JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when in crowds.


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Seki-juku was the 47th station or lodging/post town on the old Tokaido Road. It well retains a traditional townscape with a good number of traditional Edo Period buildings including the Honjin and Waki Honjin. Seki-juku is preceded by Kameyama-juku and followed by Sakashita-juku. All three are in the present-day city of Kameyama. Hiroshige also created this woodblock print of Seki-juku in the 1830s. It depicts daimyo staff preparing to leave the Honjin lodge before dawn (notice the still dark sky). Unknown which Honjin it is. (Seki had two Honjin.)
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Seki-juku stretches for about 1.8 km. The whole town is small enough to walk through. A few buildings are open to the public as museums. Seki-juku is an Important Traditional Townscape Preservation District. Short walk from JR Seki Station on the JR Kansai Main Line.
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Seki-juku is highly recommended for Tokaido stage town and architecture fans. Seki-juku manhole with a traveler design, Kameyama, Mie Prefecture.
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JR Seki Station building has a traditional design. It also houses a tourist information office and exhibition space. From Nagoya, it's about
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Way to Seki-juku.
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From Seki Station, a short walk on this road to Seki-juku.
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Old Tokaido Road in Seki-juku. Picturesque.
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Lots of wooden lattice on the exterior, used to block rain and wind.
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Seki Machinami Shiryokan (Seki Townscape Museum) is a local history/culture museum. 関まちなみ資料館
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Entrance to Seki Machinami Shiryokan (Seki Townscape Museum). It looks narrow, but the building is quite long. 関まちなみ資料館
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Adult admission ¥300, open 9 am to 4:30 pm.
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The museum has this colorful Seki-juku manhole, Kameyama, Mie Prefecture. They even give you a manhole card.
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Entering the Seki Townscape Museum.
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Welcome to Seki Townscape Museum. It explains about the town and why so many buildings have been preserved.
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Money box, probably a safe.
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Stairway also serve as storage space.
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Stairway to 2nd floor.
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Room on 2nd floor.
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About the Ito Honjin lodge.
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About the Kawa-kita Honjin lodge.
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Small exhibition room on 2nd floor (or maybe attic).
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Old coins and dishes/pottery.
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Charcoal heater.
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Tokonoma alcove.
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Corridor
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Another small exhibition room.
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Scale model of Seki-juku.
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Scale model of Seki-juku.
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Old map of Seki-juku.
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Traditional buildings that still remain in Seki-juku.
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How Seki-juku started out. The town was named "Seki" in the early 18th century.
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Exhibition room of photos of Seki-juku's skyline.
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Grandfather's clock.
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Kitchen stove.
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Indoor well.
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Old bicycle from the late 19th century (Meiji Period). Still a rare luxury item in those days. Bicycles became widely used in Japan from the 1930s. This bicycle was donated by a local resident in Seki.
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Kura storehouse
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Kitchen stove.
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Festival float storehouse or dashi-gura. One of four remaining today. Originally there were 16 floats. There's a window where you can see part of the Nakamachi Sanbancho float inside.
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About the Nakamachi Sanbancho float festival float. The Seki Hikiyama Festival is held on a weekend in late July.
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About Seki's float festival in English. This was posted on a nearby house.
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About Seki's festival floats.
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Seki-juku's traditional townscape continues.
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Tanaka-ya coffee shop.
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Road marker
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Tsuruya inn. 鶴屋脇本陣跡
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You see a lot of wooden lattice on the exterior. Supposed to ward off wind and rain.
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Hyaku-rokuri-tei has a building with a view of Seki-juku. 百六里庭
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Hyaku-rokuri-tei
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View from Chokantei. 眺関亭からの眺望
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View from Chokantei. 眺関亭からの眺望
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View from Chokantei, looking toward Jizo-in Temple. 眺関亭からの眺望
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Ito Honjin lodge. Now an electronics shop. 伊藤本陣跡
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Ito Honjin lodge was Seki-juku's high-class lodge for VIP travelers like daimyo lords. 伊藤本陣跡
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Ishigaki-ya inn. It's actually an inn where you can stay. ¥2,500/night.
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Ishigaki-ya
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Old koto and skis in Ishigaki-ya.
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Tamaya inn is another major museum in Seki-juku. 旅籠玉屋歴史資料館
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Tamaya inn is another major museum in Seki-juku. 旅籠玉屋歴史資料館
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Tamaya inn
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Tamaya inn adult admission ¥300. Must see. 旅籠玉屋歴史資料館
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About the three types of inns in stage towns.
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Seki-juku had 42 inns including two Honjin and two Waki-Honjin.
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Tamaya entrance hall.
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Tamaya inn's front desk.
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Tamaya inn's front desk.
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Tamaya inn's front desk clerk.
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Abasuc.
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Tamaya kitchen stove.
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Tamaya kitchen stove.
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Tamaya kitchen stove.
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Tamaya kitchen
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Sake flasks and delivery box.
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Kitchen roof was high to dilute the smoke.
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Tamaya has many rooms with exhibits.
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Tamaya courtyard.
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Tamaya tokonoma alcove.
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Tamaya inn Guest room
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Dining room on the 2nd floor of Tamaya inn.
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Dining room on the 2nd floor of Tamaya inn.
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Guest room on the 2nd floor of Tamaya, a high-class inn.
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Guest room on the 2nd floor of Tamaya inn.
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Pillow
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This might be the maid's room.
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Tamaya inn also has this storehouse for more exhibits centering on Hiroshige's woodblock prints of the Tokaido Road.
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Inside the kura storehouse, exhibits of woodblock prints of the Tokaido Road.
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Mie and Shiga sections of the Tokaido Road.
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Top floor of the kura storehouse.
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Ceiling of the kura storehouse.
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Tableware used by Tamaya when it was an inn.
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Tamaya inn rear view.
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Seki-juku post office (modern).
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Seki-juku bulletin board (replica). 高札場
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About the Seki-juku bulletin board used by officials to give official notices to people in Seki-juku. 高札場
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Beauty salon in a traditional building in Seki-juku.
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Antique shop sign.
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Old shop sign adds to the townscape's charm.
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Fukuzoji Temple gate. 福蔵寺
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Fukuzoji Temple has Koman's grave. 小万の墓 福蔵寺
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Fukuzoji Temple 福蔵寺
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Jizo-in Temple anchors one end of Seki-juku. It belongs to the Shingon Buddhist Sect, Omuro School. 地蔵院
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Jizo-in Temple, Main Hall is an Important Cultural Property. 地蔵院
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Jizo-in Temple, Main Hall is an Important Cultural Property. 地蔵院
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Jizo-in Temple, Main Hall
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Inside Jizo-in Temple, Main Hall.
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Jizo-in Temple's bell tower is also an Important Cultural Property.
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Jizo-in Temple's Jizo statue.
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Jizo-in Temple's Jizo statue.
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Inns in front of Jizo-in Temple.
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Aizu-ya inn in front of Jizo-in Temple. 会津屋
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Hyakugo Bank, Seki Branch is a modern building designed in the traditional style. 百五銀行 関支店
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Hyakugo Bank, Seki Branch 百五銀行 関支店
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Oi house
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About Oi house
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Kaiunro, former geisha house in Seki-juku. 開雲楼
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On left, Kaiunro 開雲楼, former geisha house in Seki-juku. On the right is another former geisha house, Shokakuro 松鶴楼.
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Gochisoba plaza used for greeting VIPs arriving Seki-juku. 御馳走場
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Tokaido Road marker.
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More latticed walls in Seki-juku.
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JR Seki Station on the Kansai Line. JR関西本線 関駅
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Ninja at JR Tsuge Station.
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JR Tsuge Station connects to the JR Kusatsu Line.
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