Posts Tagged ‘ Kurodani ’

Kawara & Yane ・瓦と屋根 – (Tiles & Roofs).

I dig traditional Japanese roofs.  Most, not all, are tiled.  The tiles are called “kawara.” Roofs are called “yane.”  Below are several links to sights that will tell you all about the various kinds of karawa and yane.  I just wanted to share some photos of kawara and yane I’ve taken over the years.

Kyoto Kawara. 2009.

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Looking west from Kurodani Temple, Kyoto. 2004.

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Kawara atop wall. Hiean Jingu/Shrine 平安神宮. Marutamachi, Kyoto. 2009.

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Between houses. Yaginishiguchi. 2004.

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To-ji Temple, Kyoto. Great Gate & 5 Story Pagoda. 2008.

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Roofs between Kiyoicho and Washiocho, Kyoto. 2003.

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Kurodani-dera. Kyoto. 2009.

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Kyoto Kawara. 2003.

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Yaginishiguchi. 2004.

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Wall topped with Kawara. Eikan-doh, Kyoto. 2008.

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Part of the Todai-ji temple complex. Nara. 2010.

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Just outside of Kurodani-dera. 2009.

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Himeji Castle. “Sachihoko,” dolphin-like kawara, guard against fire. 2008.

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Chionin Temple Gate, Kyoto. 2003.

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Wall and gate and roofs, while walking in Okazaki (Kyoto). 2008.

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Looking down from the top of Himeji Castle. 1990.

More on Himeji Castle.

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Japanese Roof Types JCastle:  Roofs & Gables.

KawaraTypes and History.

OnigawaraDemon Kawara (which protect the house). A friend’s blog . . .

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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.

Kyoto

From my little balcony, facing north, towards Kurodani Temple. July 31.

As I’m here on business, I made a point not to bring a “nice camera” along, so all shots from this trip come from my little Droid phone.  Those buildings (roofs) to the left of the photo are the gate, main worship hall and lecture hall of Kurodani Temple.  (which this site’s regulars know I have something of an obsession with).  If you look closely on the extreme right-hand side of the photo you can see the very top of the pagoda that sits atop Kurodani’s eastern hill.

View from my little balcony if I look to my right:  Nanzen-ji Temple ( This photo, in my Rain Gallery, was taken about three years ago, just at Nanzen-ji’s entrance):

Just after the rain. View looking east, from Westin Miyako room. July 31, 2011.

Several things motivate me to post these pieces on Japan, especially regarding Kyoto-related experiences. Obviously, I just enjoy share with others places that I’ve found special over the years.  I want for people who will never come here to feel at least a bit, if only a slight bit, of what I do.  For those who’ve been to Kyoto, it’s a gift to remind you of places that I know have moved you, too, to reignite memories.  A few residents, or people who are within hours of Kyoto, stop by this website, too.  Not that you need any reminding of what a unique place this is, but I hope that my perspective — the perspective of someone who stops by once or twice a year, as it’s been the past dozen years; someone who himself once lived nearby (close to Hirakata-shi, down the Keihan Line) — helps reinforce your affection for this singular place.

Morning gloaming, from my hotel room  . . .

About 10-til-5:00 a.m. East mountains, facing north. Kyoto. August 1.

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Later on this morning the semi (pron. “seh-mee” / セミ・ cicadas) are making a wonderful, powerful racket here:

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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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“Live Japan!” (that’s a quote)

I’m not quite sure if that’s “Lĭve Japan”  or  “Līve Japan”.  Whatever it is it’s the name of the just-launched Japanese government’s 2 month travel campaign with a goal of getting 10 million foreign tourists to Japan in 2010.  Good for them.  I hope it works out.

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From the Campaign Website. Note: more hugging going on here (between foreigners, of course) than in 10,000 airport meetings between Japanese.

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And you, you are invited by the Japan Tourist Agency to go for a chance to win any number of travel prizes to Japan, simply by filling out this survey (actually, I did.  Just took a couple of minutes).

The heart of the campaign, though, is the JTA’s urging expats in Japan to send “Greeting Cards” to their friends and families back in their home countries, inviting them to visit them (the expat “correspondents”) in Japan.  I like the “Meet. . .  In Japan” thing.  I can see it now:  “So, where do you want to meet tonight?  Starbucks?  That new Mexican restaurant?”  Response – “Hey!  How about Japan!”  “Cool.  Say, around 6-ish?”

Japan is, by the way, a great place to visit . . .

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Kurodani dera Garden. Nov 2009.

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Neighborhood restaurant. Tokyo. Nov 2009.

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Just behind Shoren-in. Kyoto. Nov 09.

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Vending Machine (自動販売機). Tokyo. Nov 09.

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Where sweet surprises and surreal ironies abound (vid captured on cheap camera) . . .

Chionin temple in Kyoto, by the way, is one of the most famous throughout Japan.  Every New Year’s Eve Chionin’s massive bell, forged in 1678, is rung 108 times (an auspicious number in both Buddhism and Hinduism), can be heard throughout Kyoto’s Eastern Mountains, and is broadcast on national television.

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Mata, aimashou . . .

See you later.  Never “goodbye”.

About to pack.  I’ve a taxi to catch, then a “bullet” train to catch, then an airport express train, then a plane for the U.S.  Here are a few random photos from the past several days.  All in all, a very good and productive trip.  I leave business off this blog.  On the personal front, though, many long-time friends seen and haunts re-discovered, along with new friends met and memories made.

See you later.  Never “goodbye”.

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Taking a short break. Kiyamachi. Kyoto. Nov 09.

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Chance Encounter. Kawabata/San-jo Streets. Kyoto. Nov 09.

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Along the Kamo River. Kyoto. Nov 09.

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At Kurodani temple. Kyoto. Nov 09.

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"The Body's Strong". But what about character, integrity and imagination? Detail from canned coffee poster. Kyoto. Nov 09.

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Eikando Temple "Lightup". Kyoto. Night of 11 Nov 2009...

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