JAPAN PHOTOS by Philbert Ono

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Built in 1888, the former Hokkaido Government Office Building is one of Hokkaido's most famous buildings at the heart of Sapporo. With its red brick walls, it stands out among Sapporo's more modern buildings.
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The building was akin to Hokkaido's capitol where the governor's office was located. It was used for 80 years. Open 9 am - 5 pm, closed Dec. 29-Jan. 3. Free admission. Near Sapporo Station's south exit and visible from Ekimae-dori road.
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Nicknamed "Akarenga Chosha" (Red Brick Government Building), a fire in 1909 gutted the interior, but the exterior was little damaged. The building was restored in 1911. 赤れんが庁舎
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Most of the building materials, stones and wood, were procured from Hokkaido. The building is flanked by yaezakura cherry trees which bloom in early May.
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Tulips also give a colorful touch to the grounds. In 1968, the building was restored to its original state, and it has been preserved since then. It has an American Neo-baroque style.
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In March 1969, it was designated as an Important Cultural Property. Its 2.5 million bricks were made locally and laid in a French style.
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The roof has chimney-like ventilation outlets.
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Former Hokkaido Government Office Building and tulips, Sapporo
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Former Hokkaido Government Office Building and yaezakura cherry blossoms, Sapporo
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Adjacent pond and cherry blossoms
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G8 Summit countdown sign
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The interior of the Former Hokkaido Government Office Building is just as dignified as the exterior. This triple-arch staircase is what you first see when you enter the building.
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Rear of the triple-arch staircase.
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Going to the 2nd floor.
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Most of the rooms open to the public are on the 2nd floor.
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Staircase and G8 Summit sign
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Second floor corridor.
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On the right is the entrance to the former Governor's office
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The second floor has several large rooms. This is the Hokkaido Archives where Hokkaido's historical documents and records are kept.
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Cannon balls
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Inside the former office of the Governor. There's a large conference table and the walls are decorated with portraits of past Hokkaido governors.
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Portraits of past Hokkaido governors. The bottom row are the most recent governors.
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A stately room. The governor's desk is in the right corner.
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Governor's desk in the governor's former office.
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Another room on the 2nd floor shows Hokkaido's international relations with sister states in Alberta, Canada; Massachusetts, USA; and Heilongjiang, China.
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From Alberta, Canada
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From Massachusetts, USA. The famous Dr. William Clark was from this US state.
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Photos of international sister state exchanges.
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Red bricks
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Karafuto/Sakhalin Resource Library
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Hokkaido History Gallery occupies another room on the 2nd floor.
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Hokkaido History Gallery includes wildlife exhibit.
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There's also the Northern Territories Room with exhibits clamoring for the return of the northern territories (Shikotan, Habomai, Etorofu). now occupied by Russia.
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Petition for the return of the Northern Territories. As of late April 2008, over 80.3 million people signed the petition.
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Poster for the return of the Northern Territories
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Poster for the return of the Northern Territories. Her braided hair resembles the northern islands.
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First floor corridor. Most of the rooms on the 1st floor are closed to the public.
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Point Zero for Hokkaido's travel distances.
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Along the road to the former government building are display panels about Hokkaido's hisotry. Here's one about the early foreigners in Hokkaido.
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Opened in 2012, Maizuru Brick Park is a complex of 12 large brick buildings near the Japanese navy base. They were built from 1901 until the 1920s to store munitions (arsenal) for the Imperial Japanese Navy. Eight of the buildings are National Important Cultural Properties and a few of them have been renovated and opened to the public. This is the first building you enter, the Maizuru World Brick Museum (赤れんが博物館).

Hours 9:00 am–5:00 pm, closed Dec. 29–Jan. 1. 15-min. walk from JR Higashi-Maizuru Station (JR Maizuru Line and Obama Line). Parking available.
Map: https://goo.gl/maps/ZuFd1eXrNds
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Inside the huge Maizuru World Brick Museum.
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Very high brick wall.
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Inside the huge Maizuru World Brick Museum. It was used to store torpedoes made by munitions factories in Maizuru. Restaurant on the groundfloor, museum on the upper level.
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Ceiling of the huge Maizuru World Brick Museum.
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The museum is on the upper level.
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Maizuru World Brick Museum on the upper floor. Exhibits local historical artifacts. There's no English though.
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Ancient dugout canoe found in Maizuru.
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These brick buildings are not open to the public.Maizuru Brick Park, Kyoto Prefecture.
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During World War II, the brick buildings were painted black to make them less noticeable. The black paint still remains here and there. Amazing that these buildings have survived. Maizuru's weapons factories and navy base got heavily bombed by American planes in July 1945, but not this arsenal.
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Inside Brick Building No. 5 (赤れんが5号棟), the park's largest building. Built in 1918 to store torpedoes, depth charges, and mines. After the war, it was used by a warehouse company.Now used as an event hall and cafe space (cafe open only on weekends). It can be rented to hold exhibitions or events (concerts, weddings, etc.). It has been reinforced with these steel girders for earthquake resistance. National Important Cultural Property.
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Brick Building No. 5 had rails.
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This part of the park had buildings owned by the Japanese government. Not open to the public.
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The brick park has been used as a backdrop in Japanese movies.
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Maizuru Brick Park is right next to the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Maizuru navy base.
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Old anchor for the Shirane destroyer that was retired in 2015.https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/JDS_Shirane
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Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's Maizuru navy base (舞鶴基地) where the Hyuga helicopter carrier, Aegis ship, and other navy ships are based.This base is in charge of maritime security along the Sea of Japan's coast from Yamaguchi to Aomori Prefectures.
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This is the Atago, a guided missile destroyer.
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