Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Historic Villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama

It's kind of hard to distinguish the villages of Shirakawa-go and Gokayama in the postcards if they have nothing written. These historical villages are very look alike because of its typical houses. 

Shirakawa-go
This postcard was sent by Hiro

Shirakawa is a mountain village located at the highest peak on Mount Haku in the Ryōhaku Mountains, where it borders Ishikawa prefecture.
Shirakawa is a leading area of heavy snowfall in the world, and due to this climate, gasshō-zukuri (合掌造り) homes were created. Gassho-zukuri settlements are registered as cultural heritage sites. With the shape of the Hakusan National Park mountain ranges as a background, these sites are major tourist attractions. - in: wikipedia


Shirakawa-go
This postcard was sent by Jennifer

Due to the income from the tourists who came to see the gassho-zukuri villages, the financial condition was greatly improved. Although the area was famous as a tourist site, once it became a UNESCO site, the area greatly grew as tourists visited. Although this success from tourism helped the income of the area, on the other hand, there was an outbreak of damage to the area from tourists entering people's homes to see how they lived, taking pictures and other such manners. in: wikipedia

Gokayama
This postcard was sent by Kazumi

Gokayama is an area within the city of Nanto in Toyama Prefecture, Japan. It has been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List due to its traditional gasshō-zukuri houses, alongside nearby Shirakawa-gō in Gifu Prefecture. The survival of this traditional architectural style is attributed to the region's secluded location in the upper reaches of the Shōgawa river. This is also the reason that Gokayama's lifestyle and culture remained very traditional for many years after the majority of the country had modernized. Many of the houses easily surpass 300 years in age. - in: wikipedia


Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range

This site includes several temples, shrines, pilgrimage routes and some nature scenery such as rivers, forests and waterfalls

Mikumari Shrine
This postcard was sent by Ai

Yoshino Mikumari Shrine is a Shinto shrine located on Mount Yoshino in Yoshino districtNaraJapan.
The Shrine is dedicated to mikumari, a female Shinto kami associated with water, fertility and safe birth. Yoshino Mikumari Shrine is one of four important mikumari shrines in the former province Yamato. 
The presents day buildings go back to 1605, when Toyotomi Hideyori rebuilt the shrine, as his father Toyotomi Hideyoshi once had prayed here for a son and successor. - in: wikipedia

Seiganto-ji and Nachi Falls
This postcard was sent by Phoebe

Seiganto-ji, Temple of the Blue Waves, is a Tendai Buddhist temple in Wakayama PrefectureJapan.
According to a legend, it was founded by the priest Ragyō Shōnin, a monk from India. The temple was purposely built near Nachi Falls, where it may have previously been a site of nature worship.

Nachi Falls in NachikatsuuraWakayama PrefectureJapan, is one of the best-known waterfalls in Japan. With a drop of 133 meters (and 13 meters wide), it is the country's tallest water fall with single uninterrupted drop; however, the tallest waterfalls with multiple drops in Japan are Hannoki Falls, at 497 m (seasonal), and Shomyo Falls, at 350m (year round). - in: wikipedia

Okunoin
This postcard was sent by Claus

Kōyasan chōishi-michi is a twenty-four kilometre path with a stone marker (ishi) every 109 metres (chō) leading to KōyasanWakayama PrefectureJapan. Created by Kūkai and within the Kōyasan Chōishi-michi Tamagawa Prefectural Park, it forms part of the UNESCO World Heritage SiteSacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range.
The path leads from Jison-in at the foot of Mount Kōya to Danjō Garan, a distance of just under twenty kilometres (one hundred and eighty markers). It is a further four kilometres to Kūkai's mausoleum in the Okunoin (thirty-six markers). - in: wikipedia

Hiraizumi – Temples, Gardens and Archaeological Sites Representing the Buddhist Pure Land

This was my first postcard from Japan and arrived through Postcrossing. I was extremely happy when I received it because it's not the most popular site of Japan. This property is a group of five sites

Chūson-ji
This postcard was sent by Toshio

Chūson-ji is a Buddhist temple in HiraizumiIwate PrefectureJapan. It is the head temple of the Tendai sect in Tōhoku (northeastern Japan). The Tendai sect claims that the temple was founded in 850 by Ennin, the third chief abbot of the sect.
The Konjiki-dō or 'Golden Hall' is a mausoleum containing the mummified remains of the leaders of the Northern Fujiwara clan who ruled much of northern Japan in the 12th century. It is one of two buildings that survive from the original Chūson-ji temple complex, the other being a sutra repository. - in: wikipedia

The five sites (in red what I have):
  • Chūson-ji
  • Mōtsū-ji
  • Kanjizaiō-in Ato
  • Muryōkō-in Ato
  • Mount Kinkeisan

Monday, 20 March 2017

Classical Gardens of Suzhou

This site includes nine gardens that are the most refined form of garden art

Master of the Nets Garden
This postcard was sent by Xiaomomo

The Master of the Nets Garden in Suzhou is among the finest gardens in China.
The Master of the Nets garden, then called Ten Thousand Volume Hall, was first constructed in 1140 by Shi Zhengzhi the Deputy Civil Service Minister of the Southern Song Dynasty government. Shi Zhengzhi was inspired by the simple and solitary life of a Chinese fisherman depicted in philosophical writings. After his death the garden passed through numerous ownership and subsequently fell into disarray until around 1785 when it was restored by Song Zongyuan, a retired government official of the Qing Dynasty. He drastically redesigned the garden and added multiple buildings, but retained the spirit of the site. He often referred to himself as a fisherman and renamed it the Master of the Nets Garden, as an allusion to the simple life of a fisherman. - in: wikipedia


Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty
This postcard was sent by Mathilda

The Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty is a Chinese garden located on 272 Jingde Rd., inside the Embroidery Museum in SuzhouJiangsuChina
The history of the Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty may date back to the Jin dynasty (265–420), when Education Minister Wang Xun (王旬) and his brother Wang Min (王珉) donated their residential house to build Jingde Temple (景德寺).
The 2,180 m2 garden is composed along a linear axis with three main elements: a grotto called Autumn Hill, and Flying Snow Pool, fed by a waterfall called Flying Snow Spring, and a main hall. The rock work in this garden displays every technique and effect used in Chinese gardens. In addition, it is a recreation of the five important mountains of China, and shows a mastery of creating a sense of vast space in a small area. - in: wikipedia

The nine gardens (in red what I have):
  • The Humble Administrator's Garden
  • The Lingering Garden
  • The Master-of-Nets Garden
  • The Mountain Villa with Embracing Beauty
  • The Canglang Pavilion
  • The Lion Forest Garden
  • The Garden of Cultivation
  • The Couple's Retreat
  • The Retreat & Reflection Garden

West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou

The West Lake is a freshwater lake where there are numerous temples, pagodas, gardens and artificial islands.  This lake inspired poets and painters and influenced other gardens in the rest of China, Japan and Korea 

Broken Bridge
This postcard was sent by San-Aiolia

Broken Bridge, located in the eastern end of the Bai Causeway in Hangzhou West Lake, is the most well known bridge among numerous big or small ancient and modern bridges in the West Lake.
It is said that as early as in the Tang Dynasty, this bridge was built. The existing bridge is a arched stone bridge built in 1921 which is 8.8 meters in length and 8.6 meters in width. Though it went through heavy repair, its simple and elegant style is still essentially unchanged. - in: http://www.topchinatravel.com/china-attractions/broken-bridge.htm


Leifeng Pagoda

Leifeng Pagoda is a five-storey tower with eight sides, located on Sunset Hill south of the West Lake in Hangzhou, China. Originally constructed in the year AD 975, it collapsed in 1924 but was rebuilt in 2002. Since then it has been a popular tourist attraction. - in: wikipedia

Kaiping Diaolou and Villages

This UNESCO site, with beautiful towers, comprises four villages. So far I have two postcards but both of the same village

Zili Village
This postcard was sent by Bosen

Diaolous are fortified multi-storey watchtowers, generally made of reinforced concrete. These towers are located mainly in Kaiping County, Guangdong province, China.
The first towers were built during the Ming Dynasty, reaching a peak in the 1920s and 1930s, when there were more than three thousand of these structures.

Zili Village
This postcard was sent by Yunshui

Today, approximately 1,833 diaolou remain standing in Kaiping, and approximately 500 in Taishan. They can also occasionally be found in numerous other areas of Guangdong, such as Shenzhen and Dongguan. Although the diaolou served mainly as protection against forays by bandits, a few of them also served as living quarters.
Kaiping has traditionally been a region of major emigration abroad, and a melting pot of ideas and trends brought back by overseas Chinese. As a result, many diaolou incorporate architectural features from China and from the West. - in: wikipedia

The four villages (in red what I have):


  • Yinglong Lou (at Sanmenli Village)
  • Zili Village and the Fang Clan Watch Tower
  • Majianlong Village Cluster
  • Jingjiangli Village

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape

This is one of the postcards that arrived in worst shape to my mailbox. It even has an apologize message of the Swiss Post Service. Fortunately the sender was very kind and sent me another card that arrived in good condition

Huashan Rock Art
This postcard was sent by Chenzhan

Zuojiang Huashan Rock Art Cultural Landscape are an extensive assembly of historical rock art that were painted on limestone cliff faces in Guangxi, southern China over a period of several hundred years at least. The paintings are located on the west bank of the Ming River which is a tributary of the Zuo River.
The main painted area along the cliff has a width of about 170 metres (560 ft) and a height of about 40 metres (130 ft) and is one of the largest rock paintings in China. 

Huashan Rock Art
This postcard was sent by Chenzhan

The paintings are believed to be between 1800 and 2500 or between 1600 and 2400 years old. The period of their creations hence spans the times from the Warring States period to the late Han Dynasty in the history of China. Many of the paintings are thought to "illustrate the life and rituals" of the ancient Luo Yue people, who are believed to be ancestors of the present-day Zhuang people and inhabited the valley of Zuo River during this period. However, recent carbon dating suggests that the oldest paintings were executed around 16,000 years ago whereas the youngest are around 690 years old. - in: wikipedia