Monday, September 4, 2017

Kansai's #1s

Kansai has some of the he biggest, oldest, longest, tallest…

  • The TALLEST skyscraper in Japan. Abeno Harukasu is the tallest skyscraper in Japan at 300m. This is something of a technicality, as Tokyo’s Sky Tree is taller (634m) but it is a tower and Abeno Harukasu has ground to roof floors of usable office space.
Abeno Harukasu as seen from Shitennoji temple.

  • The OLDEST [government sanctioned] Buddhist Temple. There are some small temples which may have been erected by private individuals earlier but when Prince Shotoku came back from a tour of Korea he brought inspiration to install Buddhism in Japan along with the Shinto ideas (which legitimized the rule of the imperial household). Shitennoji temple was established as it was near the capital(s) and within reach of Osaka harbor by which new ideas and materials flowed between Japan and the Buddhist neighbors of China and Korea. Korean carpenters oversaw the original construction in the year 593.
Shitennoji Temple

  • The OLDEST wooden building in the world. The pagoda of Horyu-ji temple has been damaged and repaired but is still touted as the world's oldest building. The 5 story structure employs innovative architecture that has allowed it to survive earthquakes.
Horyuji pagoda

  • The World’s LONGEST suspension bridge. The Akashi Kaikyo Bridge is 3911m long. The central span alone is 1991m long.
Akashi Kaikyo Bridge (the Pearl Bridge)

  • The LARGEST castle in Japan. Himeji Castle is 46.4m tall and has a complex with 83 buildings. It is also the MOST VISITED castle in Japan.
Himeji Castle

  • Japan’s LARGEST tomb. Daisenryo Kofun is one of the three largest tombs in the world along with King Khufu’s pyramid complex in Egypt and Emperor Qin Shi Huang’s tomb in China. The kofun (burial mound shaped like a key and surrounded by a moat) is 486m long and 35.8m high.
Map of the Emperor Nintoku's tomb

  • Japan’s LONGEST shopping arcade. The Tenjinbashisuji shotengai is the longest covered shopping arcade in Japan at 2.6km long.
  • The first capital of Japan/First Emperor. Japan’s first emperor was the semi-mythical Jimmu, who held his court in what is now the town of Kashiwahara in Nara prefecture. Kashihara Jingu shrine now marks a tomb that is associated with the first emperor.
  • Japan's LARGEST lake. Lake Biwa (or Biwako) is by far the largest lake in Japan, it has a surface area of 670 square kilometers while the second largest lake only has an area of 170 square kilometers.
  • Japan’s LOWEST mountain. This is by far the ODDEST distinction on this list but it is something that Osakans take great pride in when talking about Mt Tempo (Temposan) which is along Osaka port. However, the title of LOWEST in Japan is being disputed by the tsunami eroded Hiyoriyama in Sendai. Still you can deposit a coin and a memo with your name and address to get a certificate proving that you ascended the 4.53m (14.9ft) mountain.

Do you have any more suggestions for this list? Leave them in the comments section below.