Posts Tagged ‘ Okazaki ’

Kyoto’s Heian Shrine (平安神宮)

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Heian Jingu Main Hall. May 2010.

Heian Jingu (平安神宮) is a “new” Kyoto Shinto Shrine, founded and constructed in 1884 to commemorate the 1,100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto (then, “Heiankyo”) by Emperor Kammu and Emperor Komei, father of the Emperor Meiji who was reigning in the late-1880s (Note:  Emperor Meiji reigned from 1868-1912). Heian Jingu’s designation  as a Jingu, and not a Jinja (a “regular” Shinto Shrine), denotes that it is associated with the Imperial Family.

Heian Jingu on a chilly day. March 1991.

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Omikuji (fortunes) at Heian Jingu. 2003.

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Every June a National Noh Theater Performs at Heian Jingu. June 2003.

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Pine at Heian Jingu. 2008.

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Bride (left) and her mom on their way wedding at Heian Shrine (directly behind), with the Great Gate (大鳥居) in the background.

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Faux Sake Casks (kazaridaru). Hiean Jingu front, for blessing’s sake. 2008.

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Evening at the Great Torii, Heian Jingu Mae Street. 2009.

The Garden

Heian Jingu is famously known for its large garden.  While entrance to the main shrine area is free (see photos above), enjoying the walking behind the building complex will cost you a ¥600 entrance fee and it’s open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.  The garden was laid-out by the renowned designer Ogawa Jihei (who designed several of Kyoto’s famous, modern-era gardens) and meant for leisurely, contemplative strolling.  Here are several photos I’ve taken of The Garden from over the years . . .

Heian Jingu’s Garden. October 2001.

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Ogawa used shakkei, “borrowed scenery,” in Heian Jingu’s garden. 1990.

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Yes, that’s a model. Her real photographer stands just to my right. 2001.

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Lilies in a cove of the central koi pond. 2001.

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Sign at the stepping stone bridge. 2001.

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A ticket stub I saved for Heian Jingu’s garden.

Heian Jingu is located in Kyoto’s Higashiyama (Eastern Mountain) area with Reisen Dori (street) running directly in front of it, Marutamachi Dori running along the block behind it, and Okazaki Dori up along side it on its eastern side.  Right where Okazaki Dori intersects Marutamachi Dori at Heian Jingu’s back, northeastern side, you’ll find the Three Sisters Inn Annex, where I’ve stayed countless times and which itself is just a few minutes walk to Kurodani Dera (Temple), Okariba (restaurant) and Hanafusa Coffee Shop.

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Coming up next:  Philosopher’s Path (Tetsugaku on Michi) -

Along “Philosopher’s Path” (哲学の道), Kyoto. 2003.


Two Views from the Westin Miyako, Kyoto

The two photos below were snapped with a little “smartphone.”  The first on July 31 and the one below it on August 3, 2011.  They were both taken from my little balcony, attached to my room at the Westin Miyako Hotel in Kyoto.  I’ve posted them, or versions of them, before, last year near the times I took them.  I offer them again because they’re somewhat peaceful and calm-making, I think.

Looking towards Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto. 31 July 2011.

Looking east, towards Nanzen-ji Temple, Kyoto. 31 July 2011.

I took this in the afternoon, after arriving at the hotel.  The sun’s behind where the camera’s pointing, beginning to go down in the west.  You can see large main gate (yes, that’s a “gate” — the Sanmon, completed in 1628) of Nanzen-ji Temple on the left.

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Looking north towards Okazaki District. Kyoto, 3 August 11.

I took this in the morning.  The sun’s to my right.  The green roof on the left, towards the foreground, is the International Community House.  Lots of memories there.  In the background, against the last green hills, you can see several of Kurodani-dera’s buildings (Kurodani Temple).

I hope you like these photos. . .

“Saturday Morning in Okazaki”

Hanafusa Siphon Coffee. Marutamachi-Shirakawa. August 13.

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I place this photo essay back atop letsjapan.wordpress.com on August 1, 2014, almost three (3) years after first posting it on August 2011. In the mean time I’ve published Dancing Over Kyoto (in 2013), but it was August 2012 that an occurrence in Kyoto hit me and rocked others’ worlds. But I won’t speak of that here. I’d rather celebrate a Saturday Morning in Okazaki. . .

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I woke up at Three Sisters Inn this morning with sunlight barreling in from the crest of Higashiyama through my east-facing window.  I answered some emails, made a remark and post or two on Facebook and Twitter, then went out for a stroll.  I lit out, not from Three Sisters Inn Annex, but from the main building, just a block away.  When I stay at Three Sisters I’ve always, to date, stayed at the Annex.  But unfortunately a pipe burst yesterday morning at the Annex so I’m over here at the main building, which is comparable (but the curfew, alas, is 11:00 p.m., not 11:30 p.m. like at the Annex).  Yes, curfew.  The sisters must get their sleep, bless them.

At any rate, my walking route was simple and familiar to me:  up the street from the inn (turning left as I walk out the front door) about two or so minutes to the entrance to Kurodani Dera, stroll around Kurodani, leave out the narrow, back side alleyway and walk to Marutamachi Street.  Take a left and continue east towards Okazaki Shrine.  After stopping by Okazaki Shrine, continue on to Hanfusa for a cup of (siphon) coffee.  Then wind my way back to Three Sisters.

It’s Obon season across Japan, which means in part that families return to their ancestors’ grave sites and give them a cleaning, both real and symbolic (of the respect and veneration still paid to the departed), and place some flowers and other whatnots around the headstone.  This is what was going on this morning at Kurodani Dera’s cemetery.  At Okazaki Shrine some new rabbit figures have been installed.  Part of ancient Okazaki Shrine’s lore and lineage is steeped in being a (Shinto) shrine bringing blessings of easy and happy childbirth to those who come and ask for the blessings of the resident spirits.  Thus the rabbits.  2011 also happens to be the Year of the Rabbit, which makes Okazaki an even more auspicious place to visit.  As I’m a Year-of-the-Rabbit person myself, I took some particular delight in stopping by Okazaki Shrine.

Photos:

Between Three Sisters Inn and the Kurodani entrance. August 13.

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Facing west on the edge of Kurodani. August 13.

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26 Seconds of Cicadas (Semi・セミ) while looking up at Kurodani’s Main Gate (Daimon・大門).

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A long-time friend. August 13.

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Washing an ancestor’s grave site. Kurodani Dera. August 13.

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Okazaki Shrine Digs Rabbits. August 13.

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Have I mentioned that Okazaki Shrine Digs Rabbits? August 13.

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Hanafusa Coffee on Marutamachi Street. August 13.

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Man at bus stop. Woman and child. Marutamachi Street. August 13.

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toMAre. Okazaki. August 13.

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That’s all for now.  It’s about 10:35 and I’ve got a couple places to go.

Kurodani-dera (黒谷寺) again – a reprise & update.

Back in November 2009  I posted a piece here on Kurodani Temple (or Kurodani-dera), which is situated in the quiet Okazaki, Sakyo Ward of Kyoto (Kyoto’s east side).  One of these days — though not today — I’m going to work-up and offer a comprehensive article on Kurodani-dera, its history and such.  For now, suffice to say that Kurodani-dera (formally known as “Konkai-Komyoji-dera“) was founded in 1175 and is one of eight head temples for the Japanese Jodo Sect of Buddhism.

Kurodani-dera, November 2009.

For the past 8 or 9 years, whenever I’m in Kyoto (1-3 times per year), I try to make it over to Kurodani-dera.  If at all possible I visit in the early morning when the priests can often be heard chanting their morning “Namu Amida Butsu” chant.  Very beautiful.

As mordant as it may sound, I also enjoy walking up the hillside behind the temple-proper into the ancient cemetery:  very peaceful and offers some pretty views of Kyoto, down and to one’s left.  In fact, last week when I guided a group of Samford University MBA students to Tokyo and Kyoto (and Nara and Yamazaki and into Osaka one night), we took a 20 minute detour into Kurodani, the cemetery and caught that view, for example:

Looking Southwest into Central Kyoto from above Kurodani-dera. May 29, 2010.

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A few weeks ago,  during the second week of May, in fact, I received word from the Birmingham Museum of Art that one of my photographs, from Kurodani-dera in fact, had finally been installed at the Museum as the centerpiece image of the BMA’s new “Meditation Station.”  (no Press Release, yet.  Maybe they won’t do one.  So it goes.)  This had been in the works since last summer, but I didn’t want to tell many people as I didn’t want to be wearing egg on my face if the project/installation ended up not working out.   Here’s one of many photos  — this one just a snapshot, really —  I’ve taken of this favorite-of-mine stone Buddha (I’ve come to regard him as a friend I visit whenever I’m in town), quite dissimilar to the one now being used, on exhibition, at the BMA as it’s taken from a completely different angle:

At Kurodani-dera. November 2009.

I think the earliest photo I have from Kurodani-dera goes back to either 2001, certainly 2002.  I’d have to check.

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So, a week ago today I find myself back at Kurodani-dera, this time with a dozen people in tow.  They all seemed to enjoy it.  For the first time I had my photo taken near the image of my Amida Butsu friend.  This is that photo.  I’m embarrassed to say that I can’t remember who took it, either Michael or Deena.  But thank you to whomever snapped it.

At Kurodani-dera. Last Saturday, May 29.

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Update:  3 photos just found (May ’11) from Summer ’04 . . .

Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺. 2004.

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Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺. 2004.

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Kurodani-dera 黒谷寺.  Detail.  2004.

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Kurodani Main Gate. 2003.

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Dear, Beautiful Kyoto . . .

Amid various emails and Memos to clients and necessary phone calls to make and receive I find myself thinking  about Kyoto this morning, and looking ever-so-forward to soon being there again, to just Be there…  I write this (as an update to this post) in mid-November 2009.  I returned from a business trip to Japan (which took me to Kyoto for a few days) less than a week ago.  I’m still jet-lagging somewhat.  In a way it was like going home and now I’m homesick for it.

Closing Time at Chion-in Temple. Kyoto.  2003.

Closing Time at Chion-in Temple. Kyoto. 2003..

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Heian.Noh_June_2003_2.7

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Wall at Shinyodo Temple. Nov 2009.

The photo of Noh actor above, mid-performance at Heian Shrine, is from June 2003.   There is only one evening a year, in June, that Noh is performed at Heian Jingu, and I happened to be in Kyoto on that evening.  Only time I’ve seen this.

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Next to Kurodani-dera. Okazaki. 2008.

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Lanterns at Okazaki Shrine.  Kyoto.  2007.

Lanterns at Okazaki Shrine. Kyoto. 2007.

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A side street off of Shirakawa-dori. . . in a mirror. Kyoto. 2007.

A side street off of Shirakawa-dori. . . in a mirror. Kyoto. 2007.

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Kawabata Street. Looking North. November 2009.

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Nanzen-ji Temple. From my hotel balcony. July 2011.

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Sunset near Shoren-in, Jingumachi. November 2009.

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Neighbor Wars, or... it's not all Zen & Cherry Blossoms in Kyoto.  Rough translation:  ”Dog poo left behind! Poo MUST be picked up and taken with you.  If you can't do this, then don't bother walking (your dog) in the first place!

Neighbor Wars.  Rough translation:  ”Dog poo left behind! Poo MUST be picked up and taken with you. If you can’t do this, then don’t bother walking (your dog) in the first place!”   then… Angry face.

A few links to other (but not all) Kyoto-related posts here at LetsJapan.Wordpress.Com:

+ Kiyomizu-dera – (one of the “must see and experience” temples for first time visitors).

+ Okariba (a great, and atypical-for-Kyoto, restaurant on Marutamachi Street).

+ To-ji Temple (東寺 )Flea Market (Japan’s largest.  The 21st of every month).

+ Rain (A Photo Gallery.  Many images from Kyoto).

Where the Rivers Meet:  the Kamo & Takano.  (Post from August 2011).

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Gallery. San-jo Street. November 2009.

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