Japan is full of magnificent beauty, from its ancient temples and breathtaking countryside to its vibrant city life. Yukari Mitani is a photographer who travels across his nation, taking and sharing images of some of its most beautiful spots. His most recent excursion took him to the ancient Okayama Castle in Okayama, where he photographed it at night.
Okayama Castle, often known as “Crow Castle” due to its dark appearance, has a long and illustrious history. It was constructed in 1597 under Hideie Ukita, a Sengoku period daimyo (lord). It served as a military base, but it was also the central location for merchants and artisans to gather and collaborate on the development of Okayama. Hideie was subsequently arrested by the Tokugawa Clan and exiled to Hachijo Island Prison. Therefore the castle was passed down to Kobayakawa Hideaki, a daimyo as well.
During World War II, much of the Okayama Castle was destroyed. Two of the watchtowers survived, and the rest of the complex was rebuilt in concrete in 1966. The National Agency for Cultural Affairs has designated the watchtowers as Important Cultural Properties.
The Okayama Castle is a significant tourist attraction nowadays. Mitani’s images illustrate how stunning it can be when lit up at night. During an exhibition inspired by “blooming blooms of lights in a dreamlike flower garden,” he photographed the façade (which closed on August 31st, 2020). Colourful bangasa (Japanese paper umbrellas) were placed in front of the castle during this time and lit up to show their beautiful colours and designs.
Check out Mitani’s amazing images below, and follow him on Twitter for more Japan snapshots.
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