Business Trip to Japan in January 2010
Kansai Region - West Japan
At work in Mikage, Japan
To relocate a complete chocolate production line at Morozoff Ltd. in Kobe, my workmate and myself had the big pleasure to start the new year with an extra challenge in exciting Japan! Being on my fathers trail again, when he landed as a sailor in Kobe back in the early 70'ties, means a lot to me!
At work in Seishin, Japan
Right after the deassembling phase of our confectionary machinery, my collegue and I moved on to the new factory of Morozoff, located close to the famous mountain chain "Mt. Rokko" up in Seishin, approximately 40 minutes car drive through hills and tunnels from downtown Kobe.
1. Weekend - 16./17.01.10
Harley Davidson of Kobe, Japan
Since we were working so close to the Harley Davidson dealership in Mikage we took the opportunity to see one evening some good ol' Milwaukee iron!! As from all the other exotic places I've been before, once again I had to get a Harley Davidson T-shirt as the perfect souvenir from all my trips!
Motomachi & Meriken Park Kobe, Japan
Our first weekend in Kansai region took us to Motomachi and the beautiful Meriken Park right at the Port of Kobe with it's worldfamous red coloured steel Port Tower from the early sixties! As an unexpected highlight we had the chance to see Princess Kiko waving to the crowd after a ceremonial act!
Chinatown Kobe, Japan
After exploring Kobe's most famous shopping street Motomachi, we entered the colourful backstreets of Chinatown which invited us for a quick bite of one of the countless foodstalls with it's steamin' delicacies. A place between two big asian cultures which is worth to see if you are in the city!
2. Weekend - 23./24.01.10
Ikuta Shrine Kobe, Japan
For our second weekend we went to explore the Sannomiya Area and started our tour at the Ikuta Shrine, which is possibly among the oldest shrines in the country with a history of Kobe's protective god, also known as a god of victory and lucky in games, where the professional sport teams pray for victory.
Sannomiya Kobe, Japan
Before the 1920's, Sannomiya was just an edge of the city. Major downtowns were Motomachi and Shinkaichi. Today it is the biggest downtown area and hub of many public transportation systems in Kobe. It is one of the best starting point to plan your day and night activities in and around Kobe City!
Port of Kobe, Japan
Kobe is one of the most beautiful ports in the world, with the lush green backdrop of the Rokko Mountains and its deep water and mild climate throughout the year. The port of Kobe is an attractive destination as a gateway to the World Heritage Sites such as Kyoto, Nara and Himeji Castle.
Kawasaki Good Times World
The Kawasaki Heavy Industries Group began their business in Kobe. The exhibition at the Kobe Maritime Museum displays high tech and interactive models, showcase the Kawasaki company's products from Industrial Robots, Jet Skis, Turbines, Aircrafts, Motorcycles to the worldfamous Shinkansen bullet train.
3. Weekend - 30./31.01.10
Himeji Castle, Japan
Himeji Castle was originally built in 1346. It is registered as a National Cultural Treasure by Unesco World Heritage Site. In "Shogun", a 1980 TV miniseries, Himeji appears as Osaka Castle. In the film , the Himeji Castle appears as Tiger Tanaka's secret training school.
Harley Davidson of Himeji, Japan
Visiting such a famous filmset and historical place as Himeji, I just had to check if there is a Harley Davidson dealership in town :-) Quite far outside the center of Himeji City... there it was! Although they had no dealershirts, I got one of the rare ride out festival shirts to Nagasaki in 1997!
Shinkansen Bullet Trains
The Tokaido Shinkansen, connecting Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka, was inaugurated in 1964 as the first Shinkansen line and the world's first high speed train service. At that time the trains already ran at about 200 km/h. Nowadays they reach speeds around 285 up to 300 km/h.
Hiroshima is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture the largest island of Japan. It became the first city in history destroyed by nuclear weapons when the United States of America dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15am on August 6, 1945, near the end of World War II.
Osaka functions as one of the command centers for the Japanese economy. Its nighttime population is 2.6 million, the third in the country, but in daytime the population surges to 3.7 million, second only after Tokyo. Osaka has traditionally been referred to as the "Nation's kitchen"!
4. Weekend - 06./07.02.10
Kofukuji Temple Nara, Japan
For our fourth weekend we went to the ancient city of Nara, one of the former capital cities of Japan. We started our walktour at the Kofukuji Temple, with it's famous five story pagoda built in 725 by the Empress Komyoh and last rebuilt in 1426. It's the 2nd highest pagoda in Japan with a height of 50 meters.
Todaiji Temple Nara, Japan
According to legend, nearly 2'600'000 people helped construct the 15 meter tall Buddha of the Todaiji Temple. When it was completed in 751, it had consumed most of Japan's bronze production for several years and left the country almost bankrupt. It's one of Japan's most famous temples and landmark of Nara.
Kasuga Shrine Nara, Japan
The Kasuga Grand Shrine is a Shinto shrine established in 768 and rebuilt several times over the centuries. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine. They were donated over the years by common people as tokens of faith and thankfulness.
Sacred Deers of Nara, Japan
Once upon a time, as the story goes, the deers were the sacred messengers of gods of the Kasuga shrine which is located here in Nara. The descendents of these deer live in the Nara Park and occasionally wander around the city streets. Because they are sacred, they are protected by law.
5. Weekend - 13./14.02.10
Pearl Bridge Maiko, Japan
The Akashi-Kaikyō Bridge, also known as the Pearl Bridge, has the longest central span of any suspension bridge, at 1,991 metres. It is located in Maiko, and links the city of Kobe on the mainland of Honshū to Iwaya on Awaji Island by crossing the busy Akashi Strait. It carries part of the Honshū-Shikoku Highway.
Jinja Shrine Nagata, Japan
The Nagata Shrine had 1800 years of history in 2001. It is famous for the ancient style called Tsuina Shiki Shinji, continuing from Muromachi Era. The big camphor tree at the Kusumiya Inari-sha Shrine is renowned for its divine favor for disease and hemorrhoid healing. What a peaceful place!
Harley Davidson of Nishikobe, Japan
While getting around in Nagata / Hyogo area, there was totally unexpected another Harley Davidson dealership called "The Riders Cross", located in Nishikobe right at the Kawasaki Headquaters. Now this store was specialized for used Harleys only. Surprisingly the bikes all looked like brandnew!!
Nofuku Temple Hyogo, Japan
The Hyogo Daibutsu is the giant Buddha figure that sits in the Nofukuji Temple complex near the JR-Hyogo train station. During the Second World War, it was removed and melted down to be used to manufacture weapons but was restored and replaced in 1991.
Harborland Hyogo, Japan
The Harborland Hyogo or also called "The Mosaic" is Kobe's seaside commercial and entertainment park right at the port of Kobe. It is the place where you can amuse yourself with lots of restaurants, shops, cinema, cafes and hugh shopping malls nearby. It's just a few footsteps of Kobe's famous Port Tower.
While getting around in the "Land of the Rising Sun", most foreign visitors are quite amazed by the little different things of life over here, which might give to the most of us a daily challenge in this stunning culture. The well balanced mix of old traditional rites and the latest technologies gives the right twist to it!