Japanese Geishas and ceremonial lanterns

Photo Gallery: Japan - Essence of Japan

Japan is a land of extremes and has always been. Bloodshed, social upheaval and the struggle of warlords to gain control of the nation made the country inaccessible for the West from 1600 to 1867. The so called 'sakoku' or national seclusion. After more than two and a half centuries, finally the gates opened with the reinstatement of an emperor. Japan has a rich history dating back to 10,000 BC with a mainly Buddhist society. Japan is an island nation and much of its culture was influenced from nearby Asian countries, however it has never been exposed to cultural dominance. Japan's is one of the most interesting countries not only historically but also geographically and geologically. Marvellous landscapes are to be enjoyed and with that remnants of the past in the form of ancient temples, palaces of past rulers and magnificent gardens manicured to perfection. Enjoy the 'Land of the Rising Sun', a snapshot of a culturally rich nation.

Street parade in Tokyo

Old japanese shops

Taiyuin byo shrine, nikko bronze lanterns

left: Kasuga-taisha brass lanterns, right: a japanese religious statue

Kamakura Daibutsu (Great Buddha)

traditional old wooden shops, historic Asakusa district, Tokyo

Itsukushima Shinto shrine, Miyajima Island

left image Himeji Castle, Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, right image, Kinkaku-ji, officially Rokuon-ji, a Zen Buddhist temple, Kyoto

Japanese room with sliding shoji doors and tatami flooring

Traditional japanese parks

Meiji Jingu, decorative Sake barrels
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