JAPAN 2018

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Photos © Ruud Leeuw

Japan 2018 Travelogue - Ruud Leeuw

 

KYOTO

Our hotel in Kyoto had very limited facilities, in fact it was the least satisfying hotel ('Grand Japaning Hotel') of
our Japan journey and even finding a place for breakfast nearby was somewhat of a challenge. But by consulting
Google Maps we found the Kyoto cuisine restaurant, Hachisei and it provided an excellent breakfast and warm welcome.

Kyoto, Japan (2018)
'Bistro & Café', our place for breakfast and indeed a very good one. Mind, coffee and bread are relative
expensive commodities here in Japan so this isn't a backstreet budget location.
Adress: 13-27 Chūdōjimae Dachō, Shimogyō-ku, Kyōto-shi, Kyōto-fu 600-8804.

Kyoto cuisine restaurant, Hachisei
Our 'chef' played videos on the laptop promoting sights in Kyoto while she prepared our breakfast.

Kyoto cuisine restaurant, Hachisei.
What I assumed to be her husband is a master chef in such dishes. I would like to know the name of this culinary art.
Is this Mukimono? I've read that it is the traditional Japanese art of decorative garnishing; but this is fruit?
EMAIL
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Kyoto, Japan (2018)
Seijuin Buddhist Temple on the corner of Shimogojocho and a small unnamed street, 6 minutes walking (east) from
Tambaguchi Station, shortly before the Omija Dori. We were heading north in a warm drizzle, very humid conditions.

Kyoto, Japan (2018)
We were zigzagging our way north-east, toward Nishiki Market, via the small backroads

Kyoto is most well known in Japanese history for being the former Imperial capital of Japan for over one thousand years.
Foreign spellings for the city's name have included Kioto, Miaco and Meaco, utilised mainly by Dutch cartographers.
The Hamaguri rebellion of 1864 burnt down 28.000 houses in the city which showed the rebels' dissatisfaction towards the Tokugawa Shogunate. The subsequent move of the Emperor to Tokyo, in 1869, weakened the economy.
The modern city of Kyoto was formed on 01Apr1889.
The construction of Lake Biwa Canal in 1890 was one measure taken to revive the city. The population of the city exceeded one million in 1932.

There was some consideration by the United States of targeting Kyoto with an atomic bomb at the end of World War II because, as an intellectual center of Japan, it had a population large enough to possibly persuade the emperor to surrender. In the end, at the insistence of Henry L. Stimson, Secretary of War in the Roosevelt and Truman administrations, the city was removed from the list of targets and replaced by Nagasaki.
The city was largely spared from conventional bombing as well, although small-scale air raids did result in casualties.
As a result, the Imperial City (Emeritus) of Kyoto is one of the few Japanese cities that still have an abundance of prewar buildings, such as the traditional townhouses known as machiya. However, modernization is continually breaking down the traditional Kyoto in favor of newer architecture, such as the Kyōto Station complex.
en.wikipedia.org:_Kyoto
en.wikipedia.org:_Outline_of_Kyoto

Kyoto, Japan (2018)
Just something that caught my eye

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NISHIKI MARKET

Nishiki Market, Kyoto, Japan
It is a long and covered (and steaming!) market street. A lot of the food did not look appetizing to me.

Nishiki Market, Kyoto
Note the motorcycle in his shop.

Nishiki Market, Kyoto
Difficult to make out what is what..

Nishiki Market (Nishiki Ichiba, literally 'brocade market') is a marketplace in downtown Kyoto, located on a road one block north and parallel to Shijō Street and west of Teramachi Street (Teramachi-dōri).
Rich with history and tradition, the market is renowned as the place to obtain many of Kyoto's famous foods and goods.
en.wikipedia.org:_Nishiki_Market

Nishiki Market, Kyoto
Snoopy Store

Nishiki Market, Kyoto

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Temple at the far end (for us) of Nishikikoji-dori Street
Kyoto, Japan (2018)
Nishiki-Tenmangu Shrine

Kyoto, Japan (2018)
So much to see here in this moderate sized shrine: something like instructions to young girls?
And a frightingly weird sort of little dragon on the water basin, where one pours water as a religious tribute.

Kyoto, Japan (2018)

Kyoto, Japan (2018)

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Kyoto, Japan (2018)

Kyoto, Japan (2018)

Kyoto, Japan (2018)
Again, the modern and the traditional dress

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Maruzen Bookstore, Kyoto (2018)
Maruzen Bookstore, Kyoto. Came away with some very nice titles here!

Maruzen Bookstore, Kyoto (2018)
Even in the bookstore the wandering eye never rests..

The lucky cat..
That waving cat is everywhere! I was told it is also common in China.

The maneki-neko (literally 'beckoning cat') is a common Japanese figurine (lucky charm, talisman) which is often believed to bring good luck to the owner. In modern times, they are usually made of ceramic or plastic.
The figurine depicts a cat (traditionally a calico Japanese Bobtail) beckoning with an upright paw, and is usually displayed in-often at the entrance of-shops, restaurants, pachinko parlors and other businesses.
Some of the sculptures are electric or battery-powered and have a slow-moving paw beckoning.

To some Westerners (Italians and Spaniards are notable exceptions) it may seem as if the maneki-neko is waving rather than beckoning. This is due to the difference in gestures and body language recognized by some Westerners and the Japanese.
The Japanese beckoning gesture is made by holding up the hand, palm down, and repeatedly folding the fingers down and back, thus the cat's appearance. Some maneki-neko made specifically for some Western markets will have the cat's paw facing upwards, in a beckoning gesture that is more familiar to most Westerners
en.wikipedia.org_:Maneki-neko

Kyoto, Japan (2018)
This is indeed a frustration and the footpaths are often crowded by people who don't keep left or right while walking.

 


 

INTERNATIONAL MANGA MUSEUM, KYOTO

International Manga Museum, Kyoto

International Manga Museum, Kyoto

International Manga Museum, Kyoto

International Manga Museum, Kyoto

International Manga Museum, Kyoto

The Kyoto International Manga Museum is housed in a building which is the former Tatsuike Elementary School.
The museum opened on 25Nov2006.
Its collection of 300.000 items includes such varieties as Meiji period magazines and postwar rental books.
The museum is a public-private partnership of Kyoto Seika University and the city of Kyoto.
The museum is divided into a number of public zones. One is the gallery zone; another is the research zone; the third is the collection zone.
There are permanent and special exhibits, a Tatsuike history room, a museum shop, and a kissaten. The 200m of stacks hold 50.000 volumes in the 'manga wall', which can be taken down and read freely.

There are various places for reading the manga in the collection – the halls have various seats, and there are some reading rooms, together with some outdoor benches.
On the first floor, there is a room with children's manga for young children and their parents. In front of the museum, there is also a large lawn with artificial turf; on nice days young couples often lie on the lawn, reading manga from the collection.
en.wikipedia.org:_Kyoto_International_Manga_Museum

International Manga Museum, Kyoto
International Manga Museum, Kyoto

Int'l Manga Museum, Kyoto


 

NIJO-JO CASTLE, KYOTO

Kyoto, Japan (2018)
It was a 30-40 minutes walk from the Nishiki Market area to Nijo Castle. Fortunately, it had stopped raining and
the sun came out rather splendidly. We considered renting bicycles but this would not have helped our
street photography, which is a main goal of our travelling activities.

Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto (2018)

Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto (2018)

Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto (2018)
'In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the Meiji Restoration'.

The Meiji Restoration,  also known as the Meiji Renovation, Revolution, Reform, or Renewal, was an event that restored practical imperial rule to the Empire of Japan in 1868 under Emperor Meiji.
Although there were ruling Emperors before the Meiji Restoration, the events restored practical abilities and consolidated the political system under the Emperor of Japan.
en.wikipedia.org:_Meiji_Restoration

Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto (2018)

Nijō Castle is a flatland castle in Kyoto. The castle consists of two concentric rings (Kuruwa) of fortifications, the Ninomaru Palace, the ruins of the Honmaru Palace, various support buildings and several gardens.
The surface area of the castle is 275.000 square metres (27.5 ha; 68 acres),
It is one of the seventeen Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
In 1601, Tokugawa Ieyasu, the founder of the Tokugawa shogunate, ordered all the feudal lords in Western Japan to contribute to the construction of Nijō Castle, which was completed during the reign of Tokugawa Iemitsu in 1626. Parts of Fushimi Castle, such as the main tower and the karamon, were moved here in 1625–26.
The Tokugawa shogunate used Edo as the capital city, but Kyoto continued to be the home of the Imperial Court. Kyoto Imperial Palace is located north-east of Nijō Castle.
The central keep, or Tenshu, was struck by lightning and burned to the ground in 1750.

The 3.300-square-meter Ninomaru Palace consists of 5 connected separate buildings and is built almost entirely of Hinoki cypress. The decoration includes lavish quantities of gold leaf and elaborate wood carvings, intended to impress visitors with the power and wealth of the shoguns. Low-ranking visitors were received in the outer regions of the Ninomaru, whereas high-ranking visitors were shown the more subtle inner chambers.

To protect the occupants from sneak attacks and assassins, the builders constructed the floors of the corridors in such a way as to squeak like birds when anyone walks on them! And after hundreds of years they still do!
en.wikipedia.org:_Nijo_Castle
en.wikipedia.org:_Historic_Monuments_of_Ancient_Kyoto_(Kyoto,_Uji_and_Otsu_Cities)

Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto (2018)
Nijo-jo Castle, Kyoto (2018)
Good news, bad news: this castle had lovely decorations, but photography was not allowed..
Note that Japan never had tigers and the decorations were inspired by paintings and drawings from China.

Into the garden:
Nijo Castle, Kyoto

Nijo Castle, Kyoto

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Kyoto, Japan (2018)
By this time the feet were very tired and hailing a cab was in order to save some energy.

Taxi in Kyoto
I was quite shocked for the lack of technology I often found here, such as the Japanese cab drivers filling
out forms of their rides. Still a country of carbon copies, stamps, paper receipts and cash payments.

 


 

KYOTO TOWER (KT), KYOTO

Kyoto Tower, Kyoto, Japan
Kyoto Tower is quite striking. It is also a good place to have a meal, in de basement (lunch & dinner).
There is also a Starbucks here, where we had breakfast one morning: good coffee and the day's planning decided on.
On the 3rd floor we also (finally) found a facility to rent a portable wifi ('Ninja Wifi'), an excellent facility.

Dining at Kyoto Tower (basement)

Dining at Kyoto Tower (basement)
A lovely smile, a cold beer and a good meal: magic!

Dining at Kyoto Tower (basement)
Surprisingly I found a lot of fried food on the menus everywhere

Up, up and ... up!
Kyoto Tower, Kyoto, Japan
Note the Higashihonganji Temple just visible; unfortunately we did not have time to visit that large temple complex

Kyoto Tower is a steel, observation tower and is the tallest structure in Kyoto, with its observation deck at 100 metres (328 ft) and its spire at 131 metres (430 ft).
The 800-ton tower stands atop a 9-story building, which houses a 3-star hotel and several stores.
The entire complex stands opposite Kyoto Station.
Construction began in 1963 on the former site of Kyoto's central post office and was completed near the end of 1964.
Kyoto Tower has been the subject of controversy since it was in its planning phase. Many believed the needle-shaped spire was too modern looking for the ancient capital.  Many foreigner visitors who come to Kyoto seeking an elusive sense of old Japan are surprised to see both the modern, glass and steel Kyoto Station and the imposing steel tower directly across the street.
The first four floors of the building house several commercial areas, including a bookstore; obviously poorly signposted as I did not note its presence. Pity.
In the basement there is a lively food court.
en.wikipedia.org:_Kyoto_Tower

Kyoto Tower, Kyoto, Japan
Taxistand in front of Kyoto Train Terminal


This is the portable wifi we rented here; about 8 euro a day and returned at Narita Int'l Airport upon our departure
Prtable 'ninja' wifi


 

INARI SHINTO SHRINE

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018
There are many Inari shrines in Japan. The deity is also worshipped in some Buddhist temples.

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

An Inari shrine is a Shinto shrine to worship the god Inari. There are many Inari shrines in Japan. The deity is also worshiped in some Buddhist temples.
According to a 2007 report from Kokugakuin University, 2970 shrines are dedicated to Inari.
The entrance to an Inari shrine is usually marked by one or more vermilion torii and some statues of kitsune, which are often adorned with red yodarekake (votive bibs) by worshippers out of respect. This red color has come to be identified with Inari, because of the prevalence of its use among Inari shrines and their torii.
The main shrine is the Fushimi Inari-taisha in Fushimi-ku, Kyoto, where the paths up the shrine hill are marked in this fashion.

This shrine sits at the base of a mountain also named Inari which is 233 metres (764 ft) above sea level, and includes trails up the mountain to many smaller shrines which span 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) and take approximately 2 hours to walk up.
First and foremost, Inari is the god of rice, but merchants and manufacturers have traditionally worshiped Inari as the patron of business. Each of the torii at Fushimi Inari Taisha has been donated by a Japanese business.
en.wikipedia.org:_Inari_shrine
en.wikipedia.org:_Fushimi_Inari-taisha

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018
The difference between Yukata and Kimono dress is explained further down

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018
I rather like the Torii gates looking down better with the Japanese texts, but they only signify sponsor names

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018
Foxes (kitsune), regarded as the messengers, are often found in Inari shrines.
One attribute is a key (for the rice granary) in their mouths.

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

Inari Shinto Shrine, 2018

I then went back to some 'kimono hunting', I admire such a colourful tradition!
Kimono's in Japan, 2018
The women here wear a Yakuta, as is explained below. I will however keep using the more familiar term 'kimono'.

'Yukata and kimono are traditional Japanese clothing. Most of the people just know the names yukata and kimono, but hardly know the actual difference between the two.
The basic difference that can be seen between yukata and kimono, is in their fabric. Well, yukata comes in cotton fabric and a kimono dress comes in silk fabric.
Another difference that can be seen, is that yukata is worn during the summer season. They are also worn as bathrobes in places such as hot springs. Literally meaning, bathing clothes, yukata has been derived from ‘Yu’, which means bath, and ‘katabira’, which means under clothing.
Literally meaning, a ‘thing to wear’, kimono has been derived from ‘Ki’, which means ‘wear’, and ‘mono’, which means ‘thing’.

Unlike yuakata clothing, kimono clothing has at least two collars. Of the two collars, one sits close to the neck, and the other one is placed a bit lower, so that the two collars are seen distinctively.
While using kimono, socks will have to be worn. It means that unique shoes, like zori or geta, will have to be worn with kimono clothing. Although, this is not mandatory while wearing a yukata dress.
Both men and women normally wear kimono. On the other hand, yukata is worn more by women than men.
In terms of cost, the kimono is more expensive than yukata.
Moreover, one can see that the Kimono designs are very unique, and one will not come across two kimonos of the same type.'
difference-between-yukata-and-kimono

Kimono's in Japan

Kimono's in Japan

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After a quick lunch at the very nice 'Vie de France' in the train station, we're waiting for the 'brown line' back to Kyoto.
Inari to Kyoto by train

Reading in public
A nice change, for once to see someone reading a book instead of browsing the smartphone.

Kyoto

I became very tired of getting my paper railpass out of my rucksack and having to show it to these booths, not
able to scan it electronically. The paper pass has large dimensions, not able to store it in a trouser pocket or
jacket.
So each time after having taken it out, shown it, I had to store it back in the backpack, zip & click, hoist the pack again on my rucksack and returned ton the flow of people. Checking in and checking out, point of departure and arrival.
It seems like a minor inconvenience but combined with (often) a surrounding crowd, having to visit a seperate
ticket desk (standing in line) for a seat reservation on the Shinkansen, navigating so many steps over considerable distances in these train stations, these minor inconveniences wore me out. The jetlag and heat did not help either.
I don't feel fell in crowds, but there is no avoiding them here in Japan (in Takyama I felt much better).
Someone fitter than me may not think twice about all this; I had trouble adjusting here.

 


 

KYOTO, continued..

Kyoto, Japan - travel report (2018)
The cat with the wave, maneki-neko, either the left or the right paw.

Kyoto, Japan - travel report (2018)
Renting a kimono (or yukata) and matching slippers. I asked if it was for a special occasion like a wedding, but it wasn't..


KYOTO IMPERIAL PALACE

Kyoto Imperial Palace (2018)
Former residence of the Imperial family. It is a huge complex.

Kyoto Imperial Palace (2018)
Ornate gates, the more important the visitors were they were led through nicer gates to a nicely decorated waiting room.

Kyoto Imperial Palace (2018)
We were not allowed to enter any of the buildings, except a peep inside sometimes. Rather boring I thought.

The Kyoto Imperial Palace is one of the active palaces of the Emperor of Japan and has the longest history as the capital of Japan.
The Emperor declared Meiji Restoration and Charter Oath at this place in 1868. The following year, the Emperor moved into Edo castle, currently Tokyo Imperial Palace, but he ordered the preservation of the Kyoto Imperial Palace in 1877, which is still used as an active palace.
Today, the grounds are open to the public.
en.wikipedia.org:_Kyoto_Imperial_Palace
Imperial Palace, Kyoto


Kyoto Imperial Palace (2018)
The guide commenting on the Japanese decorations of tigers.., which
were non existent in Japan. We did not get to see the decorations themselves.

Kyoto Imperial Palace (2018)
I did like the palace garden very much!
This is the Gonaitei Garden, it is the Emperor’s private garden. The meandering stream flowing through
the garden is spanned by earthen, stone and wooden bridges. Very nice!

Kyoto Imperial Palace (2018)
It has a fairy tale quality, don't you think?

Kyoto Imperial Palace (2018)
Outside the palaces, but within the walls of the complex, there is parkland where one can quietly read
a book or practise ones dance moves by the music of a small radio.

The entire complex has several palaces besides the Imperial Palace, such as the Omiya Palace and the Sento Imperial
Palace, but we decided to head for the Kinkaku-ji Temple. We did not want to risk another 'empty' palace.

KINKAKU-JI TEMPLE
Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto (2018)

Kinkaku-ji (literally 'Temple of the Golden Pavilion'), officially named Rokuon-ji (literally 'Deer Garden Temple'), is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto. It is one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually.
But while we encountered deer at several temples, I did not see them here!

Kinkaku-ji's history dates back to 1397.
During the Ōnin war (1467–1477), all of the buildings in the complex aside from the pavilion were burned down. On 02Jul1950, at 2:30 am, the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk.
The present pavilion structure dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt.
en.wikipedia.org:_Kinkaku-ji

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto (2018)
We were lucky to find an afternoon sun emphasizing the glorious glow to this temple.

Nijo Castle
We were not alone...

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto (2018)
Truly 'the gold-coloured temple'.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto (2018)
Fudodo Buddhist Temple

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto (2018)
Other shrines. The more weight (and value) in a coin, the better the chance to throw it in the pot for good fortune.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto (2018)
More kimono's. The mimicking is because he was using sign language to make himself understood in a conversation.

Kinkaku-ji Temple, Kyoto (2018)
Harmless pleasure: to have fun with the t-shirt titles, often rather bizar.

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On the bus
Kyoto, Japan (2018)

Kyoto, Japan (2018)
I was glad to get an opportunity to record someone reading a book in public, but when the bus filled up I was
just glad to be able to breath... I felt claustrofobic!
It confirmed my utter dislike for public transport: I can't stand people crowding upon me!

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POTON-CHō

Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)

Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)

Izumo no Okuni (b. ca.1572 - d. ca.1613) was the originator of kabuki theater.
She was believed to be a miko at the Grand Shrine of Izumo who began performing this new style of dancing, singing, and acting in the dry riverbeds of Kyoto.
Okuni grew up in the vicinity of the Izumo shrine, where her father, Nakamura Sanemon, worked as a blacksmith, and where several other family members served. Eventually Okuni joined as a miko, where she was known for her skill in dancing and acting, as well as her beauty.
It was during her performances in Kyoto that she also became known for her performances of nembutsu odori (or nembutsu dance). her particular adaptation tended to be known for its sultriness and sexual innuendo.
Other popular themes for Okuni's acts included humorous skits about lover's trysts at various public establishments and meetings between men and prostitutes.
en.wikipedia.org:_Izumo_no_Okuni

Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)
Japanese people in general are very friendly and helpful.
Stand at a station looking bewildered and someone will ask if you need help and offer directions. Very friendly indeed.

Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)

Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)

Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)

Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)

Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)

But note that modern times are right around the corner:
Poton-cho, Kyoto (2018)

 


 

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Created: 25-Oct-2018
Updated: 18-Nov-2018