Friday, August 24, 2018

hello kitty shinkansen!

Cute Japan

scenic miyajima from the sea

A local oyster farming business offers a boat ride to the oyster beds and near miyajima. The symbolic tori gate is seen, behind which the fabulous shinto shrine, Itsukushima Jinja, stands.

The sea is so close and that gives you a different view and feeling.

an ancient tower stands still in Yamaguchi

Known to be one of the three most beautiful five-roofed pagodas in Japan, this Buddhist tower stands quietly. A Haiku poem inscribed on a slab of rock on the premises of Ruriko-ji temple in Yamaguchi city says,

 early summer

   An old temple nestled in hills

     A traveler stands still at an ancient tower

evening garden

Korakuen garden once in a while is open in the evening. Recommended you go there a little after 6:00 pm and see how the sky changes its colors.

Monday, August 6, 2018

hakusan heisenji is my real favorite

moss-covered Heisenji in Katsuyama, Fukui

to the worshipping hall; behind stands the main hall

moss and criptomeria threes

These two trees are actually one. A  branch that drooped down to the ground due to heavy snow got rooted and the new trunk grew from there.

Some memorable posters at Eiheiji zen temple

Heisenji premises are very large. An excellent local volunteer guide took us around for 2 hours and a half as I asked in advance. We could have spent another hour but should have still missed the excavation site.

My friend and I spent the happiest 2.5 hours. The moss was completely beautiful, green-carpeting the grounds. The history was felt, both glorious and devastating. Not like temples and shrines known to everybody and always crowded with tourists, the temple showed real Japan where indigenous faith named Shinto after Buddhism got to Japan and those introduced from abroad mainly Buddhism found a way to evolve together.

Above all, it is believed that in this place started the worship of Hakusan mountain.

Nearby stands the great zen temple. Well-known as Soto zen sect headquarters and monastery, the temple accepts some 70 young monks in training every year. They come, stay for a few years on average, and then leave. The temple regularly shelters around 150 monks including the trainees. You too can stay there overnight and experience a bit of zen.

But I have to say that my real favorite is Heisen-ji.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

the hill of the Buddha, Makomanai, Sapporo

Renovated by ANDO Tadao. A large cemetery that became attractive thanks to renovation completed a few years ago. Once the Buddha statue sat alone and not effectively focused. Now people pay attention to him and the air surrounding him makes him holly. 

The whole place embodies Hokkaido; the scale is suitable for the large open land in the north of Japan.

Nearby is the outdoor art museum; a great number of sculptures. My favorite was, after all, YASUDA Kan's piece. 

by YASUDA Kan, a Hokkaido-born artist

Nizayama Forest Art Museum

artwork at the approach


special exhibit

inside artwork

legacy from the power plant days

on the hill behind the museum

museum seen from the hill

scenery around the museum

Tucked in a small community where the sky is large, this unique power station-turned art museum was built thanks to the passion of the then town mayor. The town did not have any art museums and the mayor thought it was a pity. The Hokuriku Power Company kindly donated the defunct power station building after the new one was built and when the original one was about to be dismantled. 

Three times a year, the museum holds special exhibitions and during these periods only, you are admitted into the museum.

This time, finally, I managed to come with a younger friend of mine who have often been with my past explorations.

The art by Florian Claar was fantastic; the museum building felt history; and above all we were part of the GHIBLI outlook of the world. We saw the sprawling rice field and thought of where we came from and where we go.