Monthly Archives: August 2016

Good Morning, Ise Shrine!

I went to worship at Ise Shrine, and visited Naiku early in the morning.

Naiku is the most venerable sanctuary in Japan.
Here is a Shinto shrine dedicated to Amaterasu-Omikami, the ancestral Shinto deity of the Imperial family. She was enshrined in Naiku about 2,000 years ago and has been revered as a guardian of Japan.

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

This bridge spans across the Isuzugawa River at the entrance of Naiku and is said to separate a sacred realm from the daily world.
The architectural style of the Ujibashi Bridge is purely Japanese and its length is over 100 meters.

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

Ise Shrine includes 125 shinto shrines, centered around Naiku and Geku.
Its area is roughly the same size as Paris.
More than 1,500 rituals are conducted here yearly to pray for the prosperity of the Imperial family, the peace of the world, and the huge harvest.

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

Here, you can purify your hands with water of Isuzugawa River.

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

At Ise Shrine, shrine gates and other buildings are made of holy cypress trees, and it is so
devine and beautiful.

Shooting is not allowed in the sacred area, so followings are from the official website of Ise Shrine.

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

A divine palace of Amaterasu-Omikami stands here.
The Holy Mirror (a symbol of Amaterasu-Omikami) is enshrined inside the main sacred palace at the innermost courtyard of the main sanctuary and the main palace is enclosed with four rows of wooden fences.

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

Every twenty years, a new divine palace with the same dimensions as the current one is constructed
at an alternate site which is adjacent to the main sanctuary.
It involves about 30 rituals and ceremonies beginning with the ritual cutting of the first trees for the new divine palace.  The sacred apparel, furnishings and divine treasures to be placed inside the sacred palace are also remade.
Once they are prepared, the Holy Mirror (a symbol of Amaterasu-Omikami) is moved to the new sanctuary by the Shrine priests.
This ritual is called Shikinen Sengu. It takes about eight years to conduct all rituals and events.
It is carried out at Geku and other jinja of Ise Shrine as well.

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

The first Shikinen Sengu of Naiku was conducted in 690.
The latest Shikinen Sengu conducted in 2013 was sixty-second.

ise, ise jingu, ise shrine

To feel Japanese religious tradition, Ise Shrine is one of the most recommended places.

For more information: Ise Jingu

Antique Postcards

I’ve got some antique postcards from an antique market.

They are supposed to be of 1930s, and partly embossed.

antique, postcard,1930s

This unique fan design with ancient court people is  partly with gold and silver.

antique, postcard,1930s

antique, postcard,1930s

antique, postcard,1930s

This piece has a handwriting of someone, who seems to be not Japanese.

Maybe he traveled to Japan in 1930s and wrote a letter to his loved one.

antique, postcard,1930s

antique, postcard,1930s

antique, postcard,1930s

This piece is also very unique with dancing kimono ladies with circled scenery…..

キモノエンボス

antique, postcard,1930s

antique, postcard,1930s

antique, postcard,1930s

antique, postcard,1930s

antique, postcard,1930s

I’m always so attracted to these kind of retro-cultured pieces.

 

Shosei-en Garden

Shosei-en Garden is a detached garden of Higashi Hongan-ji Temple, and it is located within 10 minutes walk from Kyoto station!

It dates back in 1641, with support of Tokugawa Shogunate.

This beautiful garden was designed by Ishikawa Jozan, and it has been a retreat palace for noble priests of Higashi Hongan-ji.

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

This huge space consists of many buildings, tea houses, monuments, and various types of garden structure, so you will completely forget that you are in the middle of the city.

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

Renchi-tei(studio) and the pond.

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

Boka-kaku(Ceremonial Gate) .

2 stories high building to enjoy cherry blossom scenery.

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

From the Kaito-ro (Chinese corridor-style bridge)

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

Looking at the fish swimming.

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

Kyoto Tower and the garden.

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

Nice place for the birds, too.

kyoto, shoseien,kikokutei,garden

For more information: Higashi Hongan-ji

Sennyu-ji Temple

Sennyu-ji is Japanese imperial temple, which has graves of successive  emperors.

It dates back in 1226, however, completely destroyed during civil war in mid 15th century.
Restored in 17th century, and in 1818, Gozasho ( emperor’s rest house) was also relocated here.

Grand Gate (Important Cultural Asset)

kyoto, sennyu-ji

Behind the gate, you will see the Dharma Hall.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

Dharma Hall and Reliquary Hall.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

Huge Nirvana drawing is preserved here and opened once a year in spring.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

On the back side of Dharma Hall, there is a white Buddhist deity of compassion painted by Kano Tanyu.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

Inside this gate, you can go inside of Gozasho( emperor’s rest house).

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

Beautiful garden.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

Emperor’s room.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

Even washbasin in the garden has 16 petals chrysanthemum design(emperor’s crest).

kyoto, sennyu-ji

Paintings have elegant dynastic atmosphere.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

At the far end, there is the graveyard, but not open to public.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

There is a small temple which enshrines deity of compassion, which is called Yang Kuei Fei Kannon.
When visiting Sennyu-ji, it’s nice to meet this rare deity, too.

kyoto, sennyu-ji

kyoto, sennyu-ji

For more information: Sennyu-ji

Fireworks in mid-summer

From end of July to mid of August,  fireworks displays are taken place throughout Japan.

Some of them are very popular to be broadcast on TV.

In this period of the year, there is a ritual to welcome ancestral souls, so fireworks are considered to be one of those occasions.

I went to “Yodo-river fireworks festival” in Osaka this year.

People waiting for the opening…

japan, fireworks

Fireworks were continuously launched for about an hour, and that was really amazing.

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

japan, fireworks

At the finale, the sky was as bright as daytime!

13

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace preserves the look and ambiance of the Palace as it had been in the time of Japan’s ancient imperial dynasties.

Imperial Palace is surrounded by tall walls and huge square called Kyoto Gyoen National Garden.

As of July/26/2016, Imperial Palace became open to public anytime while opening hours.
(Former, reservation needed to enter)

You cannot go in the buildings, however, walking along the spacious court yard and gardens is so exciting.

 

Kyoto Gyoen National Garden.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Kenreimon Gate.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Gishumon Gate.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Car Port.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

New Car Port.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Kenreimon Gate from inside.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Jomeimon Gate and Shishinden inside.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Shishinden.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Kenshunmon Gate.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Nikkamon Gate and Gekkamon Gate in the back.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Buildings are solemn, simple but refined.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Garden.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palacekyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

Again in Kyoto Gyoen National Park.

kyoto, gosho, imperial palace

For more information: Kyoto Imperial Palace

Entoku-in Temple

Entokuin was built by Kita-no-Mandokoro (wife of Toyotomi Hideyoshi), and she spent her last years here after Hideyoshi’s death.
It is a sub-temple of Kodai-ji Temple, and has some of Fushimi Castle where they used to live in.

kyoto, entoku-in, garden

kyoto, entoku-in, garden

It has been known to have elegance gardens.
The North Garden is designated as a national scenic spot.

kyoto, entoku-in, garden

garden3

kyoto, entoku-in, garden

kyoto, entoku-in, garden

You can enjoy a bowl of green tea and  Hideyoshi’s memorial sweets, silently looking at the garden.

kyoto, entoku-in, garden

Here in this temple, there is a unique sliding door paintings by Hasegawa Tohaku.
It is painted on the patterned paper.

tohaku

Conspicuous Yasaka tower is just around the corner.

kyoto, entoku-in, yasaka-tower

For more information: Entoku-in Temple

 

Shinshin-do Cafe in downtown Kyoto

If you are looking for a reasonable yet attractive cafe in downtown Kyoto, Shijo-Kawaramachi area, why don’t you drop in Shinshin-do?

kyoto, cage, shinshin-do

They have the showcase in front of cafe.

kyoto, cage, shinshin-do

Inside is cozy little place.

Nice to have a quick rest to continue further tour!

kyoto, cage, shinshin-do

This cafe is so small so please don’t miss it.

Map

 

Funda-in (Sesshu-ji) garden

Funda-in is a sub-temple of Tofuku-ji Temple, and often called by the name of “Sesshu-ji” Temple.

It is famous for its garden, originally laid out by Sesshu(1420-1506), a famous master of landscape ink painting at that time.

Entrance.

kyoto, tofuku-ji, funda-in, garden, sesshu

The garden is called “Garden of a Crane and a Turtle,” and is one of the oldest dry landscape gardens in Kyoto.

Like other old temples in Kyoto, Funda-in suffered a dramatic history, original buildings were burnt down not once, but twice.
They were  reconstracted in 1899, and also the garden was restored perfectly by renowned gardener Shigemori Mirei in 1939.

kyoto, tofuku-ji, funda-in, garden, sesshu

kyoto, tofuku-ji, funda-in, garden, sesshu

Tea house “Tonan-tei” was also restored in 1969.

kyoto, tofuku-ji, funda-in, garden, sesshu

It is really breathtaking looking through the garden through this round-shape window.

window

kyoto, tofuku-ji, funda-in, garden, sesshu

Why don’t you have a bowl of green powdered tea , sitting on the veranda, looking the beautiful garden?

kyoto, tofuku-ji, funda-in, garden, sesshu

kyoto, tofuku-ji, funda-in, garden, sesshu

Confectionery is named “Sesshu”, and drawing design is on the face.

kyoto, tofuku-ji, funda-in, garden, sesshu

For more information: Funda-in

Arisugawa-tei House

Arisugawa-tei House is located next to Kyoto Imperial Palace.

Arisugawa-no-miya is the name of a house of an imperial prince that existed for about 300years
since 1625. Now this house is well preserved by Heian Jogakuin St. Agnes Girls’ School.

Usually, it is not open to public, however, there are a few occasions we can look in the house to imagine the noble lives at that time….

The gate is very solemn made of copper, brass, and cypress.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

The door is a gorgeous single cypress plate.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

This is the guest space of the house, so spacious and refined.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

room5

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

In the middle of the room, there is a wooden floor Noh stage.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

Garden was designed by famous garden designer, Ogawa Jihei.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

Refreshing to look through glass windows.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

garden2

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

Another part of the house, there are private living spaces.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

Inner garden.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, garden

St. Agnes Church in front of Arisugawa-tei House.

kyoto, arisugawa-tei house, church

It’s nice to take advantage of special occasions like this.

For more information: Arisugawa-tei House