Tag Archives: heritage

Japan 2014 – 39 Narai-juku, the Japanese Heritage Post Town (2014-10-09) Photo Gallery | Travel Attractions 23 DEC 2015

After a good night in Ina, followed by a quick stroll around town in the morning, Ryan and I were picked up by Yuko and Terrance, who were to be our tour guides for the day. With them was Hester and Terry, Terrance’s parents, who also happened to be on holiday in Japan for the wedding period.

IMG_20141009_113926 brown family at narai-juku heritage post town, nagano, japan

The first destination for the day was to be the famous post town of Narai-juku, a nationally-designated architectural preservation site which basically means that the town is being kept such that it looks exactly like it did back in the Edo Period (between 1603 and 1868).

DSC07840 at narai-juku heritage post town, nagano, japan

During the Edo Period, Narai-jujku marked the half way point between Kyoto and Edo to travelers along the Nakasendo Route. It was the most wealthy post town of the Kiso Valley (as well as the most elevated along the route), and was sometimes referred to as “Narai of a Thousand Houses”.

(This becomes quite apparent when you look at the sheer number of preserved houses compared to other similar post towns along the route.)

DSC07842 steam locomotive display at narai-juku heritage post town, nagano, japan

The drive out there from Ina is quite scenic, the majestic wooded mountains making for landscape that isn’t something I’m familiar with, and on arrival you are greeted by a massive steam locomotive (on display), and handed a rather informative little pamphlet.

DSC07844 wooden buildings at narai-juku heritage post town, nagano, japan

The little town (ignoring the tiny cars parked along the main road) is a fantastic look back at the architecture of the era, and there are loads of bustling curio shops stretching from start to finish of the preserved building strip.

Shrines, marker stones, wells, pretty flowers, curios – basically there was more than enough things of interest to make for a genuinely pleasant excursion.

IMG_20141009_111246 ryan lotter, terrance brown and yuko at narai-juku heritage post town, nagano, japan

(Also, I bought two beautiful red polished, small wooden bowls – a trademark technique of the area – which happened to be the first keepsakes that I actually bothered buying on this rather fantastic holiday believe it or not!)

IMG_20141009_120914 shrine at narai-juku heritage post town, nagano, japan

Oh, and with all the new people to take photos of, I got perhaps slightly camera trigger happy:

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Oh, and we got to spot another comically endowed Tanuki garden ornament, which was by far my favourite little character on this whole trip! :)

IMG_20141009_112117 tanuki with pumpkin at narai-juku heritage post town, nagano, japan

Related Link: Narai-juku

Things to See in South Africa: Afrikaans Language Monument (Taalmonument) Travel Attractions 04 MAY 2015

The Afrikaans Language Monument (better known locally as the Afrikaanse Taalmonument) is located on a hill overlooking Paarl, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Officially opened on 10 October 1975, it commemorates the semi-centenary of Afrikaans being declared an official language of South Africa separate from Dutch. Also, it was erected on the 100th anniversary of the founding of Genootskap van Regte Afrikaners (the Society of Real Afrikaners) in Paarl, the organization that helped strengthen Afrikaners’ identity and pride in their language.

Afrikaans Language Monument in paarl, south africa - afrikaanse taalmonument 1

A visit to the Taal monument is a fascinating step back into the past. Built in 1975, and designed by architect Jan van Wijk, it acknowledges the influence of a variety of languages such as Dutch, Malay, Malay-Portuguese, Arabic, French, German, English, and the indigenous Khoi and African languages, on the development of Afrikaans.

Afrikaans Language Monument in paarl, south africa - afrikaanse taalmonument 2

The monument consists of various tapering structures of a convex and concave nature, symbolising influences of different languages and cultures on Afrikaans itself, as well as political developments in South Africa, as follows:

– Clear West: the European heritage of the language
– Magical Africa: the African influences on the language
– Bridge: between Europe and Africa
– Afrikaans: the language itself
– Republic: declared in 1961
– Malay language and culture

Afrikaans Language Monument in paarl, south africa - afrikaanse taalmonument 3

Guided tours are available on pre-bookings only. Volksmond Coffee Shop is an ideal venue for Sunday lunches and sundowners, as well as for family gatherings and year-end functions. They also sell picnic baskets to be enjoyed whilst revelling in the spectacular views of the Winelands.

The Monument with its exotic garden is an easy access point to a variety of hiking and biking trails on Paarl Mountain. Popular events include full moon picnics and stargazing evenings during the summer months.

Two amphitheaters are available for public and private events.

Afrikaans Language Monument in paarl, south africa - afrikaanse taalmonument 4

Afrikaans Language Monument in paarl, south africa - afrikaanse taalmonument 5

Afrikaans Language Monument in paarl, south africa - afrikaanse taalmonument 6

Related Link: Wikipedia | Taalmuseum