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