Japan takes enormous pride in its culture but has a poor record on its preservation. This is particularly true of the Meiji Era (1868-1912), perhaps the most dynamic period in the country’s history, when Japan emerged from more than 200 years of self-imposed isolation and laid the foundations of a modern nation state through the rapid assimilation of Western culture and technology.

Remnants of Meiji remain. Even amid the drab jumble of concrete cubes that are Japan’s modern cities one occasionally stumbles across a beautiful old building, a tantalizing reminder of a bygone age of elegance and style.

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