Country Temples

We took a trip to Nara on Monday and Tuesday, starting with Sakurai-shi (桜井市)and Asukamura(明日香村). The city of Nara has many temples but I was anxious to see the ones in the countryside. Unfortunately, the Suiheisha Museum was closed when we were in Sakurai but i was able to see Saiko-ji and the tomb of Saiko Mankichi, one of the young men who founded the Suiheisha society in 1923 to fight against discrimination towards the burakumin people.

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We met a very kind man who graciously showed us around the neighborhood and pointed out important sites to us. He is from Kamata-cho (Sawaii-cho). We really appreciated that he did so in spite of the rain.

We were unable to visit Tanzan Jinjya (shrine) due to a landslide blocking access, so we went to the Asuka Temple instead. This giant Buddha is supposedly the oldest is Japan. His face is much more severe than the calm-looking Buddhas I am used to seeing. I also saw the place where they buried the head of Soga Iruka after he was killed in a power struggle in 645. He was assassinated at court in a coup d’état involving Nakatomi no Kamatari and Prince Naka-no-Ōe. (Wikipedia) after which the main branch of hte powerful Soga clan became extinct.

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Burial site of Soga Iruka’s head

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Asuka Daibutsu 


From there we went to Abe Monju Temple to see the most unusual statue where Buddha is seated on a shishi, a mythical lion-like creature . I really enjoyed seeing this and they serve you Japanese sweets with powdered matcha tea when you arrive. The fee is a reasonable ¥700 for admission and tea ceremony.

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Monju Buddha seated on a lion at Abe Monju Temple

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Pond and Pavilion at Abe Monju

It was starting to clear up and we headed for a smaller temple the Shorinji. (聖林寺)We met these nice ladies from Fukuoka. We aren’t allowed to take photos of the 11-Faced Buddha, but I was impressed as it seemed much taller (it is just over 2 meters high) as we gazed up at it from below. This is a carved wooden sculpture covered in gilt from the Nara period, the 8th century.

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Yukari and Naoko from Fukuoka at Shorinji Temple

I wanted to find an old Showa era bakery in front of Sakurai station and we did but couldn’t  park nearby. Hiroo waited while I went in and bought rolls and sandwiches for our lunch. Their “meibutsu” or featured item is a fried an-sandwich. An is sweet bean paste. I wouldn’t recommend this fried one though. The other bread was good.

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Retro bakery in Sakurai, Marutsu Bakery

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Fried Bean Paste Bread

Then on to our final stop of the day at Hasedera, completed around 727. Here we saw the Eleven-Faced Kannon in hte Main Hall. I had to climb the 399 steps to reach it and it I had muscle pain later! Realized how out of shape I am!!


Eleven-faced Kannon at Hase Temple

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View from the Main Hall (leaves have just started to turn)

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399 Steps

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Here  we also met Sachie from Nagoya who came here on a 3 day sketching tour. She showed us her water-color pictures.

All the temples mentioned above are in hte same vicinity and very accessible if you travel by car. I am sure there are bus tours which take you to the same places. All of the statues we saw are National Cultural Treasures.

Nara and the Treasures of Shoso-in

Finally we came to the city of Nara and I wanted to see the Senjyu Kannon (thousand-handed Buddha) at Toshodaiji temple. It was founded in 759 by the  Chinese monk Jianzhen (or Ganjin in Japanese)during the Nara Period. (Wikipedia) In Japanese, this monk is called Ganjin. I heard that he made four attempts to reach Japan in order to spread Buddhism and succeeded only on the fifth voyage. After seeing his tomb, I felt sympathy for him dying so far from his homeland and family, a fate I will most likely share.

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The Golden Hall at Toshodaiji

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Thousand-handed Kannon at Toshodaiji


Chinese monk who came to Nara to teach Buddhism(Ganjin)

This statue of Ganjin is only shown ot the public once a year in early June for 3 days.. I took a picture of a picture. And we went to eat lunch at a nearby cafe, Nodo Cafe (のどかふぇ)

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Healthy lunch with organic vegetables and rice

In the afternoon, we arrived at the Shoso-in Exhibition at Nara National Museum. There were so many people! I lost track of Hiroo and wandered around looking for him for 20 minutes!

The treasures here belonged to the Emperor Kammu who reigned from 781 to 806). Some of these were offerings to the Great Buddha at Todaiji. After the emperor’s death, his widow created the treasure storehouse, shoso-in, to house these articles.

Many items are from the Silk Road, from Persia or India. Amazing that a cloth apron from 700 could survive this long! These banners are dyed with a wax-resin process and show a ram and a tree.

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This 12-lobed glass dish is also from the 8th century and is colored with deep green shades. The design of rabbits are styled on each side.

Best Place to Stay

Definitely stay at he Cafe Pension Asuka and enjoy the fine cuisine. We chose the Steak dinner with Hors d oeurves and we totally enjoyed our meal. The room was small but adequate with a unit bath. It is located in Asuka on a shady lane! The owners are a very friendly couple who gave us travel advice and went out of their way to make us feel at home.

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a very tender and juicy steak!!

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The Matsuokas at Cafe Pension Asuka

We had a wonderful time and I hope to visit Nara again..and I will stay at Cafe Pension Asuka again too!! (0744-54-3017) or book on Jalan!

Thanks to Hiroo for driving over 1000 kilometers! We had a memorable trip!!

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Kake no Ha Sushi in Tenri-shi


Car Trip to Izu

Omihachiman 近江八幡

We reached our first destination before noon and went straight to the William Merrell Vories Memorial Hall. Vories came to Japan in 1906 as an English teacher with the intent of telling people about Christ. Later he founded the Japanese Mentholatum company and also an architectural firm, jointly called the Omi Kyodaisha. (近江兄弟社)He married an aristocrat named Makiko Hitotsuyanagi and finally became a Japanese citizen.

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Vories Museum in Omihachiman, Shiga Prefecture



William Merrell Vories

Many buildings designed by Vories still stand here and in other cities. We saw several of them as we walked around this area. The old post office was very interesting. as was the Omihachiman Church.


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Bungo-san, guide at the Vories Museum

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Omihachiman Post Office (Wm. Vories)

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Omihachiman Church (Nihon Kirisuto Kyodan)

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Omihachiman YMCA (Wm Vories)

Walking around, we found an antique shop and, though most things were out of our price range, I bought some old postcards of Omihachiman and an old “fujin-zashi.” (Woman’s magazine. ) Here I am with the owner of Nakajima Shoten. (中島多吉商店)

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Members of the Local HIstory Research Club (地歴探訪倶楽部のメンバー)

At lunch, we happened to talk to a few of the members of a unique club based in Osaka. They visit many historic sights with a guide twice a month to learn about local history. They have been to many areas like Nara, Himeiji, Kyoto and so on. They learn about places and events that are not so well known! I thought this was a great idea and envy them! There are about 50 members in their club.

Junko-san had urged us ot visit the Sweets Shop called La Corina. (ラ・コリーナ)We were so surprised at this amazing “living” building. There were so many people even on a weekday that we didn’t order any desserts. We found a small bakery behind the main building and bought some rolls there! Amazing place to visit!

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La Corina Cafe in Omihachiman

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From there, we drove up a very winding mountain road to our inn, the Hotel Wellness at Yunoyama Onsen, Mie Prefecture. It was a kind of scary road and I was glad HIroo was driving and not me!

Inuyama (犬山市)

Our next stop was at Inuyama Castle, the only castle remaining from the Senkoku Period.  (1467~1603) It was built in 1537 by Oda Nobunaga’s uncle. It is a designated National Treasure. The Steps inside that lead up to the watchtower on top of the tenshu were quite steep for me ot climb. But hte view from  the top is definitely worth it.

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View from atop Inuyama Castle

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Watchtower atop the Castle

I enjoyed the old buildings along the streets beneath the castle and ate “gohei mochi ” at a little shop there. I wish I’d had more time to enjoy the area. But I had an appointment to meet a very interesting person at the Million Dollar Cafe!

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WIth artist and cafe owner, Takeshi Ozawa,(百万ドルカフェ、犬山市)

For 50 years, Mr. Takeshi Ozawa has run this cafe. It was first a pub, then a unagi restaurant, and now it is a karaoke cafe. We ordered coffee only but look what they served us.

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Ozawa-san is an artist. He told me that at a very low point in his life he dreamed of a dragon. He had the same dream three times. Then he painted the dragon and after that he continued to paint。

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I was so glad to meet his business partner (former wife) Chitoshi. She and I hit it off. I liked her a lot and she was so friendly and easy to talk to ! You should definitely stop by this place. YOu certainly can’t miss it if you are driving by!

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Million Dollar Cafe, Inuyama

Yui Port- Mt Fuji- Izu

Hiroo wanted sakura-ebi tempura on rice for lunch so we found the Yui Port and got in line. There were tables and everyone eats outside. I enjoyed my tempura, but Hiroo got a bad stomach after eating his boiled shrimp and shirasu donburi! I don’t recommend you get that!!!

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Seafood on Rice at Yui

From there, we headed toward the Izu peninsula. ANd suddenly Mt. Fuji appeared in front of me. I’ve been here going on 44 years but never seen this symbol of Japan until now! It didn’t disappoint! What an amazing and thrilling sight!! I took over 50 pictures, I think!

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We took a central route into the Izu hanto, passing through the Shugenji Onsen (or hot springs) area. This hot springs appears in Kawabata Yasunari’s novel, The Dancing Girl of Izu. We took a break and had Japanese sweets and iced latte.

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Japanese sweets at Shugenji Onsen area 

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Shugenji Temple, Izu

I especially enjoyed the ashi-yu foot bath that is heated by the hot springs. Then we travelled on to Shimoda.

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Relaxing Foot Bath at Shugenji Hot Springs

On the way, we stopped at what we thought was a “Michi-no-Eki” souvenir shop but were pleasantly surprised that it was really a Literary Musuem. Novelist Inoue Yasushi  lived in Yugeshima near here.  He was sent to live with an old woman there from the age of three until he left elementary school. He wrote the autobiographical novel “Shirobamba” about that time.

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Two bald men at Shugenji


There is a very old and famous tunnel nearby called “Amagi Tunnel” which is also featured in the story of the Dancer from Izu.


Amagi Tunnel from “The Dancing Girl of Izu”

I really wish we had reached here earlier in the day. I wnated to hike to the tunnel and see it for myself but it was 1.8 kilometers each way. It was already 5:00 PM so I had to give up on that.


Shimoda is where Commodore Matthew Perry signed the pact to trade with Japan in 1854. Here is the temple where it was signed. We can visit the “Kaikoku Museum” and walk along Perry Road. Many old buildings with namako-kabe walls still remain and give a special aura of Meiji era to the town.

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Perry Road with lots of little shops and cafes


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Treaty signed here at Choraku-ji

We stayed in a really wonderful hotel on the ocean called Yamato-kan. The outdoor bath ( rotenburo) on the roof has a fantastic view of the bay. I enjoyed three different hot tubs and wished my daughters were here to enjoy it too!

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The view from our balcony at Yamato-kan hotel

I wanted to eat samma-zushi (mackerel sushi) and we found the one shop that sells it at the small port of Irozaki(石廊) at the tip of the Izu peninsula. Unfortunately, they were sold out, so if you hope to try samma-zushi,  you should call ahead!

I enjoyed chatting with the owner of Fujiya sushi shop, Mitchan. She has been operating this restaurant  since she came as a bride in about 1971.

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The only place that makes samma-zushi!

The samma-zushi was a recipe that her own grandmother used to make in Shimoda using vinegared-mackerel in oshizushi style. She said to salt down the mackerel for one whole day and then put into nibaizu marinade (酢100cc+砂糖大さじ1.5+塩少々)for a day before making the sushi. SHe also puts slices of fresh ginger in the marinade. Let’s make it some day!!

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I’m still disappointed that i couldn’t eat it! Next time! ANd I’ll hike to the tunnel too!!Who wants to go with me?

We made it safely home! The new Nagoya station building was crazy! So big and so many people there as it just newly opened, it seems. I’d avoid that!

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Iwashina Gakko, Matsuzaki

The last night in Izu, we stayed at a friendly family-run inn. These women are married to two brothers, one who runs a fishing boat every day. We had fresh fish. These sister-in-laws are 77 but full of energy. We all agreed we should keep working as long as we can. They seem to enjoy running the inn!

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At Sanrakuso Pension (三楽荘、松崎、伊豆)

I met Nobuko next door. She is 90, born in Taisho 15. (1926) Although she no longer runs an inn, she seems very energetic! It inspires me!

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Great trip. But next time, I’ll plan one that is not quite so far away. Hiroo had to drive really far! I guess over 1500 kilometers! Otsukaresama!


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Art and Artifacts(?)

The very last day of summer, we started out for Shikoku, one of the four largest islands that comprise Japan. I wanted to practice driving on hte Expressway so I drove to Imabari! Then Hiroo took the driver’s seat and we made it to our first destination about 10:00 AM.



This man has amassed quite a collection of items from the Showa period. (1926~1989) He has everything from movie posters to Kewpie dolls! He spent an hour with us , showing us through the two buildings of fascinating things. Nakanishi-san was a news photographer and still has a small old studio wedged between the two “museums”!

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Paper dolls from 1960s?

We had a great time looking at his collection. I recommend you contact him just to be sure he is there when you g. It is only 300 yen to see the museum.



From there we went to the nearby “Hibari Shokudo” which is apparently famous for the huge pork cutlet on rice (and cheap!) People were lining up well before opening time and hte couple in front of us said it was their second attempt to be served at the restaurant as last time they couldn’t get in! It was more than we could eat.very good!

Swinging Bridges are Scary

We went on to the famed “kazura-bashi” at Iya in Tokushima prefecture. It was only 30 minutes or so from the Otoyo Showa museum. You must pay to go across and there were many tourists from Japan and abroad. I somehow made it across but it was scary! Beautiful photos don’t do it justice.



Scary enough!

That night we stayed at a hot springs in Miyoshi. We enjoyed hte breakfast in particular as they served just out of the oven pizza and also amazing French toast made with French bread!

Tobacco Trade in Ikeda

The next town, Ikeda, was a center for drying and curing tobacco in the Edo period. It was then transported down the Yoshino RIver to the city of Tokushima and from there to other areas of Japan. We stumbled on the Tobacco Museum when it was opening at 9:00 AM. A friendly volunteer guide gave us a tour and lots of interesting information.


Hiroo tries smoking a kiseru tobacco pipe at the Tobacco Museum, Ikeda-cho

As we were leaving, we happened to meet an older woman who was sweeping the road in front of her shop. A retired high school home ec teacher, she is in her 80s but very active. We went inside her “shop” and visited with her. It seems she organizes all kinds of events, makes her own posters and produces it all. Recently she put on a “chindon-ya” parade where everyone enjoyed dressing in period costumes!


We took the local highway 192 to our next stop, Daibosatsutoge Cafe” where Shima Rikita san has been continually adding to his enormous brick structure began in 1964. His son and wife operate a cafe in part of the area, but we were especially lucky to get a two hour tour and talk with this artist in his studio.




Shima Rikita, artist and craftsman





When he couldn’t get bricks at a reasonable price, he built a brick-kiln and kept going! Now he works in many mediums, carving wood, ceramics and furniture building. Probably close to 85, he still executes new ideas as soon as he gets them, now finishing up his chairs carved to represent the 47 prefectures. I definitely want to go back for his exhibition!

Best-ever inn By the Sea, Kaiyo-cho

We were so fortunate to stay at Osa inn and for a very reasonable price. Our hosts, the Hayashi’s came back to her home and re-opened this inn after retiring. She is an amazing cook! Everyone gave the food top rating and that is why I chose it..and I wasn’t disappointed. This is the best place i have ever stayed in Japan!!





They talked about ayu fishing!

And after breakfast, she served her special Creme Brulee and fruit and her husband ground fresh coffee for us! We really enjoyed the warm atmosphere and the food!

On to Kochi..

On the last leg of our journey, we headed for Kochi city where I saw the “Jiyu Minken Undo” museum. But what we enjoyed most was Makino Tomitaro Botanical Gardens!


Makino Tomitaro in his study (recreation)




Tomitaro as a young man

He was a botanist and did research on plants, the first person to produce a definitive  encyclopedia of Japanese plants. His original sketches are on display and, fortunately for me, the museum of his life and achievements had English explanations which were well done!!

Home Again

Stopping by the Kochi Castle and the nearby Museum of Literary Arts, we finally started for home. We saw so many things and met creative people who all follow their dreams. I am inspired to find a new project now! We had a wonderful time! I love Tokushima and the people there are really friendly!


Friendly Rika san at Iya Onsen

The Last Picture Show






Wide seats!

Wide seats! in the older theater

リクライニング シート

リクライニング シート サロンシネマ2


暗い劇場の中で、感動し、涙が頬を伝わる。また、深く考えさせられた作品もありました。。ワン Scene が心に残り、何日経っても、その言葉は頭からはなれない。

新しい同じ系列の映画館が広島の中心に開かれるよていときいても、慰めになれないのです。この懐かしい長年親しんできた空間を愛している。もはや思い出にしかみつからない過ぎ去った場所となります。たまに思い起こし、むかしを懐かしむ Place in the heart となってしまいます。

桑原由貴さん サロンシネマ支配人


それだから、最後にOne last time タカノ橋の絵映画館でで映画を見たいと 今日、2014.8.1、サロンシネマにいって見ました。自分にとって最後かも知れないLast Picture Show. 支配人の桑原由貴さんはこころよく話しかけてくれました。もっといろいろを聞きたかったが、あがってしまって、何も言えなかった。ただ、「長い間本当にありがとう!」広島に42年間住んで、いつも喜びと感動を与えていただいたタカノ橋のシネマ。


Waiting for the show to begin!

Waiting for the show to begin!

A sign of the times: It's no longer there!

A sign of the times: It’s no longer there!

This sign above the Takanobashi shotengai was removed about 2 years ago as it had rusted through and posed a danger to passersby.



Commemorative photo with Kuwahara san and Imada san

Commemorative photo with Kuwahara san and Imada san












I wrote in Japanese for the first time on my blog. I hope I didn’t make too many mistakes. This was a very special experience for me. I really loved this theater and am truly sad at the news of its demise! Maybe, I’ll even dress up in cosplay and attend the midnight showing of “Rocky Horror Show”!!


Places to See in Kyoto

Kyoto was the ancient capital of Japan for over a thousand years, from  794 to 1869    and wherever  you go, you’ll see beautiful temples, shrines and palaces! This trip I visited the Temple of the Golden Pavilion ( Kinkakuji )which is certainly the most impressive for foreign visitors. Originally built as a vacation villa by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 1389, it was then donated in his will as a Zen temple. It has burned down twice,once during the Onin War and  most recently in 1950 by an arsonist.

Kinkakuji temple

Kinkakuji temple

I asked an elderly volunteer guide why it was covered in gold and he explained that when Chinese envoys came there to discuss trade in the Muromachi period, it was done to impress them.

The grounds are crowded in May with many groups of middle school children. We talked with these boys from Saitama.

Boys from Saitama

Boys from Saitama

The first day was rainy but we visited the Silver temple or Ginkakuji. We stopped for a sweet treat on the way at a little tea  house.

inkakuji Temple inthe rain

Ginkakuji Temple inthe rain

Tea shop on the approach to Ginkakuji

Tea shop on the approach to Ginkakuji

Green Tea  shaved ice

Green Tea shaved ice

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Earlier in the day, we stopped at the Nishijin Textile Center to see how they weave the nishijin-ori cloth for obi and kimono. We saw a kimono show too!!

Raw silk is spun from silkworms and made into this lovely tapestry-like silk! The second floor is a gift shop and some of the bags were reasonably priced. We enjoyed looking around and were lucky to see the kimono fashion show! Good timing!



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Kimono fashion show

Kimono fashion show



Bajitofu yakitori restaurant , Shijo-Karasuma, Kyoto

Bajitofu yakitori restaurant , Shijo-Karasuma, Kyoto

At night we found a yakitori shop near our hotel. I had reserved counter seats which was a good idea. We arrived at 7:30 but by 8:30, they were turning away customers. I enjoyed the freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice chuhai and lots of good yakitori (chicken grilled on a stick over charcoal fire)!

Fresh grapefruit chuhai!!

Fresh grapefruit chuhai!!

We stayed at Mitsui Garden Hotel SHijo and found it reasonable and conveniently located to buses and other areas. The staff were very helpful to us. I would definitely recommend this hotel!

Lobby at the Mitsui Garden Shijo Hotel

Lobby at the Mitsui Garden Shijo Hotel

The second day, we enjoyed seeing the Kiyomizudera temple, built up high on stilt-like posts. This is my personal favorite! We met a man from Atlanta and enjoyed chatting a bit! Then we a bus back to the hotel!

Debbie at Kiyomizudera

Debbie at Kiyomizudera

After returning to our hotel we finally checked out the little cafe through the alley from our hotel. Itis called Kyoto Cafe Shijo Nishinotoin (京都カフェイ四条西洞院  075-361-7771)Open from 12:00 to 10:00PM every day.

with Yamano-san, cafe owner!

with Yamano-san, cafe owner!

Deb had choc espresso with milk and I had latte. We enjoyed seeing the interior and talking with owner, Takeo Yamano! He was very friendly. You can eat anything from a green smoothie to a full course dinner there!



Kyoto Cafe Shijo Nishitoin

Kyoto Cafe Shijo Nishitoin

Cafe Shijo Nishitoin

Cafe Shijo Nishitoin

Finally we made it back to the Kyoto station building and bought sandwiches to eat on the Shinkansen! We had really good time and saw a lot in just two days!If you are in Kyoto near Karasuma Shijo, you must try the Nishitoin Cafe!! (right behind the Mitsui Garden Shijo hotel)! Nice atmosphere!

Japanese Culture in a Week!

It is times like this that I realize what nice friends I have! Last week my friend Yoshiko (“Jennie”) taught Debbie how to make a Ohara school ikebana or Japanese flower arrangement. I appreciate that Jennie got all the materials for the lesson. Debbie seems to have a flair for it as her very first ikebana turned out so great!

A lesson in ikebana

A lesson in ikebana

A radial style flower arrangement by Debbie!

A radial style flower arrangement by Debbie!

After that she performed a tea ceremony and we were able to drink matcha tea! Debbie was delighted for this chance. Classes 048

Teacher and pupil!

Teacher and pupil!

Then on Wednesday we went to Shima-san’s house to learn how to make ikanbari baskets. We began by crumpling the washi paper and tearing it into small pieces a (three or four  inches) and affixing them to a bamboo basket using rice starch for laundry. We cover it with two layers, allowing time to dry in between.

Oda-san shows us her ikanbari

Oda-san shows us her ikanbari


Ink painting

Ink painting

Shima-chan is a good teacher. Here she demonstrates using the gansai paints. DebShima 020 We need to let the baskets dry so Shima-chan let Debbie try e-tegami painting with ink and brush and using gansai water colors. This is Debbie’s first painting! DebShima 027     Another friend has offered to put a kimono on Debbie and we are very excited about this! Debbie is a quilter and loves textiles and fabrics. She is intensely interested in Japanese woven fabric and silk. In Kyoto we visited the Nishijin Textile Center to see the fabrics and how they weave intricate designs and gold thread into the nishijin-ori silk.

Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto

Nishijin Textile Center in Kyoto

Raw Silk spun by silk worms

Raw Silk spun by silk worms

Loom for making nishijin-ori

Loom for making nishijin-ori


Kimono Fashion Show at Nishijin Textile Center

Kimono Fashion Show at Nishijin Textile Center

Playing Dress-up The second week started with Debbie having the chance to wear a kimono. Beginning with the undergarments, Chidori-san dressed Deb in a pale white and silver silk summer kimono with a dark blue obi sash.

Debbie in a summer silk kimono

Debbie in a summer silk kimono

Amazing to see all the layers and ties that go into putting on  a kimono. This summer kimono looks lovely on Debbie, don’t you agree?

By the garden

By the garden

Thank you, Chidori-san!!

Thank you, Chidori-san!!


Exquisite silk kimono with 20 cranes!

Exquisite silk kimono with 20 cranes!

I want to say a special thank you to Chidori-san who put it on her. And thank you for showing us your precious crane kimono!

This has been a very satisfying and amazing week. I can’t believe that we packed all these activities in to just one week! It has really been an intensive tour of Japanese culture!

On Wednesday, Debbie will finish her ikanbari basket so watch this space for an update!!

Old Folks at Home

These ladies were really into Hyakunin Isshu game!

These ladies were really into Hyakunin Isshu game!

Today I visited a lovely home for the elderly built into an older Japanese house. Providing daycare service for elderly people, Hiyorian has a very homey atmosphere down to the carpet and comfy chairs. There were 18 people enjoying each other’s company, conversation and games. Everyone seemed ot be having a really good time.

Etsuko Fujibuchi, owner

Etsuko Fujibuchi, owner

We were given a tour by care manager, Takayuki Kakuda and the care professional Etsuko Fujibuchi, who  is also the owner. The daycare center for the elderly has been in business at this location for over 5 years, but the assisted living apartments next door have newly opened in November, 2014 and applications for housing are now being accepted.

Kakuda-san shows us a daycare room

Kakuda-san shows us a daycare room

What I liked best was the “at home”  feeling. It didn’t seem at all like an institution, but like a family home. I thought I would really feel comfortable here. When I watched a group of women gathered on a sofa, I noticed how animated their conversation seemed. I can see why one would want to come and spend the day here rather than at home. It costs 1500 yen/day to spend the day and you can enjoy this carefully prepared lunch for just 550 yen!

ONly 550 yen!

ONly 550 yen!

The assisted living units have a bedroom/sitting room, a small kitchenette, shower and bathroom.

OldPeoplesHome 024

OldPeoplesHome 023

The house is located in Shinanome, Minami-ward and surrounded by an old Japanese garden. Concerts  and seasonal events are held for the daycare patients. If you want more information, call Magokoro Net at  082-261-8402. (Japanese only!)

We really enjoyed our visit and want to say thanks again for your hospitality!







Wood Crafts

While in the area, we decided to peek into this interesting shop which is part a seller of Buddhist altars, but also a home builder and remodeling company. In the front window, the  scale models of an old Japanese farmhouse is an eyecatcher!  The owner, Masahiro Makio, has made these very accurate scale models as well as hte clay figures of workmen.

Scale model: workmen secure the straw roof

Scale model: workmen secure the straw roof

It is especially interesting as it shows in detail how the workers are  weaving ste straw on the roof, or mixing clay for the walls by stomping in it!

Notice the man mixing clay with his feet! This will plaster the bamboo wall behind him

Notice the man mixing clay with his feet! This will plaster the bamboo wall behind him

Makio san made these as well as many fishing lures and also has designed unique furniture like the chair in this photo!

For those interested in remodeling your home in wood or in seeing the furniture, contact Makio Kenzai, 082-885-0074.

Artist, furniture maker and home builder, Makio-san

Artist, furniture maker and home builder, Makio-san

From here we drove around and happened to see a little bakery in an ordinary house. It seems this shope specializes in bagels and there isa great vareity.I chose Fig bagel and one with chopped walnuts! The baker and shop owner, Oride san seems to be very young! He gave us a sample and it was very soft and “mochi-mochi” as we say in Japanese. (もっちりしている!)

Oride-san at Zenpan bakery

Oride-san at Zenpan bakery

Take a look at the menu on the Zenpan webpage. (禅パン 住所  広島県安芸郡坂町鯛尾2-8-16       Tel. 090-9500-9896 Open from 11:00 to 5:00, or order online.

Bagels at Zenpan!

Bagels at Zenpan!

We had a really good day and especially enjoyed meeting the staff at Hiyorian Care center! Thanks again!!

Natsuko and Seiko enjoy the garden at Hiyorian

Natsuko and Seiko enjoy the garden at Hiyorian

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