Panos from Japan


An amassment of friends in Japan gave the ideal pretext to finally get to see that fascinating country with its (very) own way of living. Friendly folks, yummy food, culture & history as well as a good travel infrastructure make Japan an ideal travel destination, the odd communication issue guaranteed...

Matsumoto Castle

File size 109 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer.

File size 77 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. If you think that the attractive black & white donjon is "the" castle, think again. The very moat on the pano, already impressive enough, was surrounded by an even larger moat (today largely gone), together with the living quarters of the Samurai defending the castle. Chilly temperatures ensured that my visit in the wooden structure - bare foot as required for most Japanese sights - was naturally limited.

Moss garden in Waki-honjin, Tsumago

File size 96 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. The former daimyo residence was the first out of several traditional houses I got to see. If you have seen one, you have seen them all - or you have to start paying attention to very subtle differences such as the framing of the tatami mats...


File size 115 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. I already had considered going to Tsumago, but got fully convinced once I had seen a tourism advertisment at Narita airport which featured Tsumago (showing the spot to the far left of the pano). It was exactly what I had looked for: Japan as it might have been. Tsumago - conciously - manages the many tourists it is living from very well.

Hanami, Nagoya Castle

File size 157 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. A typical modern hanami (blossom viewing) scene, where junior employees cater for the rest of the company, sitting on the ubiquitous blue plastic. Nagoya castle in the background is, like many other castles in major cities which had been destroyed in WW II, a reconstruction.

Foreigners' Cemetery, Yokohama

File size 134 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. A tranquil spot which features a nice view over Yokohama, including the Yokohama Landmark Tower, Japan's highest building. Unfortunately the cemetery itself was closed, but the former cemetery office hosted an interesting exhibition on who is buried in Japan's first and major foreign concession.

Roppongi Hills, Tokyo

File size 155 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. Roppong Hills is an urbanistic achievement I grew fond of. It simply looks good from wherever you look at it. Not too small, not too big, framed by the small two appartment towers which put it into perspective.

Tosho-gu, Nikko

File size 131 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. Tosho-gu shrine is the closest Japan comes to "Personenkult". It was largely redone in the 17th century to fit as the last resting place of Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the name-sake shogunate ruling up to the Meji era.

Imperial Villa, Nikko

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File size 119 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. The villa of the Emperor dates back to the late 19th century but was really only used in the Taisho era and during WW II. It is a very large wooden structure, the pano is deceiving. It is a prime example of the subtleness of luxury in Japan. At any rate, we appreciated the strategically placed heated carpets.

Tsukiji Fish Market, Tokyo

File size 114 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. A friend at work highly recommended the Tsukiji Fish Market to have early morning Sashimi (a favorite Japanese staple of mine where I completely forget about my Greenpeace membership), which I eventually did. However, fish seems to become a minority commodity at this market and there were definitely more 08/15 Sushi places in the neighborhood than the kind of "genuine" backalley place I ate at.

Nicola & Jens' Flat, Tokyo

File size 110 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. Our base for exploring Japan, "zu Gast bei Freunden".

Engaku-ji, Kamakura

File size 168 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. A nice little garden at the very end of the path traversingthe Zen temple precinct.

View from Inuyama Castle

File size 79 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. Inuyama Castle, with its moderate size atop a forested hill, comes a lot closer to Swiss notions of a castle. The setting with Kiso-gawa in the background, the 'Japan Rhine', may have its fair share in this perception.

Takayama Jinya

File size 102 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. The only remaining prefectural office of the Tokugawa shogunate with its substantial "Fort Knox", i.e. rice warehouses dating from the 17th century. The pano shows a courtyard with its macro-bonsai tree.

Sanmachi District, Takayama

File size 101 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. One out of three pretty old streets in the otherwise rather modern town of Takayama, yet simply relaxing due to its small size.

Kenroku-en, Kanazawa

File size 136 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. One of Japan's three "top" gardens, Kenroku-en was indeed an enchanting sight. The pano shows a somewhat less typical stretch of the otherwise more "manicured" garden with heavier reliance on e.g. cherry trees and borrowed views.

JR Station, Kanazawa

File size 124 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. Kanazawa's JR Station rightly heralds a modern and attractive Japanese city, with its pockets of history.

A-Bomb Dome, Hiroshima

File size 92 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. The meticulously maintained whitness to the world's first atomic bomb explosion, the so-called A-Bomb Dome. The Peace Memorial Museum nearby remained again on how many had survived the inital blast, only to die a few days or week later due to their most severe burns, radiation or contamination with "black rain".

Itsukushima Jinja, Miyajima

File size 72 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. The famous floating torii of Miyajima at low tide. A pano has the obvious advantage not to emphasize some rather ugly recent developments which mar every tele shot of the torii.

Path to ropeway, Miyajima

File size 70 kB. Only JPEG. Not a particular sight as such, but the small creek with its almost too neat pebble foundation, the red bridge and the "typical" Japanes vegetation caught my attention.

Tenryu-ji Garden, Kyoto

File size 96 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. Our day at Kyoto mainly focussed on Zen gardens, so Tenryu-ji was an obvious choice to start with.

Ryoan-ji, Kyoto

File size 118 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. The quintessential raked Zen garden of Ryoan-ji. Interesting to know that all the nice temple gardens we had seen always where the abbot's garden...

Todai-ji Daibutsu-den, Nara

File size 179 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. Apparently the largest wooden structure in the world, everything is big about Todai-ji, including the large bronze Buddha it harbors. We hope that our donated roofing tile fulfills its purpose grandly.

Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto

File size 96 kB. Choose JPEG or Java Viewer. Technically speaking not a temple but a viewing platform. A certain creativity was necessary to lure Edda to temples and shrines since "another" temple or a shrine just wouldn't do it.

View from Park Hyatt, Tokyo

File size 49 kB. Only JPEG. The "Jersey" side of Tokyo, i.e. the less attractive western side, taken from our gorgeous room at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo. As movie buffs we afforded one night at the place which we (thought to) intimately know from "Lost in translation". Expensive,but worth the money.


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