Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kyoto 京都市, Japan

Hello, thanks for coming. This post shows photos from two evening walks in the city of Kyoto and an afternoon walk in one of the beautiful Imperial Villas' gardens. I hope you enjoy the photos. They were taken in October 2014
Kyoto Tower. The first thing you see when you come out of Kyoto station

Grey against grey

Tall and proud

Evening stretches
there were a lot of cranes around the temples near the station. Great to see them

Singular building near the station

Beautiful at night

Giant mushroom

More than three centuries ago, when Kyoto was the capital of Japan, three magnificent gardens were created there for the imperial court

Today these three gardens - those of the Sento Imperial Palace (Sento Gosho), the Katsura Imperial Villa (Katsura Rikyu), and the Shugakuin Imperial Villa (Shugakuin Rikyu) - are among the most celebrated in Japanese garden art

This garden is Shugakuin Rikyu. Shugaku-in Imperial Villa (修学院離宮 Shugaku-in Rikyū), or Shugaku-in Detached Palace, is a set of gardens and outbuildings (mostly tea-houses) in the hills of the eastern suburbs of Kyoto

Beautiful sliding panels

So lovely you have to see it twice! 
The Upper Garden contained a large artificial pond, created by building an earthen dam across a ravine; the pond contains a number of small islands. Unlike the typical Japanese garden, it is a very large stroll garden, making extensive use of the technique of "borrowed scenery"

We were there a bit early for the full autumn colours, but it still didn't disappoint

A simple pavilion of several rooms and wooden porch provides an excellent vantage point, with superb views of the pond, its islands, and the surrounding Kyoto hills

The pond is ornamented with Chitose-bashi, a relatively ornate bridge of two large, stone piers connected by a central walkway, each capped with a wooden pavilion, one of which sports a Chinese phoenix of gilt copper

On fire!

Walking around the lake

Paradise must be something like this....

It woudn't be complete without a bridge


Later that evening in the centre of Kyoto....

....the sunset was simply....


On the way to our hotel, walking to the metro, these lovely young women, dressed in traditional Maiko style, were happy to give me a final photo of the day. A beautiful finale!

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Nara (奈良市), Kansai, Japan

Hello. This is my third post from my trip to Japan in October 2014. It is dedicated to Nara. We travelled there from Kyoto. A big thank you to our dear friend Keiko for being our guide. Nara has a lovely feel to it. Relaxed and lovely places to see. Last time I said I would post photos from Kyoto. I'll do that next time. I hope you enjoy the photos. Do go to Nara if you get the chance

Nara is the capital city of Nara Prefecture located in the Kansai region of Japan

Nara was the capital of Japan from 710 to 784, lending its name to the Nara period.

Never too old to worship

Kōfuku-ji (興福寺) is a Buddhist temple that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples

The temple is the national headquarters of the Hossō school and is one of the eight Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List

The deer are a delight. They are considered to be messengers of the Gods

Japanese stand-off!! David and Goliath

Attracts the ladies!

Love the backcloth

The deer are a delight but they can be a little ovwhelming!
Schoolkids practising their English with me

Lots of them at the temple

Can't sit down for lunch!

Delighted and delightful

When this temple came into view it took my breath away. It is majestic

Tōdai-ji (東大寺?, Eastern Great Temple) is a Buddhist temple complex, that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples. The Great Buddha Hall (Daibutsuden) has been rebuilt twice after fire. The current building was finished in 1709, and although immense—57 m long and 50 m wide—it is actually 30% smaller than its predecessor. Until 1998, it was the world's largest wooden building

Focused on the lesson

According to the earliest Indian sutra's Pindola Bharadvaja was one of four Arhats asked by the Buddha to remain in the world to propagate Buddhist law (Dharma). Each of the four was associated with one of the four compass directions

Pindola is said to have excelled in the mastery of occult and psychic powers. He was once remonstrated by Buddha for misusing his powers to impress simple, ignorant people. In Japan, Pindola is called Binzuru (賓頭盧?), a short form of Bindora Baradaja (賓度羅跋囉惰闍?), and is arguably the most popular of all the Arhats. The monastery refectory near Todai-ji Temple has a large wooden statue of Binzuru, depicting him seated in the lotus position. Statues of him are usually well worn, since the faithful follow the custom of rubbing a part of the effigy corresponding to the sick parts of their bodies, as he is reputed to have the gift of healing

Daibutsu of Todai-ji

Another Buddha statue

Beautiful Buddha - The Great Buddha statue has been recast several times for various reasons, including earthquake damage. The current hands of the statue were made in the Momoyama Period (1568–1615), and the head was made in the Edo period (1615–1867)

Komokuten, one of the pair of guardians in the Daibutsuden

After practising their English with me. My English is really good now!

Lots of Japanese tourists

On May 20, 1994, the international music festival The Great Music Experience was held at Tōdai-ji, supported by  UNESCO.
Performers included; the Tokyo New Philharmonic Orchestra, X Japan, INXS, Jon Bon Jovi, Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Tomoyasu Hotei, Roger Taylor, classic Japanese drummers, and a Buddhist monk choir

Outside Nara station

Naramachi (奈良町, literally "Nara Town") is the former merchant district, where several traditional residential buildings and warehouses are preserved and open to the public. Boutiques, shops, cafes, restaurants and a few museums now line the district's narrow lanes

Many of Naramachi's buildings in the Edo Period and earlier were machiya, long, narrow "townhouses" that served both as shops and as the living quarters of the local merchants. The store fronts of machiya were often kept narrow in order to save on taxes, which used to be calculated on a property's street access rather than its total area. Today, a handful of machiya have been preserved made open to the public as museums