日本での一年間

April 30, 2009

Kyoto (Nintendo)

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 10:51 pm

You may have heard of a Japanese company called Nintendo (任天堂株式会社). Nintendo is famous for it’s video games. Both it’s game consoles, like the currently popular Wii, and portable game systems, like the Nintendo DS. But you might not know that Nintendo was started in 1889. So, if the company began that long ago, what could they have been doing back before video games? The answer: making playing cards. More specifically, a type of Japanese playing cards with flowers printed on them called hanafuda. The old building of the Nintendo playing card company is still standing in the middle of Kyoto. (The current headquarters of Nintendo is a little bit outside of the city in a bigger, more modern building.)

Nintendo company building

Nintendo company building

Nintendo playing card company

Nintendo playing card company

Nintendo playing card company sign in Japanese. One interesting thing is that the name is read right to left, instead of left to right as it would be written if this sign were made today. It makes this sign look old fashioned

Nintendo playing card company sign in Japanese. One interesting thing is that the name is read right to left, instead of left to right as it would be written if this sign were made today. It makes this sign look old fashioned. Only one word on the sign is read left to right, the word on the upper left side which says "(western) playing cards."

Kyoto (crafts)

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 12:55 am

Kyoto is famous for many traditional things: traditional cuisine (such as kaiseki and wagashi sweets), geisha, and traditional crafts.

Making prayer beads

Making prayer beads. Apparently Kyoto makes all the prayer beads for the whole country.

In a fan shop. Many of these fans were over 10,000 yen (Approx. $100)!

In a fan shop. Many of these fans were over 10,000 yen (Approx. $100)!

Making the fans. It seems like a slow, meticulous job.

Making the fans. It seems like a slow, meticulous job.

You have to put a thin wooden stick in every fold to give the fan stability

You have to put a thin wooden stick in every fold to give the fan stability

Somemore of the fans for sale, with some tourists checking them out

Somemore of the fans for sale, with some tourists checking them out

Lantern shop. Many of these lanterns are made with the name of a person or company and then placed at a shrine, so that the person or company can be blessed

Lantern shop. Many of these lanterns are made with the name of a person or company and then placed at a shrine, so that the person or company can be blessed

Painting traditional pottery in a style called Kiyomizu-yaki (清水焼), as in the Kiyomiziu temple, because they make this style of pottery at the base of the hill the Kiyomiziu temple is on

Painting traditional pottery in a style called Kiyomizu-yaki (清水焼), as in the Kiyomiziu temple, because they make this style of pottery at the base of the hill the Kiyomiziu temple is on

April 29, 2009

Kyoto (Higashi-Honganji)

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 12:23 am

Higashi Honganji (東本願寺) is a very large Buddhist temple, located just a short walk away from Kyoto station, the main train station and portal into the city.

blah blah blah

The main building under repairs, they were using this smaller, but still quite large, building to hold services

la de da

The main building. Shrouded for the repairs. Allegedly, this is one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. Although, in a city susceptible to fires, it's burnt down quite a few times.

April 28, 2009

Kyoto (Nanzen-ji Temple)

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 8:58 am

At the other end of the Philosopher’s Path from the Silver Pavilion is Nanzen-ji temple (南禅寺). One reason Nanzen-ji is popular among Japanese is for it’s aqueduct, which seems a little out of place on the grounds of a Buddhist temple.

The Nanzen-ji Aqueduct

The Nanzen-ji Aqueduct

Another view of the Aqueduct from higher up

Another view of the Aqueduct from higher up

Path at Nanzen-ji

Path at Nanzen-ji

In front of the main building (we arent allowed to take pictures of the building itself)

In front of the main building (we aren't allowed to take pictures of the building itself)

Blossoms by Nanzen-ji agasint the bright, blue sky.

Blossoms by Nanzen-ji against the bright, blue sky.

April 27, 2009

Kyoto (Philosopher’s Path – Part 3)

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 1:38 pm

We found a small shrine as we walked along the Philosopher’s Path. It was nice to go to this little, uncrowded shrine after seeing the popular Silver Pavilion (銀閣寺- ginkaku-ji).

Gate into the shrine

Gate into the shrine

Gate within the shrine

Gate within the shrine

Funny sculpture on the shrine grounds

Funny sculpture on the shrine grounds

A little farther down the path from the shrine was this building. The way the light was going though the trees just made it look so appealing. I dont know what the building is for though.

A little farther down the path from the shrine was this building. The way the light was going though the trees just made it look so appealing. I don't know what the building is for though.

Kyoto (Philosopher’s Path – Part 2)

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 12:46 am

The next part of my walk down the Philosopher’s Path, after going to see the Silver Pavilion, until I reached my next destination.

Back on the path

Back on the path

One of the few blossomed trees

One of the few blossomed trees

Looking at the lantern through the blossom

Looking at the lantern through the blossom

The lantern on its own

The lantern on it's own

The blossoms on their own

The blossoms on their own

The blossom-less condition of most of the path

The blossom-less condition of most of the path

April 26, 2009

Kyoto (Philosopher’s Path – Silver Pavilion)

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 1:45 pm

Ginkaku-ji,The Silver Pavilion (銀閣寺), is at one end of the Philosopher’s Path. It is not actually Silver (unlike the Golden Pavilion [金閣寺], which is actually covered in gold leaf). It is, however, one of Kyoto’s 17 UNESCO World heritage sites.

Walkway to the temple

Walkway to the temple

At Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion

At Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Pavilion

The Silver Pavilion itself, under construction at the time of my visit

The Silver Pavilion itself, under construction at the time of my visit

Ginkaku-ji rock garden

Ginkaku-ji rock garden

Pond

Pond

The path goes up the hillside a bit and its quite a pleasant walk

The path goes up the hillside a bit and it's quite a pleasant walk

Looking down at the Silver Pavilion

Looking down at the Silver Pavilion

The pristine path of the pavilion grounds

The pristine path of the pavilion grounds

Kyoto (The Philosopher’s Path-Part 1)

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 12:34 am

Kyoto seems like a city of endless places for a tourist to visit. Countless Temples and Shrines dot the maps of this ancient city. Even if you restrict yourself to the most famous ones, you’ll have a spend a good couple of weeks in Kyoto to see them. Kyoto has 17 places listed as UNESCO world heritage sites and many more listed as Japanese National Treasures.

Our first stop on our trip around Kyoto was the Philosopher’s Path, sometimes also called the Philosopher’s Walk (哲学の道). It starts at the Silver Pavilion (銀閣寺) and follows a creek, going by many other (mostly less important) temples and shrines and ends at another famous temple, Nanzenji (南禅寺).

It says, Philosophers Path (哲学の道看板)

It says, "Philosopher's Path" (哲学の道看板)

The cherry blossoms were barely starting to bloom

The cherry blossoms were barely starting to bloom

I think these are plum blossoms. The plum blossoms bloom before the cherry blossoms

I think these are plum blossoms. The plum blossoms bloom before the cherry blossoms

More plum

More plum

April 25, 2009

Kyoto, Gion Cherry Blossom Light-up

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 8:48 am

I was in Kyoto in late March, just before the cherry blossoms were at their peak. Many buds had sprouted, but they were not yet full blooms. Still, they were quite beautiful and I enjoyed strolling around Gion at night to look at them.

Long exposure of a budded tree leaning over a creek

Long exposure of a budded tree leaning over a creek

On of the trees with the most buds open

On of the trees with the most buds open

The Kabuki House

The Kabuki House

Nighttime on the river

Nighttime on the river

another view of the river

another view of the river

Kyoto Ryokan

Filed under: Domestic, Kansai, Trips — myyearinjapan @ 8:42 am

This is a picture from the room in the Ryokan (旅館 – traditional Japanese Inn) where I stayed in the Gion district in Kyoto. Gion (祇園) is the one of Kyoto’s famous former red light districts. When you stay in a ryokan, you are given a traditional dinner and breakfast and sleep on the floor on a futon.

The alcove (床の間) at the room in the Ryokan, decorated with a nice ukiyoe print (浮世絵)and an ikebana flower arragment (生け花).

The alcove (床の間) at the room in the Ryokan, decorated with a nice ukiyoe print (浮世絵)and an ikebana flower arragment (生け花).

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