I said at the outset we went to Japan to see beauty and beautiful things; and we did. Herewith a selection. If you double click on the image you’ll get a better look.
1. Jomon period vase, National Museum, Tokyo
About 4000 years old, famous and for its time extraordinarily unusual anywhere in the world. Decoration has been a long term interest in Japan.
2. Embroidered kimono, National Museum, Tokyo
Of uncertain vintage but old. You can buy kimonos today which are almost as remarkable but you will have to mortgage your house to do so.
3. The ‘lounge’ and dining room of the Sosuke ryokan, Takayama
The quality of light, shadows and colours here are typical and wonderful.
4. A crepe myrtle at Hida No Sato (Hida folk village), Takayama
We were there ‘between seasons’. Almost no blossom left, leaves just beginning to colour. But the crepe myrtles were reliable.
5. A collection of Buddha figurines, with beanies, in the rain at Miyajima
Hundreds of them, all different, all in various states of happiness, all proffering good fortune.
6. Sweets, a gift from Tsukiko and Masahiro Sasitani, Kyoto
We met Tsukiko and Masahiro many years ago on the Milford Track in NZ and it was a pleasure to catch up with them again. These jellies, for so they are, are versions of flowers. We ate them together.
7. Moss growing on a road siding, Yokokawa
A photo I could have taken so many places. Moss and Japan; bacon and eggs.
8. The roof structure of the Iseya ryokan, Narai
There were many beautiful things in this ryokan. It was a special privilege to view this. Rafters blackened by centuries of wood smoke, the very cunning use of bent tree trunks to give the bearers extra strength. Not a nail, a screw or a bolt anywhere.
9. The Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji), Kyoto
Yes, post card. Yes, a million people having their photo taken in front of it. Yes, garden etc. tended by a cast of thousands. Yes, not perhaps as interesting or as beautiful as the setting at least of the Silver Pavilion. But really …
Bonus pic: the Golden Spouting
10. Drain cover, Takayama
Why can’t our drain covers be beautiful? What would it take? There were endless styles according perhaps to municipality or Prefecture. The ones at Hakone were particularly stunning, but no photo.
11. Some logs on the outskirts of Tsumago
That moss again, and yes these are the true colours. Breathtaking.
12. A chap’s garden somewhere near Homuri-sawa
Just off the track. We went for a special look. The gardener, who was pruning, saw us. I applauded and said ‘kanpeki’, intending to mean something like ‘perfection’. Probably should have been ‘tashika’. But he grinned and bowed regardless.
13. The Nakasendo track, not far from Yokokawa
On descent from Usui Toge, just near a former hangout of the sanzoku (mountain bandits). Everything you could ever want from a track.
Hi David, I have enjoyed your blog. George and I are leaving this week and are really looking forward to it. Love, Catherine.
I love the 13 Beautiful Things and the Buddahs remind me of the Chinese Buried Army, except the Buddahs are smiling.
Thanks David, love, soph
Jellies from the Sasatani home; what a treat. Nothing from the sculpture park near Harkone but then competition is fierce when there is only ten and many of the sculptures strictly speaking aren’t Japanese. I take it that was your thinking David.
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I took a picture of the exact same logs in number 11! also enjoyed the different textures and colours of moss seen everywhere..