About richardcedwards

I have been making photographs of people and places since I was 12 years old. Exploring new places, cultures and meeting people adds a lot of richness to life. Sharing these experiences and photographs with others is my goal with "Where in the World is Riccardo?" on wordpress.com

Bamboo Garden, Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

One of the highlights in Arashiyama is the famous Bamboo Grove, named by CNN as one of the most beautiful groves on Earth, Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

One of the highlights in Arashiyama is the famous Bamboo Grove, named by CNN as one of the most beautiful groves on Earth, Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

 

“Arashiyama (嵐山) is a pleasant district in the western outskirts of Kyoto, Japan.  The area has been a popular destination since the Heian Period (794-1185), when nobles would enjoy its natural setting.  Arashiyama is particularly popular during the cherry blossom and fall color seasons.” – http://www.japan-guide.com

 

Before entering the Bamboo Garden in the Arashiyama District of Kyoto, Japan, we passed a cemetery and a temple that was mostly hidden by beautiful Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)

Before entering the Bamboo Garden in the Arashiyama District of Kyoto, Japan, we passed a cemetery and a temple that was mostly hidden by beautiful Sakura (Cherry Blossoms)

 

Walking in the Bamboo Garden in the Arashiyama District of Kyoto, Japan, is like entering another world – the thick green bamboo stalks seem to continue endlessly in every direction an

Walking in the Bamboo Garden in the Arashiyama District of Kyoto, Japan, is like entering another world – the thick green bamboo stalks seem to continue endlessly in every direction and there’s a strange quality to the light

 

We decided to visit the district as one of the highlights in Arashiyama is the famous Bamboo Garden.  Lonely Planet notes: “Walking into this extensive bamboo grove is like entering another world – the thick green bamboo stalks seem to continue endlessly in every direction and there’s a strange quality to the light.”  On CNN, it was referred to as one of the most beautiful groves on Earth.  It is quite calming to walk through the grove and hear and see the trees gently swaying in the breeze.  Within the forest are several Shinto shrines.  Nearby we visited a beautiful Buddhist compound including a temple.  And of course, on the main street there were many shopping and snacking opportunities for our small group of four.

 

The entrance to Seiryoji Temple (Sagashakado Temple), Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

The entrance to Seiryoji Temple (Sagashakado Temple), Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

 

“Seiryoji Temple is a time-honored temple of the Pure Land sect of Buddhism.  It is better known as Sagashakado Temple (Hall of Shakyamuni Tathagata in Saga).  Seikakan, the mountain villa of Minamoto-no-Toru, the model for Kikaru Genji, the hero of “Tale of Genji”, was once located at this place.  After his death, the villa was converted into Seikaji Temple, which is the origin of Seiryoji Temple.  In 1945, a life-size image of Shakyamuni Tathagata was enshrined.  Thus, the temple is commonly called Sagashakado Temple.  Later, the high priest Chonen came back from China (Sung) with a standing image of Shakyamuni Tathagata, which had been brought to Japan from India via China.  In order to enshrine the image, the priest planned to build a new temple to be called ‘Great Seiryoji Temple’.  Since he passed away without accomplishing his wish, his disciple, Jozan, established Seiryoji Temple and enshrined the image.  In 1953, a covered space was found in the back of the image, and internal organs made of silk were placed inside.  Since then, the image has also been called the living Shakyamuni Tathagata.  The main hall  was reconstructed at the initiative of the fifth Tokugawa Shogun Tsunayoshi, his mother, Keishoin, and others in 1701, where the principal image, the standing statue of Shakyamuni Tathagata (National Treasure), is located.  The tombs of the high priest Chonen, Minamoto-no-Toru, Emperor Saga, and Empress Danrin are located in the precinct of the temple.” — from a signboard at Seiryoji Temple

 

The decorations at the entrance to Seiryoji Temple (Sagashakado Temple), Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

The decorations at the entrance to Seiryoji Temple (Sagashakado Temple), Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

 

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) and Seiryoji Temple (Sagashakado Temple), Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) and Seiryoji Temple (Sagashakado Temple), Arashiyama DIstrict, Kyoto, Japan

 

We were privileged to welcome several Geishas aboard our ship, docked in Kobe, Japan, for singing, music and dancing before dinner where we had an opportunity to talk with them (with the

We were privileged to welcome several Geishas aboard our ship, docked in Kobe, Japan, for singing, music and dancing before dinner when we had an opportunity to talk with them (with the assistance of a translator), as they individually came around to our table, about their training and work and performing arts

 

Shrines, Temples and Rock Gardens, Kyoto, Japan

Kinkaku (The Golden Pavilion) is a shariden, a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha, Kyoto, Japan

Kinkaku (The Golden Pavilion) is a shariden, a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha, Kyoto, Japan

 

“Although ravaged by wars, fires, and earthquakes during its eleven centuries as the imperial capital, Kyoto was spared from much of the destruction of World War II.  It was removed from the atomic bomb target list (which it had headed) by the personal intervention of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, as Stimson wanted to save this cultural center which he knew from his honeymoon and later diplomatic visits…  With its 2,000 religious places – 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and architecture intact – it is one of the best preserved cities in Japan.” — Wikipedia

 

The pavilion is part of a temple that is formally named Rokuon-ji Temple, but commonly called Kinkaku-ji Temple or Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan

The pavilion is part of a temple that is formally named Rokuon-ji Temple, but commonly called Kinkaku-ji Temple or Temple of the Golden Pavilion, Kyoto, Japan

 

Kinkaku (The Golden Pavilion) is a shariden, a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha.  The pavilion is part of a temple that is formally named Rokuon-ji Temple, but commonly called Kinkaku-ji Temple or Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Rokuon-ji is a Zen Buddhist temple, in the Shokokuji School of the Rinzai Sect.  The garden and its buildings, centered on the Golden Pavilion, were said to represent the Pure Land of Buddha in this world.  The villa also functioned as an official guesthouse, welcoming the Emperor and other members of the nobility.

 

Two ducks enjoying the Sakura shaded pond in front of the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), Kyoto, Japan

Two ducks enjoying the Sakura shaded pond in front of the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), Kyoto, Japan

 

Pink and white Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) in the garden of the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), Kyoto, Japan

Pink and white Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) in the garden of the Kinkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Golden Pavilion), Kyoto, Japan

 

Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto is famed for its Zen garden of 15 irregularly places rocks on raked white gravel, representing islands in an ocean or some say (after a few too many cups of warm saké), ‘a tiger carrying her cubs across the water’.  It is designed so always at least one of rocks is hidden from the view from any vantage point.  It is a supreme art work and the best Zen temple in Kyoto, if not in Japan.

 

Japan_s most famous zen garden, the Rock Garden of Ryoanji Temple, viewed from Hojo (the building that used be the head priest_s residence), Kyoto, Japan; 14 of the 15 rocks in the g

Japan’s most famous zen garden, the Rock Garden of Ryoanji Temple, viewed from Hojo (the building that used be the head priest’s residence), Kyoto, Japan; at least one of the 15 rocks in the garden are hidden from view from any vantage point

 

Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season is a special time of the year to visit the Rock Garden of Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season is a special time of the year to visit the Rock Garden of Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

 

The garden of Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

The garden of Ryoanji Temple, Kyoto, Japan

 

We were the only guests at our guide_s “secret garden” in the heart of Kyoto, Japan; similar to the world-famous Rock Garden of Ryoanji Temple (which is overflowing with tourists f

We were the only guests at our guide’s “secret garden” in the heart of Kyoto, Japan; similar to the world-famous Rock Garden of Ryoanji Temple (which is overflowing with tourists from around the world), it was set in a Zen Buddhist Temple whose location I must keep secret…

 

Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

The entry to the residence of the Shogun_s family residence, Ninomaru-goten Palace, which was moved to and expanded within Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first S

The entry to the residence of the Shogun’s family residence, Ninomaru-goten Palace, which was moved to and expanded within Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of the Edo Shogunate (1603-1867)

 

“Nijo-jo Castle was constructed in 1603 in Kyoto, Japan, by Tokugawa Ieyasu, the first Shogun of the Edo Shogunate (1603-1867).  In 1626, during the reign of the third Shogun Tokugawa Iemitsu, the castle was greatly increased in size for the Imperial visit by Emperor Go-Mizuno-o.  In addition, it was at Nijo-jo Castle in 1867 that the fifteenth and last Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu decided to surrender his authority to rule the country to the Emperor, bringing 700 years of samurai rule to an end.  From 1884, the castle was used as an occasional residence by the Imperial Family until 1939 when it was presented to Kyoto City.  In 1994, the castle was registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the ‘Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto’.” — Nijo-jo Castle signboard

 

Our visit to Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, coincided with the height of Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season

Our visit to Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, coincided with the height of Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season

 

Elaborate, gilded paintings on the screen walls within Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan; this room was the waiting room for daimyo lords and foreign dignitaries wait

Elaborate, gilded paintings on the screen walls within Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan; this room was the waiting room for daimyo lords and foreign dignitaries waiting for an audience with the Shogun

 

The family crest of the Tokugawa Shogunate was on each door in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan; note that after rule of Japan was returned to the Emperor and the Castle became an Imperial r

The family crest of the Tokugawa Shogunate was on each door in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan; note that after rule of Japan was returned to the Emperor and the Castle became an Imperial residence in 1884, most of the crests were replaced with the Emperor’s family crest

 

“It was here in the Ohiroma of Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle in 1867 that the fifteenth Shogun Tokugawa Yoshinobu made the pronouncement known as Taiseihokan (Restoration of Imiperial Rule) which handed back political power to the Emperor, thus bringing to a close the 265-year reign of the Edo Shogunate.  At the end of the Edo period, the movement to bring down the Shogunate, which was centered primarily on the Satsuma and Choshu domains of southwestern Japan, intensified, and imperial forces were also on the point of joining in the struggle.  In view of this, Yoshinobu resolved to bring the long history of the Tokugawa Shogunate to a close himself, as the last Shogun, working under the assumption that the Tokugawa family would be able to continue to dominate Japanese politics.  In response to petitions from all sides to surrender his political authority, it was here in the Ohiroma that, on the thirteenth day of the tenth month of 18967 (by the old calendar), Yoshinobu assembled senior vassals from forty domains who were resident in Kyoto, and circulated a consultative paper, thus indicating to the domains his intention to return political control of Japan to the Emperor.  On the following day, Yoshinobu tendered a memorial to the Imperial Court, and on the fifteenth, the Emperor sanctioned the return of political power, and the Restoration of Imperial Rule was completed.  Nijo-jo Castle thus was the stage on which the appointment of the first Shogun was announced, and where the end of the shogunal government was decided.” — Nijo-jo Castle signboard

 

The beautifully decorated and painted Ohiroma of Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, where the Shoguns sat on the upper level and received daimyo lords and foreign dig

The beautifully decorated and painted Ohiroma of Ninomaru-goten Palace in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, where the Shoguns sat on the upper level and received daimyo lords and foreign dignitaries who stood on the lower level

 

The moat around Ninomaru-goten Palace in Sakura season, within Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

The moat around Ninomaru-goten Palace in Sakura season, within Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

 

One of the beautiful Japanese gardens in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

One of the beautiful Japanese gardens in Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan

 

Several of the buildings of Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, set in the gardens, with modern-day Kyoto in the background

Several of the buildings of Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto, Japan, set in the gardens, with modern-day Kyoto in the background

 

Eat local: Japanese-style breakfast at Tawaraya Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan

While there is no lobby, no restaurant, no fitness center, Tawaraya Ryokan in Kyoto, Japan, offers the few guests accommodated each night tranquility in both the guest_s room with a vi

While there is no lobby, no restaurant, no fitness center, Tawaraya Ryokan in Kyoto, Japan, offers the few guests accommodated each night tranquility in both the guest’s room with a view of a private Japanese garden and access to a few public rooms, such as this library with its own garden view

 

During our three-day visit to Kyoto, Japan, we stayed in a traditional ryokan – Tawaraya, regarded as a beautiful example of a small, traditional Japanese inn.  “A ryokan (旅館) is a type of traditional Japanese inn that originated in the Edo period (1603–1868), when such inns served travelers along Japan’s highways.  They typically feature tatami-matted rooms, communal baths, and other public areas where visitors may wear yukata and talk with the owner.  Ryokan are difficult to find in Tokyo and other large cities because many are expensive compared to hotels, and Japanese people increasingly use hotels for urban tourism….  However, ryokan are more typically located in scenic areas, such as in the mountains or by the sea…  Most ryokan offer dinner and breakfast, which are often included in the price of the room.  Most visitors take their meals at the ryokan, which usually promote themselves on the quality of their food.  Meals consist of traditional Japanese cuisine known as kaiseki, which features seasonal and regional specialties. (Kaiseki originally referred to light meals served during a tea ceremony, and today refers to a meal consisting of a number of small, varied dishes.)  In order for each dish to be enjoyed at the proper temperature, ryokan stress that guests should be punctual for their meals.” – Wikipedia

 

Visiting during the heart of the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season, the center of Tawaraya Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan, contains an outdoor cherry tree that was in full bloom, providing a calming

Visiting during the heart of the Sakura (Cherry Blossom) season, the center of Tawaraya Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan, contains an outdoor cherry tree that was in full bloom, providing a calming vista to all guests who walked back to the front entrance from their guest rooms

 

Adjacent to the small library was a reception room where guests are met and served hot tea upon arrival, Tawaraya Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan

Adjacent to the small library was a reception room where guests are met and served hot tea upon arrival, Tawaraya Ryokan, Kyoto, Japan

 

“Tawaraya is the finest ryokan in Kyoto and, arguably, the finest in all Japan.  Private gardens and incredible attention to detail make it a very special Kyoto experience…  But this isn’t why celebrities and political leaders from all over the world have stayed there.  Rather, it’s because Tawaraya is one of the few accommodations anywhere that manages to get everything right.  The rooms are impeccably decorated, in keeping with the wabi-sabi aesthetic of spare simplicity, with each item carefully chosen.  All guest rooms look out over their own private gardens and invite hours of contemplative gazing.  And the staff possess the uncanny ability to know what you want before you do.  All in all, it’s a magical little world that you won’t want to leave.  Only that would be a shame in a city with as many wonders as Kyoto.” – www.insidekyoto.com

 

Our traditional Japanese breakfast at Tawaraya Ryokan featured seafood, tofu and vegetables, Kyoto, Japan

Our traditional Japanese breakfast at Tawaraya Ryokan featured seafood, tofu and vegetables, Kyoto, Japan

 

This service box contained tofu and vegetables with a separate copper carafe of hot soup heated by the charcoal brazier, Ryokan breakfast at Tawaraya, Kyoto, Japan

This service box contained tofu and vegetables with a separate copper carafe of hot soup heated by the charcoal brazier, Ryokan breakfast at Tawaraya, Kyoto, Japan

 

Accompaniments for the tofu and soup, Ryokan breakfast at Tawaraya, Kyoto, Japan

Accompaniments for the tofu and soup, Ryokan breakfast at Tawaraya, Kyoto, Japan

 

Japanese Tea Ceremony, Kyoto, Japan

We visited a traditional ceremonial tea-room in the home of a third generation artist with scroll paintings (kakejiku) that had been painted by his grandfather, Kyoto, Japan

We visited a traditional ceremonial tea-room in the home of a third generation artist with scroll paintings (kakejiku) that had been painted by his grandfather, Kyoto, Japan

 

One of the highlights of our visit to Kyoto was the attendance by four of us (accompanied by our guide/translator, John) to the private home of a third generation artist for Chanoya (the formal Japanese tea ceremony).  This was a very special opportunity, as the tea master has 32 years of experience and is a teacher of Chanoya.  Our host’s home has a traditional ceremonial tea-room in it, which was used by his father and grandfather whose wives served as the tea masters.   The ceremonial tea-room had two scroll paintings (kakejiku) that had been painted by his grandfather.  The ceramic tea cups (chawan) were also made by his grandfather and are now very valuable artifacts – we felt very privileged to be trusted to use them for our tea ceremony (with all rings and arm jewelry removed to avoid any chips in the ceramic cups).  Our host is also an artist and is continuing his family traditions.  Following the tea ceremony we had the opportunity to have a conversation (via our guide/translator) with our gracious host and learned a lot of his family’s history.  This was a great experience and a wonderful introduction to a very important cultural ceremony in Japan.

 

This ceremonial tea-room overlooked the interior courtyard garden, Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan; for the guests, it contributes to achieving chanoyu -- a mental discipline for pursui

This ceremonial tea-room overlooked the interior courtyard garden, Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan; for the guests, it contributes to achieving chanoyu — a mental discipline for pursuing “wabi” (a state of mind in which a person is calm and content, with a profound simplicity)

 

The hot water for the tea is heated in a kama (kettle) that is placed on (and heated by) the furo (charcoal brazier) that is built into the floor of the tea-room, Japanese Tea House, Kyo

The hot water for the tea is heated in a kama (kettle) that is placed on (and heated by) the furo (charcoal brazier) that is built into the floor of the tea-room, Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

 

Chanoya (the tea ceremony) or Sadō (literally, the way of the tea) was introduced to Japan from China and perfected by Master Sen-no-Rikyu based on the spirit of Zen in the 16th century.  “It is a choreographic ritual of preparing and serving Japanese green tea, called Matcha, together with traditional Japanese sweets to balance with the bitter taste of the tea.  Preparing tea in this ceremony means pouring all one’s attention into the predefined movements.  The whole process is not about drinking tea, but is about aesthetics, preparing a bowl of tea from one’s heart.  The host of the ceremony always considers the guests with every movement and gesture.  Even the placement of the tea utensils is considered from the guests view point (angle), especially the main guests called the Shokyaku.” – www.japanese-tea-ceremony.net

For Japanese people, chanoyu is a mental discipline for pursuing wabi (a state of mind in which a person is calm and content, with a profound simplicity) and is at the same time a performance in which form and grace are paramount.

 

The teacup on the left (for the main guest) was created by our host_s grandfather and is a family heirloom; before the ceremony the natsume (a lacquerware container for usucha (powdere

The teacup on the left (for the honored guest) was created by our host’s grandfather and is a family heirloom; before the ceremony the natsume (a lacquerware container for usucha (powdered macha tea)) was resting in the honored guest’s tea cup, Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan; also shown are the bamboo chasen (whisk) and bamboo chaskaku (tea “scoop”)

 

After we were seated and comfortable on the floor (lotus position), the tea master passed each of us a sweet pastry, to prepare our palates for the bitter matcha tea that she would indiv

After we were seated and comfortable on the floor (lotus position), the tea master passed each of us a sweet pastry, to prepare our palates for the bitter matcha tea that she would individually prepare, Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan; as the honored guest – with his back to the kakejiku (scroll painting) and flowers — your blogger received the first pastry and, later, the first cup of tea

 

Our host (on the left) was very formal during the ceremony; here the tea master uses a hishaku (ladle) to pour the hot water from the kama (kettle) into each tea cup (one at a time) whic

Our host (on the left) was very formal during the ceremony; here the tea master uses a hishaku (ladle) to pour the hot water from the kama (kettle) into each tea cup (one at a time) which had the powdered matcha tea previously scooped out by her into the bottom of the tea cup, Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

 

The tea master whisking the powdered matcha tea into the hot water in the tea cup for the honored guest (served first), Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

The tea master whisking the powdered matcha tea into the hot water in the tea cup for the honored guest (served first), Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

 

During the chanoya (the tea ceremony) the honored guest (who has his back to the kakejiku (scroll) and flowers) might watch the tea master and alternately seek chanoyu by looking out at

During the chanoya (the tea ceremony) the honored guest (who has his back to the kakejiku (scroll) and flowers) might watch the tea master and alternately seek chanoyu by looking out at the garden, Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

 

During the chanoya (the tea ceremony) guests (other than the honored guest) might look at the kakejiku (scroll painting) and flowers, Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

During the chanoya (the tea ceremony) guests (other than the honored guest) might look at the kakejiku (scroll painting) and flowers (which are arranged by the tea master), Japanese Tea House, Kyoto, Japan

 

Sakura and Ginkakuji Temple (the “Silver Pavilion”) in Kyoto, Japan

Scenic Kyoto, Japan, offers historical and religious traditions and has retained its old-world atmosphere; it is recognized for its uniqueness as a UNESCO World Heritage City

Scenic Kyoto, Japan, offers historical and religious traditions and has retained its old-world atmosphere; it is recognized for its uniqueness as a UNESCO World Heritage City

 

Kyoto, a UNESCO World Heritage City, on the main island of Honshu was Japan’s capital and center of its civilization for over ten centuries.  Kyoto offers historical and religious traditions and has retained its old-world atmosphere.  “Kyoto (京都) served as Japan’s capital and the emperor’s residence from 794 until 1868.  It is now the country’s seventh largest city with a population of 1.4 million people and a modern face.  Over the centuries, Kyoto was destroyed by many wars and fires, but due to its historic value, the city was dropped from the list of target cities for the atomic bomb and spared from air raids during World War II.  Countless temples, shrines, and other historically priceless structures survive in the city today.” – http://www.japan-guide.com

 

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) were in full bloom when we visited Kyoto, Japan, shown here in the pouring rain at a local shrine

Sakura (Cherry Blossoms) were in full bloom when we visited Kyoto, Japan, shown here in the pouring rain at a local shrine

 

The Kamo River runs through the center of Kyoto, Japan, and has Sakura (cherry blossoms) all along the banks – in the springtime they are a riot of color and invite numerous walkers; o

The Kamo River runs through the center of Kyoto, Japan, and has Sakura (cherry blossoms) all along the banks – in the springtime they are a riot of color and invite numerous walkers; our walk (unfortunately) was in the pouring rain

 

The bank of the Kamo River on the north side of the city has trellises to support the cherry trees and their blossoms (Sakura), Kyoto, Japan

The bank of the Kamo River on the north side of the city has trellises to support the cherry trees and their blossoms (Sakura), Kyoto, Japan

 

The view, just after the public entry to the site, from the Kogetsudai Window of Ginsyadan (representing waves and white sand) and the gardens at Ginkakuji Temple (a Zen temple establish

The view, just after the public entry to the site, from the Kogetsudai Window of Ginsyadan (representing waves and white sand) and the gardens at Ginkakuji Temple (a Zen temple established in 1482) – also known as the “Silver Pavilion”, Kyoto, Japan – a World Cultural Heritage Site

 

Ginkakuji Temple – also known as the “Silver Pavilion” – is a Zen temple that was established in 1482 by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the eighth Muromachi Shogunate.  Yoshimasa, following Kinkakuji Temple Kitayama den built by his grandfather, built villa Kigashiyama den to spend his retired life.  Ginkakuji is the common name, and formally it was called Higashiyama Jishõji, taking the name after Yoshimasa’s posthumous title after his death.  Higashiyama den is the place where Higashiyama culture, formed mainly by Yoshimasa, started and is the start of the modern life style of the Japanese.

 

We had a leisurely walk (in the rain) through the beautiful Japanese-style gardens where the beauty of nature in each different season is adapted skillfully, giving the atmosphere of a p

We had a leisurely walk (in the rain) through the beautiful Japanese-style gardens where the beauty of nature in each different season is adapted skillfully, giving the atmosphere of a profound spiritual world, at the Ginkakuji Temple (“Silver Pavilion”), Kyoto, Japan

 

A view of Ginsyadan (representing waves and white sand) and the gardens and buildings at the Ginkakuji Temple (“Silver Pavilion”), Kyoto, Japan

A view of Ginsyadan (representing waves and white sand) and the gardens and buildings at the Ginkakuji Temple (“Silver Pavilion”), Kyoto, Japan

 

Wonderful serenity contemplating new growth on a Japanese maple tree and the bamboo fence in the garden of the Ginkakuji Temple (“Silver Pavilion”), Kyoto, Japan

Wonderful serenity contemplating new growth on a Japanese maple tree and the bamboo fence in the garden of the Ginkakuji Temple (“Silver Pavilion”), Kyoto, Japan

 

A national treasure, Kannon-den or Ginkaku (the “silver pavilion”) is unusual in that the first floor is built in the Shoin style (a traditional Japanese residential architectural st

A national treasure, Kannon-den or Ginkaku (the “silver pavilion”) is unusual in that the first floor is built in the Shoin style (a traditional Japanese residential architectural style) and the second floor is built in a Chinese temple style, Kyoto, Japan

 

As we left Ginkakuji Temple (“Silver Pavilion”), we were again surrounded by Sakura (cherry blossoms), Kyoto, Japan

As we left Ginkakuji Temple (“Silver Pavilion”), we were again surrounded by Sakura (cherry blossoms), Kyoto, Japan

 

Hakone Art and Landscapes, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

The Round Plaza, at the entrance to the rolling hills and grounds making up The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan, contains several sculptures

The Round Plaza, at the entrance to the rolling hills and grounds making up The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan, contains several sculptures

 

Early on our last morning in Tokyo we left the pier and drove south about 90 minutes through Kanagawa Prefecture to The Hakone Open-Air Museum.  As its name implies, works by 19th- and 20th-century Japanese and Western artists are displayed outdoors. Sculptures by Picasso, Rodin, Miro and Henry Moore are artfully arranged on the grass-covered grounds, while another 300 or so paintings, glass art and tapestries are housed in several pavilions.  The area is well-known for its natural onsen (hot springs) and guests may rest their feet in the warm, fragrant foot bath just outside the museum.

 

Outdoor sculpture (#1), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#1), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

“The museum began operations in 1969 as the first open-air art museum in Japan.  Constantly changing with the seasons, the spectacular grounds of the museum are the permanent home for approximately 120 works by well-known modern and contemporary sculptors.  There are also five exhibition halls, including the Picasso Pavilion, as well as art pieces that children can play with, and a variety of other facilities where visitors can relax and enjoy the splendor of art in nature.” — The Hakone Open-AirMuseum

 

A ceramic sculpture by Pablo Picasso in front of The Picasso Collection exhibition building, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

A ceramic sculpture by Pablo Picasso in front of The Picasso Collection exhibition building, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

“The Picasso Collection is an art gallery devoted to one of the greatest artists of the 20th century, Pablo Picasso.  Built in 1984, the gallery presents a wide range of works, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, ceramics, golden objects, silver compotes, genmail, and tapestries, as well as photographs of the artist’s studio, revealing his vast imagination and giving us a look into his personal life.” — The Hakone Open-Air Museum

 

A genmail reproduction of a painting by Pablo Picasso, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

A genmail reproduction of a painting by Pablo Picasso, The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

“Genmail is a technique used to reproduce works in glass by adjusting the depth of color through overlaid glass fragments.  The artist places glass fragments on a light table while looking at the original work.  Finally, the glass fragments are fired in a kiln.  The works are back  lit when displayed, and the brilliance of the light shining through the glass and melting into the color produces a unique clarity and depth.” — The Hakone Open-Air Museum

 

Outdoor sculpture (#2), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#2), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

Outdoor sculpture (#3), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#3), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

Outdoor sculpture (#4), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#4), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

Outdoor sculpture (#5), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#5), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

Outdoor sculpture (#6), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

Outdoor sculpture (#6), The Hakone Open-Air Museum, Hakone-machi, Kanagawa-ken, Japan

 

For some of the best traditional Houtou noodles (in soup) in the Fuji Lakes region, we ate lunch at Houtou Fudou (located inside a modern architectural “marvel” of a building, near L

For some of the best traditional Houtou noodles (in soup) in the Fuji Lakes region, we ate lunch at Houtou Fudou (located inside a modern architectural “marvel” of a building, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

 

A close up of the traditional Houtou noodles (in soup) for lunch at Houtou Fudou, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

A close up of the traditional Houtou noodles (in soup) for lunch at Houtou Fudou, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

 

Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Garden (entry), near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Garden (entry), near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

 

“In 1994, a dyeing artist, Itchiku Kubota (1917–2003), built the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, Yamanashi, Japan, in a perfect location with a majestic view of Mt. Fuji and the serene Lake Kawaguchi.  The museum permanently exhibits Itchiku Tsujigahana-dyed works with the two main themes of ‘trinity of humans, nature and art’ and ‘the center of new culture and art.’  The whole museum, including the garden, buildings and furnishings represents ‘the world of Itchiku Kubota.’

“At the age of 20, Itchiku Kubota encountered a ‘Tsujigahana-dyeing’ slip made in the Muromachi period [approximately 1336 to 1573, marking the governance of the Muromachi or Ashikaga shogunate] at the Tokyo National Museum.  He was fascinated by its beauty and devoted himself to reproduce the technique in the modern world.  After returning from imprisonment in Siberia [he was captured by the Russians in World War II], Itchiku started to create his own ‘Tsujigahana’ at the age of 40.  After twenty years of perseverance, he produced a piece and named it ‘Itchiku Tsujigahana’ when he was 60.  Since his first exhibition in 1977, many exhibitions have been held all over the world.  He was awarded the ‘Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Letters’ in 1990, and the ‘Cultural Merit Award’ from the Agency for Cultural Affairs in 1993.  His achievement is acclaimed worldwide.  Itchiku Kubota passed away on April 26, 2003 at the age of 85.

“Tsujigahana-Dyeing is a pattern dyeing style that flourished in the Muromachi period.  It started with the kimono of commoners, and later became popular among the aristocrats, but disappeared early in the Edo period.  There are some theories for is disappearance, but the dominant one is the appearance of Yuzen, which allowed for more free expression.

“The ‘Symphony of Light’ is the lifework of Itchiku and our final goal is to integrate 80 works representing nature’s ‘four seasons’ and his own ‘universe.’  Currently 46 works, including fall, winter, and several works of the universe, have been completed.” — Itchiku Kubota Art Museum Brochure

 

Several of the Tsujigahana-Dyed kimonos making up part of the "Symphony of Light" by Itchiku Kubota, Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan; source www.japan-gu

Several of the Tsujigahana-dyed kimonos making up part of the “Symphony of Light” by Itchiku Kubota, Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan; photo courtesy of http://www.japan-guide.com

 

The artist Itchiku Kubota_s studo_s garden view at the rear of the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan

The artist Itchiku Kubota’s studo’s garden view at the rear of the Itchiku Kubota Art Museum, near Lake Kawaguchi, Yamanashi, Japan