JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

*Be sure to wear a mask when traveling.


Last additions - Ogaki 大垣市
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Jun 21, 2009
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View of Sunomata and the main bridge to the castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Entrance to Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Sunomata Ichiya Castle was reconstructed in April 1991.Jun 21, 2009
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The fourth floor is a gallery. Pictures by local kids.Jun 21, 2009
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Graves of those who died building Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Sunomata Castle marker.Jun 21, 2009
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Shirahige Shrine is next to Sunomata Castle. Jun 21, 2009
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Sunomata Castle has five floors. The first floor has this room introducing the nature and history of Sunomata.Jun 21, 2009
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The 5th floor is the lookout deck. No veranda, but the windows are open for easy viewing and picture-taking.Jun 21, 2009
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Matchlock gunsJun 21, 2009
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Sunomata Ichiya Castle is open 9 am to 5 pm, closed Mon. (open if a national holiday and closed on Tue. instead). Admission 200 yen for adult, free for children below age 18.Jun 21, 2009
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Model of Sunomata which was a post town on the Mino Road between Atsuta in Nagoya and Tarui in Gifu.Jun 21, 2009
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On a clear day, Mt. Ibuki can be seen.Jun 21, 2009
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The 3rd floor shows how Toyotomi Hideyoshi rose to power and prominence.Jun 21, 2009
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Side view of Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Small sculptures on the castle foundation.Jun 21, 2009
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Main bridge to Sunomata Castle. Gourds are prominent here.Jun 21, 2009
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"Hideyoshi" in kanji spelled out with small gourds.Jun 21, 2009
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Next to Shirahige Shrine is Hokoku Shrine dedicated to Hideyoshi.Jun 21, 2009
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Sunomata Castle and gourd sculpture. The gourd (hyotan) was Toyotomi Hideyoshi's trademark as well as a symbol of this area.Jun 21, 2009
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Rest area.Jun 21, 2009
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Bridge to Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Stone foundatio.Jun 21, 2009
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Video screening area.Jun 21, 2009
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When I visited the castle in 1995, the room still had the chairs and table the Crown Prince and Princess used. They have since been removed from the room. This photo was taken in 1995.Jun 21, 2009
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Print showing the construction of Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Golden pair of shachi atop Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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The castle is small, but nice. The stairway here.Jun 21, 2009
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Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Rear view of Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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SwordsJun 21, 2009
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Gifu Castle atop Kinkazan as seen from Sunomata Castle. Then called Inabayama Castle, Gifu Castle was one objective for Sunomata Castle and Hideyoshi.Jun 21, 2009
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View of Shirahige ShrineJun 21, 2009
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View of Nagara River.Jun 21, 2009
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Sunomata CastleJun 21, 2009
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About Hokoku Shrine.Jun 21, 2009
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Nagara River and Gifu Castle on Mt. Kinka on the upper left.Jun 21, 2009
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RoofJun 21, 2009
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Statue of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in front of Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Hokoku Shrine is called the home of the "God of Success" in reference to Hideyoshi's spectacular rise to power from humble beginnings.Jun 21, 2009
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View of Sunomata-juku post town.Jun 21, 2009
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Jun 21, 2009
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Marker commemorating the Crown Prince and Princess' visit in April 1995.Jun 21, 2009
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The second floor shows how the castle was built.Jun 21, 2009
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This room was also where Crown Prince Hiro and Crown Princess Masako rested during a visit to the castle in April 1995.Jun 21, 2009
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Sunomata Castle was originally built in 1561 by Toyotomi Hideyoshi supposedly overnight as part of Oda Nobunaga's strategy to conquer Mino (Gifu) Province.Jun 21, 2009
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Statue of Toyotomi Hideyoshi in front of Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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Next to the castle is also this rack of gourds.Jun 21, 2009
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Near the castle entrance is this stone gourd pouring water.Jun 21, 2009
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Toyotomi HideyoshiJun 21, 2009
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Another bridge to Sunomata Castle. More picturesque, but almost useless as it goes to a road with heavy traffic.Jun 21, 2009
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Way to Sunomata Castle. This path goes along the Nagara River.Jun 21, 2009
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Gate to Sunomatawhich was also a post town along the Mino Road. Sunomata is accessible by Gifu Bus (W65 on Obusa Sunomata Route) from JR Gifu Station and Ogaki Station. Get off at Sunomata bus stop. Jun 21, 2009
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Road to Sunomata Ichiya Castle. "Ichiya" means "one night," referring to how long it took to build the castle according to legend. Phone: 0584-62-3322, Address: 岐阜県大垣市墨俣町墨俣1742-1Jun 21, 2009
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Another gate along the path to Sunomata Castle.Jun 21, 2009
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The first of eleven floats is called Kagura-yama. 神楽 (本町・中町・新町)Jun 14, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video of karakuri puppets here and of children's dances here.Jun 14, 2009
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Atago-yama float. 愛宕 (岐阜町)Jun 14, 2009
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Top of Shochiku-yama is a statue of Benzaiten.Jun 14, 2009
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Tamanoi-yama finaleJun 14, 2009
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Parade route on May 10 indicated by the red line. Quite an extensive route.Jun 14, 2009
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Ogaki Matsuri posterJun 14, 2009
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Sugawara-yama float. 菅原(新町)Jun 14, 2009
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Ogaki City Hall.Jun 14, 2009
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Passing by a large temple.Jun 14, 2009
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In the late afternoo, the floats were parked near Hachiman Shrine and lanterns were installed on the floats.Jun 14, 2009
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Tamanoi-yamaJun 14, 2009
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Shojo-yama float. 猩々(宮町)Jun 14, 2009
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Yanagen Dept. StoreJun 14, 2009
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After the procession, all the float again visited Hachiman Shrine. Later in the evening, they lit up the floats like the night before.Jun 14, 2009
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Hachiman Shrine 八幡神社Jun 14, 2009
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SneakersJun 14, 2009
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The Eki-dori road in front of Ogaki Station was closed to traffic.Jun 14, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video of karakuri puppets here.Jun 14, 2009
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After the end of the karakuri performance, they tossed out small bags of beans like setsubun.Jun 14, 2009
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Sakaki-yama at night in front of Hachiman Shrine.Jun 14, 2009
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A crowd gathered in front of Hachiman Shrine in the evening to watch the night performances of the passing floats.Jun 14, 2009
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Shochiku-yamaJun 14, 2009
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Daikoku-yama float 大黒 (魚屋町・竹島町・俵町)Jun 14, 2009
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Tamanoi-yamaJun 14, 2009
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Tamanoi-yama float. 玉の井 (船町)Jun 14, 2009
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Aioi-yama float. This is the newest float, reconstructed in 1996. 相生 (本町)Jun 14, 2009
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The Eki-dori road in front of Ogaki Station was closed to traffic.Jun 14, 2009
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Renjishi lion dance.Jun 14, 2009
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Ebisu-yama float. 恵比須(船町・伝馬町・岐阜町・宮町)Jun 14, 2009
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Namazu-yama float. 鯰 (魚屋町)Jun 14, 2009
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Lining up to Ogaki City Hall.Jun 14, 2009
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It got darker. Jun 14, 2009
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At 7 pm, the paper lanterns on the floats were lit up.Jun 14, 2009
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While Ogaki City Hall officials sat comfortably under the shade like nobility, the floats came by one after another to perform katakuri doll stunts. The rest of us sweated under the sun.Jun 14, 2009
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On the left is the small bag of beans tossed by the Atago-yama float.Jun 14, 2009
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The Eki-dori road was lined with food stalls.Jun 14, 2009
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Eki-dori at nightJun 14, 2009
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In front of Hachiman Shrine, each float rotated and performed karakuri.Jun 14, 2009
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The floats gather on Eki-dori road.Jun 14, 2009
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Natural spring in Hachiman Shrine.Jun 14, 2009
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Atago ShrineJun 14, 2009
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To turn the float, they tilt it first.Jun 14, 2009
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Shochiku-yama also features dances by children in kimono.Jun 14, 2009
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Sakaki-yama float. 榊 (竹島町)Jun 14, 2009
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Aioi-yama crossing the road.Jun 14, 2009
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Hachiman ShrineJun 14, 2009
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Namazu means catfish.Jun 14, 2009
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The tapestry features the Omi-Hakkei scenes.Jun 14, 2009
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Hanging on during the tilt...Jun 14, 2009
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The Atago-yama float at Atago Shrine.Jun 14, 2009
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Hachiman ShrineJun 14, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video of karakuri puppets here and of children's dances here.Jun 14, 2009
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The karakuri doll is actually writing "Ogaki Matsuri" on a piece of paper.Jun 14, 2009
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Atago Shrine officials greet the floats as they pass by during the procession.Jun 14, 2009
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The Tamanoi-yama was a crowd pleaser with so many child dancers.Jun 14, 2009
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The pigeons' head actually move as well.Jun 14, 2009
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On the first day of May 9 called Shigaku (試楽), the eleven floats first performed in front of Hachiman Shrine, then proceeded to Ogaki City Hall where also performed karakuri.Jun 14, 2009
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Also see my YouTube video of children's dances here.Jun 14, 2009
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This float features dancing by children in kimono. The back has a painting of a pine tree.Jun 14, 2009
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The floats make a turn from Eki-dori road to proceed to the shrine.Jun 14, 2009
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The float procession on May 10. Headed by the Kagura-yama float. 巡行Jun 14, 2009
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The Aioi-yama almost hit a street lamp. It had to back up and adjust its path.Jun 14, 2009
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On May 10 from 8:30 am to 10 am, all the floats again visit Hachiman Shrine before starting the procession through the city at 10 am.Jun 14, 2009
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Tamanoi-yama is based on Omi-Hakkei (Eight Views of Omi) in Shiga Prefecture).Jun 14, 2009
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Shochiku-yama float. 松竹 (伝馬町)Jun 14, 2009
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Ogaki's biggest festival held on the weekend on or before May 15 has 13 ornate floats called "yama." They are paraded along the streets in central Ogaki. The road leading to Hachiman Shrine is lined with food stalls.There are different types of floats. Mostly karakuri doll floats, but also two floats with a stage for traditional Japanese dances by young kids. The floats were inspired by karakuri floats in Aichi Prefecture and kabuki floats in Nagahama, Shiga Prefecture.Jun 14, 2009
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Flower tower and Hachiman Shrine torii.Jun 14, 2009
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Entrance to Ogaki Hachiman Shrine. Highlights include karakuri mechanical doll performances atop the floats and the floats lit up at night with paper lanterns. Held by Hachiman Jinja Shrine.On Dec. 1, 2016 (JST), Ogaki Matsuri Festival was inscribed as a UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as one of 33 "Yama, Hoko, and Yatai float festivals in Japan."Jun 14, 2009
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Hachiman ShrineJun 14, 2009
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Natural spring in OgakiApr 27, 2009
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Emperor Meiji also once stayed here.Apr 27, 2009
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Site of Ogaki-juku's HonjinApr 27, 2009
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Site of Ogaki-juku's Waki-HonjinApr 27, 2009
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Ogaki manhole, Gifu Pref.Apr 27, 2009
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About Ogaki's HonjinApr 27, 2009
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Historical marker for Oku no Hosomichi.Apr 27, 2009
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