It’s the rainy season in Japan but so far the weather has been fine. It’s very strange weather and hard for the rice farmers.
But it gives us the chance to go sightseeing. And last Sunday, we went to Taketa a small town which is famous for a castle ruin called Okajo (jo means castle - so this means Oka castle).
They believe it was originally built in 1185 and successively rebuilt and improved. Sadly, in 1874 the castle buildings were actually torn down.
Although the buildings have gone the very steep stone walls and stone foundations remain and look very beautiful as they have become covered in moss, flowers and trees.
The tree roots have threaded their way into the gaps of the stone walls.
The castle is high up on a hill and as you walk around you are sometimes near a steep drop. The views are spectacular.
And the road far below makes a melody when cars pass along it.
I was so busy taking photos that I lost my family but luckily found them again later at the car park.
After the castle, we went to the town center.
We found a traditional Japanese style restaurant, called Tajimaya, (I tried to translate this and got the name: "common horse restaurant" - I don’t think that’s quite right) where they had Japanese desserts.
My wife made the best choice. She had shaved ice (called Kakigori in Japan) with matcha (green tea powder) and azuki beans. It was deliciously cool, tasty and refreshing.
We took a walk around the town center - a very small and quiet place.
Some of the streets are very traditional and beautiful with decorative walls that have a stone bottom, then a warm earth-colored plaster middle and then a tiled top. And there are beautiful, elaborate wooden entrances.
My wife took us to a cliff with a hole in it that was a secret Chapel for Christians. There had been many Christians in Taketa, but when the religion was banned in 1596 some people continued to follow their faith in secret.
My daughter wanted to go to a park and we luckily found one on the outskirts of the town center. And we were surprised and delighted to find a beautiful stone bridge in the middle of the park.
Then it was time to go home and have some dinner.
Do you have a favorite small town that you like to visit?
Thanks for reading and God bless you, Gareth.
PS I only just started this board on Taketa but hopefully with time it will grow. Just click here to see other paintings of Taketa.
PPS Prints of this painting are available from Fine Art America. Just click the link below to see the possible options.