Okayama Castle 岡山城 (Okayama-jo) stands majestically by the Asahi River across the magnificent Koraku-en 後楽園 garden in central Okayama City, Japan.
Bridge over the Asahi River that links Okayama-jo and Korakuen Garden.
Views of Okayama-jo from Korakuen Garden.
The castle is also known as 烏城 (U-jo), the Crow Castle. The dark exterior of the castle conjures up images of the black crow.
Many crows also nest in the trees here and soar above the castle.
The Crow Castle and its reflection on the surface of the river, as I saw it this morning.
The same above photo of Okayama Castle flipped upside down.
The original castle had been completed during the 16th century, in 1597, as the Azuchi-Momoyama period 安土桃山時代 (Azuchi-Momoyama jidai) of Japanese history was coming to a close.
The Azuchi-Momoyama epoch is often referred to as the ‘Turbulent Age’, a time of turmoil just prior to the unification of the Japanese nation and people under Toyotomi Hiyedoshi.
Nozura-zumi is an earlier style of stone-walling in the history of castle building in Japan when large donjons became a regular characteristic of citadels.
Stone stairs leading up and down one of the twenty-one gates of the citadel.
A row of paper lanterns line the entrance of the castle.
It is November and the foliage has turned shades of crimson, orange, scarlet and gold while the evergreens remain true to their nature and continue to grow green in the castle garden.
Looking through the wall encircling the main castle grounds.
The emerald flow of the Asahi River seen through the castle walls.
The pale azure blue sky above us today.
The original castle keep had been destroyed during World War 2.
This is what war does.
And yet, after gross destruction, the castle stands today because human beings chose to rebuild, elected to stand back up after a steep fall and make a decision to recover from the ravages of battle and heal the misery.
This castle keep was newly rebuilt in 1966, already almost fifty years ago.
You can climb to the top of the six floors inside the castle and view the city of Okayama below.
Inside the main castle keep.
The palanquin of the Azuchi-Momoyama era used as a method of transport for the upper class.
The famous fish gargoyles that adorn the rooftops of the castle were embellished in gold in celebration of the castle’s 400th year anniversary.
How long is four hundred years? How many seasons of turbulence?
The Age of Turbulence for a nation, for a city, for a castle does come… then eventually, does go.
Turbulence does conclude and chaos does end.
It is the same for the four seasons.
Because this is Nature.
It is also the same as for human life.
As humans beings, we must inevitably witness turbulence and live through chaos.
Conflict is ordinary and turmoil is commonplace for we, too, are part of Nature.
We are fundamentally a part of Nature.