Monthly Archives: June 2016

Early summer Sweets Gift

My friend gave me these delicious-looking Japanese sweets from Seikanin, Kyoto.

Seikanin  specializes in various adzuki(sweet) bean paste confectionery.
Besides,they create beautiful sweets according to 24 seasons in the solar year.

japan, sweets, seikanin, kyoto

In this early summer season, jelly type like this, fresh peach inside, is so smooth to taste.

Above all, considering someone’s mind and health is valuable.

japan, sweets, seikanin, kyoto

japan, sweets, seikanin, kyoto

For more information: SEIKANIN

Lizard’s tail Garden at Ryosoku-in Temple

Do you know a plant called lizard’s tail?

It is called “Hangesho” in Japan, and is generally written  with characters that mean “half summer”,
but sometimes it is written using the characters for “half make-up”, as if the leaves have been decorated with white makeup for a time.

When they blossom, the leaves around the flowers turn from green to white, and when their blossoming season is over,the leaves become green again.

I visited Ryosoku-in Temple, one of sub-temples of Kennin-ji, famous for its”Hangesho” garden.

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

Ryosoku-in enshrines a statue of Bishamonten, one of the deities who protect disciples on the path of Buddhism.

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

I recommend to drop in tea-house first, from where you can see the whole garden.

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

From late June through summer every year, lizard’s tail leaves around the pond turn into lovely white color, and its neat beauty is literally breathtaking.

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

chisoku3

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

I enjoyed a cup of tea and a sweet confectionery.

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

After that, I moved to other rooms facing the beautiful pond, enjoyed the garden scenery to the full.

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

japan, kyoto, garden, ryosokuin

chisoku11

For more information: Ryosokuin

 

Wind God and Thunder God at Kennin-ji

Kennin-ji was founded in 1202 by the priest Yousai, and it is the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.

Yousai is known for introducing the Zen sect and the tradition of drinking tea into Japan.
He is recognized as the founder of the tea ceremony because of his efforts to encourage
the cultivation and consumption of tea.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

Anyway, I went to Kennin-ji to meet another Tawaraya Sotatsu’s masterpiece, “Wind God and Thunder God”.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

Entering the Hojo Area, you will be greeted by these two gods on a flat screen.
This is a super-high quality reproduction though, the genuine folding screens are now housed in Kyoto National Museum.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, wind-god-and-thunder-god

While working for Yogen-in, Sotatsu would have visited 33-gendo just in front of Yogen-in, where there are 1001 thousand armed avalokiteshwaras  and 28 guarding god statues along with Wind God and Thunder God.

He is said  to be inspired by their brave figure.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, wind-god-and-thunder-god

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji.thunder-god

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, wind-god-and-thunder-god

Being Zen temple, you can enjoy valuable Zen style (ink painting) sliding door panels around Hojo(Abbot’s chambers).
They are mostly Kaiho Yushou’s important cultural  property works, also super-high quality digital remastered reproductions.

That doesn’t matter, thanks to the advancement of technology, we can see them as they were at that time, without glass cases.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji,

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

 

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

shoin4

Now let’s move to the Hatto(Dharma Hall).

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

You must be overwhelmed by two dragons on the ceiling.

This painting commemorates the 800-year anniversary of Kennin-ji’s founding.

This huge painting was created in the gymnasium of an elementary school in Hokkaido and
took the artist, Koizumi Jusaku,just under two years to complete.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, dragon

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, dragon

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, dragon

Moving back to Hojo, let’s enjoy pieceful dry landscape garden.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

Then while walking towards rooms backside, you will be heart warmed by these Zen paintings.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, wind-god-and-thunder-god

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, wind-god-and-thunder-god

Inside garden.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji

In the backside large tatami room, I met “Wind God and Thunder God” again in the folding style this time.

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, wind-god-and-thunder-god

japan, kyoto, kennin-ji, wind-god-and-thunder-god

I really like Kennin-ji, made up my mind to come back soon.

For more information: KENNIN-JI

 

Yogen-in Temple

Yogen-in Temple is a Buddhist temple  located in Higashiyama Ward, Kyoto City

It was  constructed by Lady Yodo(Toyotomi Hideyoshi’s concubine) in 1594 in remembrance of her father Nagamasa Azai, and like other old temples, it has a long complicated history.

One of the unique  points of Yogen-in is its luck to preserve the paintings on the sliding partitions and cedar-board doors as they were at that time, moreover, you can see them without glass cases.

I went there to meet Tawaraya Sotatsu’s “White Elephant” and my wish finally realized.

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

This is the main hall.

japan,kyoto,yogen-in

You will be  greeted by these lions painted on ceder-doors.

“Shi-shi Lion” by Tawaraya Sotatsu.  17th century.japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

At the end of a long wooden corridor, you can see these huge white elephants.

“White elephant” by Tawaraya Sotatsu. 17th century.japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

The other side of lion doors, there exists “Wave and Giraffe”.

“Wave and Giraffe” by Tawaraya Sotatsu. 17th century.japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, artgirafferight

On main room’s sliding screens, you can see another important cultural property, Tawaraya Sotatsu’s “Pine Trees”.

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

I bought this set of postcards.

japan,kyoto,yogen-in,tawarawa-sotatsu,rimpa, art

So happy to see Sotatsu I have been longing for.

japan,kyoto,yogen-in

Just in front of Yogen-in Temple, is the famous Sanjusangen-do Temple.

japan,kyoto,yogen-in, 33gen-do

For more information :Yogen-in

Ippodo Main Store

Ippodo is the name of a distributor of Japanese green tea , and everybody know its name.

However, this Main Store in Kyoto is very special and maybe even avid tea drinkers are likely to
get an experience they’ve never had before.

japan, kyoto, tea, ippodo

Unlike other shops in department stores, here you can choose directly from the tea pot.
Gentle shop staff will help you find your taste.

japan, kyoto, tea, ippodo

japan, kyoto, tea, ippodo

Here in Main Store, there is also a tea room, where you can enjoy high quality tea with the perfectly paired sweets.

japan, kyoto, tea, ippodo

Tea set is served on a tray like this, you will make tea yourself.
Of course with the instruction of the shop assistant, because temperature of the boiled water and extraction time differs according to the tea type.

It’s nice to concentrate on making tea and taste, you will know the difference.

japan, kyoto, tea, ippodo

This is my friend’s set.

japan, kyoto, tea, ippodo

I found Ippodo has their shop also in New York.

japan, kyoto, tea, ippodo

For more information; IPPODO

Hydrangeas in June

If asked the flower of June, we definitely say “hydrangea”.

While walking, I bump into various hydrangeas in front of neighborhood houses.

It’s really fun to see lots of types of hydrangea, feeling the coming of early summer.

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

Since hydrangea has been the popular motif for paintings, there are many gardens famous for hydrangeas.

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

japan, hydrangea,flower

hydrandea11

japan, hydrangea,flower

It’s so impressive having just one or two flowers in a glass.

japan, hydrangea,flower

Hasegawa Tohaku at Chishakuin

Histories of temples are always deeply connected with the power of a supreme ruler at that time.
Chishakuin is no exception.

Chishakuin’s origin has a long history and formerly located near Koyasan.
After suffering persecution by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, it was founded at present location in Kyoto in 1601, with support from Tokugawa Ieyasu.
After the complete fall of the Toyotomi family,  Chishakuin gained Shounji nearby, formally built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi.

japan,art, chishakuin,kyoto

japan,art, chishakuin,kyoto

japan,kyoto,chishakuin

japan,art, chishakuin,kyoto

Besides its history, I wanted to see famous Hasegawa Tohaku’s sliding screen paintings there.
And I came to know another interesting episode in history…

Paintings of Hasegawa Tohaku and his disciples are well reserved at the Gallery, and you can enjoy them without glass cases.

These magnificent paintings were originally painted to decorate the Shounji, a temple built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, in memory of his son who died at the age of three.
Thanks to the Tokugawa Ieyasu’s support, Shounji’s panels and screens survived the fires and thefts at Toyotomi’s fall.

National Treasure “Cherry Trees” by  Hasegawa Kyuzo.

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,cherry,chishakuin

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,cherry,chishakuin

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,cherry,chishakuin

National Treasure “Maple Trees” by Hasegawa Tohaku.

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,maple,chishakuin

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,maple,chishakuin

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,maple,chishakuin

National Treasure “Cherry Trees” was painted Hasegawa Kyuzo, Tohaku’s son, at the age of 25. However, Kyuzo was dead next year.

In deep grief, Tohaku painted “Maple Trees” (also designated as National Treasure) in memory of his son.
Hideyoshi and Tohaku experienced the same sorrow of losing their prospective young sons.

“Pine Tree and Flowering Plants” by Hasegawa Tohaku.

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,pine tree,chishakuin

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,cherry,chishakuin

japan,art, hasegawatohaku,cherry,chishakuin

After appreciating precious paintings, another highlight is its beautiful garden.

japan,art, chishakuin, kyoto, garden

You can stay as long as you want.

japan,art, chishakuin, kyoto, garden

japan,art, chishakuin, kyoto, garden

japan,art, chishakuin, kyoto, garden

Main Hall is gorgeous and solemn.

japan,art, chishakuin,kyoto

japan,art, chishakuin,kyoto

japan,art, chishakuin,kyoto

In this season, a lot of hydrangeas bloom in backyard.

japan,art, chishakuin,kyoto

For more information: Chishakuin

 

 

Kagizen Main Store

When in central Kyoto, shijo-kawaramachi, I recommend you to drop in Kagizen Main Store.

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

Kagizen has continued 15 generations to its current family head, and nearly 300 years since its establishment.

Like the numerous long-established sweet shops in Kyoto, the sweets have been offered to common shoppers, and temple priests alike, but being situated in Gion, their sweets have been enjoyed widely in sphere of the cultured writers, artists, and patrons, along with the “Geisha” women.

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

Carefully selected ingredients as its base, they are the hand-works of craftsmen employing the simple recipe handed down through the generations with great care.

It’s so enjoyable just looking around these beautiful sweets on display.

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

Here in Main store, there is also a tea room.

For the first time, you’d better try their most popular menu, Kuzukiri (kudzu starch noodles)
It’s pricey, but worth experience.

It is served like this.

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

Chilled starch noodles and black sweet brown sugar syrup are set this stacked cases.

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

Dip noodles into the syrup, and enjoy.

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

Just looking these beautiful sweets will make you feel elegant!

japan, sweets. kyoto, kagizen

For more information: KAGIZEN

Kokoen Garden

When you visit Himeji Castle, I strongly recommend to drop by Kokoen Garden as well.

Kokoen is not actually a  historical place, but constructed in 1992 at the exact site where Castle Lord’s West Residence had been, next to Himeji Castle.

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

This garden consists of nine different types of gardens, and all of them are designed in the style of Samurai era.

As you see on the map, most of the gardens are “pond-stroll-type”.
While strolling, you may enjoy an hour.

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

Gardens are divided by some gates and walls.

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

Flowers are very well taken care of.

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

This scenery is often used for Japanese historical dramas and movies.

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoenjapan, garden, himeji, kokoen

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

As Kokoen incorporates the view of Himeji Castle, you can enjoy the mood of the Castle Lord!

japan, garden, himeji, kokoen

For more information: KOKO-EN