Kyoto Gyoen National garden and Kan’in-no-miya residence

Kyoto Gyoen National garden (10 September 2020)

Kyoto Gyoen National garden is huge garden including Imperial palace and Sento imperial palace, but start from outside imperial palace. There are 9 gates at Kyoto Gyoen National garden, but most famous one is Hamaguri gate.

Hamaguri gate, literally Clam gate, the gate known as unopened except in a case of fire, so opened like heated clam. The official name is Shinzaemon.

Hamaguri gate

Huge gravel streets are designed in the garden

Main road in Kyoto Gyoen National garden

Also we can enjoy strolling along natural flow named demizu-no-small river

Demizu-no-small river

I visited Kan’in-no-miya residence, former one of the imperial families’ residence through an elegant shape of East gate.Elegant shape of East gate of Kan'in-no-miya residence.

I relaxed in a calm and tranquil old residence of imperial family’s residence

Middle court of Kan'in-no-miya residence.

Kan'in-no-miya residence.

Let’s move to Sento Imperial palace next.

Visit to Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum

Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum (1 September 2020)

As I can feel a lit bit cooler at just September, I visit an exhibition: Dreamed childhoods – Bonnard, the Nabis and childhood at Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum, a building was designed in 1894 by the English architect Josiah Conder and constructed by Mitsubishi as the first Western-style office building in Tokyo’s Marunouchi district.

The original structure was torn down once in 1968, but it has been reconstructed on the same lot according to Conder’s original plans.

 

Therefore, the Museum plans exhibitions mainly focused on artworks developed in end of the 19th century and beginning of  20th such as Impressionism.

This exhibition is focused on children painted mainly by the Nabis at the end of the nineteenth century.

 I can find interesting influences from Japanese Ukiyoe in some pictures although I cannot show them here.

It is my first visit after COVID19 in Marunouchi area and good for since I can feel vibrant feeling slightly in there.

Enjoy strolling Nihonji temple

Nihonji temple (11 August 2020)

Since it is not recommended to plan long travel or returning to home-town in this summer “obon” vacation season,

my family had a one-day trip to Nihonji temple in Nokorigi mountain in Chiba pref. next to Tokyo.

stone-carved Daibutsu, Yakushi Nyorai, Bhaiṣajyaguru

stone-carved Daibutsu, Yakushi Nyorai, Bhaiṣajyaguru

stone-carved Daibutsu, Yakushi Nyorai, Bhaiṣajyaguru

Jizō Bosatsu, Kṣitigarbha

Jizō Bosatsu, Kṣitigarbha

Jizō Bosatsu, Kṣitigarbha

This mountain is famous of big Buddha image on a cliff and “Jigoku Nozoki” (Hell Lookout) jotted from the cliff.

"Jigoku Nozoki" (Hell Lookout),

“Jigoku Nozoki” (Hell Lookout),

"Jigoku Nozoki" (Hell Lookout) and tall relief image of Kannon Bodhisattva

tall relief image of Kannon Bodhisattva

Tall relief image of Kannon Bodhisattva

My family and I strolled through forest and peak on the cliff by watching stone Buddhist statue, carved Arhat sculptures and wonderful view.

1500 hand-carved arhat sculptures

1500 hand-carved arhat sculptures

1500 hand-carved arhat sculptures

1500 hand-carved arhat sculptures

Although blowing wind in forest and on the cliff is a little bit cooler than seaside,

hard route on long steps and hot temperature made us soaked in sweat.

1500 hand-carved arhat sculptures

1500 hand-carved arhat sculptures

Yakushi Nyorai, Bhaiṣajyaguru

Yakushi Nyorai, Bhaiṣajyaguru

Even in short trip, my family really enjoyed wonderful scene, tasty seafoods and

beautiful sunset view of Mt. Fuji from artificial Umihotaru island on our way back to our home.

Sun set view of artificial Umihotaru island

Sun set view of artificial Umihotaru island

Sun set view of artificial Umihotaru island

Mt. Fuji from artificial Umihotaru island,

Mt. Fuji from artificial Umihotaru island

artificial Umihotaru island

 

Visit to Tonogayako garden

Tonogayako garden (9 August 2020)

I visited Tonogayako garden near Kokubunnji station.

Jiro Benten Pond from a bower on the cliff

Jiro Benten Pond from a bower on the cliff

The garden is located on the southern edge of the Kokubunji rift line.

The natural flora in the Musashi plateau and the cliff-like rift area are well protected.

Open space in the clif

southern edge of the Kokubunji rift line

When I overlooked Jiro Benten Pond from a bower on the cliff listening songs of cicada and sound of “shishiodoshi”; water filled bamboo clacking against rock, I was able to forget noisy urban sound and scorching heat.

Jiro Benten Pond, spring at bottom of a clif

Jiro Benten Pond, spring at bottom of a clif

A bower on the cliff overlooking Jiro Benten Pond

A bower on the cliff overlooking Jiro Benten Pond

A bower on the cliff overlooking Jiro Benten Pond

Shishiodoshi; water filled bamboo clacking against rock

Shishiodoshi; water filled bamboo clacking against rock

As I walked around by watching summer or autumn flower such as false anemone, bush clover or patrinia,

I found a jewel beetle. I haven’t seen this beetle more than several decades, I can remember childhood days.

Chrysochroa fulgidissima/ Jewel beetle/ タマムシ

Chrysochroa fulgidissima/ Jewel beetle/ タマムシ

 

Strolling at Kichijoji

Kichijyoji (30 7 2020)

Kichijyoji, only 15 min. by train from Shinjuku, has many faces loved by all generations.

Let’s start from a statue of elephant

Hanako, the oldest elephant lived in Japanese zoo, past away at 2016 at 69 years old, in front of the station.

Hanako, the oldest elephant lived in Japanese zoo, Hanako, past away at 2016 at 69 years old

Near the station, many customers were in lines in front of popular shops. Some popular old shops are in line on the streets

Popular shops in the shopping street

Popular shops in the shopping street

A little walk from the station, many stylish or eccentric looking shops are coming into view.

Stylish, eccentric looking shops a little far from the station

Stylish, eccentric looking shops a little far from the station

Stylish, eccentric looking shops a little far from the station

Near the shopping street, some temples such as Ensoji are locating but no Kichijyoji temple.

Ensoji Temple near the shopping street

Ensoji Temple near the shopping street

Ensoji Temple near the shopping street

In back streets, atmosphere is changed completely.

A sweet shop in back streets

A sweet shop in back streets

Small alley in back streets

Small alley in back streets

Small alley in back streets

Yakitori restaurants in back streets

Yakitori restaurants in back streets

Yakitori restaurants in back streets

At south exit of the station, crowded street is little bit castic.

Crowded street at the south exiy of the station

But, after the crowded street, a road to Inokashira park is cozy.

A road to Inokashira park

A road to Inokashira park

In the zoo, there is no elephant, but many small animals make us relax.

A goat

A squirrel
Playground in the park

In the park, we can enjoy very good quiet atmosphere.

A spring of the pond

A spring of the pond

A main pond in the park

A main pond in the park

 

 

One-day trip to Kawagoe

Kowagoe (05 7 2020)

Kawagoe, located about 50km north-west and the nearest castle town from Edo (former name of Tokyo).

Kawagoe castle was important castle as a defense fort and many important feudal loads, such as Matsudaira clam or Sakai clam were deployed.

Main buildings of Kawagoe castle

 I visited a part of former main buildings of Kawagoe castle, recently

Japanese rock garden, Main buildings of Kawagoe castle

Japanese rock garden, Main buildings of Kawagoe castle

Japanese rock garden, Main buildings of Kawagoe castle

Mitsuba aoi crest, Japanese gargoyle roof tile

Mitsuba aoi crest, Japanese gargoyle roof tile

Then I visited picturesque Hikawa shrine. famous for instagrammers.

Rows of Pinwheels. gate of Hikawa shrine

Rows of Pinwheels. gate of Hikawa shrine

Dancing stage, Hikawa shrine

Dancing stage, Hikawa shrine

Then I walked around traditional snacks street and watched a bell tower in warehouse district in short time.

Traditional snacks street block

Traditional snacks street block

Traditional snacks street block

Traditional snacks street block

Traditional snacks street block

bell tower in warehouse district

bell tower in warehouse district

This tourists spot 1hour from Tokyo starts getting visitors by and by after almost shut down by new coronavirus.

warehouse district

 

The Imperial Palace visiting tour

The Imperial Palace tour (18 06 2020)

Tours are conducted twice a day (10:00am and 13:00 one-hour tour, admission free) except Sunday, Monday and national holidays.

You can join after registration in advance or on the spot 30 min. before start.

(currently numbers are limited 20 persons in advance and 30 persons on the spot by COVID19 influence)

伏見櫓 Fushimi yagura (keep)

The Imperial Palace, former Edo castle where Tokugawa shoguns lived in.

In the palace, it can be found mixture of buildings or construction built after Meiji Restoration as well as built in Edo period.

桔梗門 kikyoumon gate

Tour starts after through Kikyoumon gate and briefing in a visitor’s house.

旧枢密院 the former Privy Council

The former Privy Council

After passed by buildings of the former Privy Council, you can watch Fujimi yagura (keep) .

富士見櫓 Fushimi yagura (keep)

Fushimi yagura (keep)

Fujimi yagura (keep) which had important role after the main castle tower was burned down by the great fire of Meireki in 1657 and never rebuilt.

長和殿東庭 the east plaza in front of Chowaden Hall

The east plaza in front of Chowaden Hall

We enter into the east plaza in front of Chowaden Hall of the Kyuden (Imperial palace), where many public greetings such as New Year’s Day or Emperor’s birthday are celebrated.

正門鉄橋(二重橋)から見た正門石橋 the Stone bridge from the Iron bridge of main gate

the Stone bridge from the Iron bridge

We can enjoy views of the Stone bridge from the Iron bridge of main gate. Popular pictures from outside the place is like this.

石垣と土塁の組み合わせの深い堀の上に京都の伏見城から移築されたと伝えられる伏見櫓 Fushimi yagura (keep) is said relocated from Fushimi castle in Kyoto, standing on combination of stone walls and soil mound against deep moat.

Fushimi yagura (keep)

Another side we can see beautiful Fushimi yagura (keep) standing on combination of stone walls and soil mound against deep moat.

It is said relocated from Fushimi castle in Kyoto.

富士見櫓とビル群 Fushimi yagura with buildings

Fushimi yagura with buildings

On the way back to visitor center, the Fushimi yagura can be seen again with many buildings backdrop.

Since the buildings facing the Imperial palace are prohibited to show any advertisement, buildings look like obeying to the Fushimi yagura.

石垣 Stone wall

In the palace, we can find many kind of stone walls.

大名の印のある石 Stone with feudal lord's mark

Stone with feudal lord’s mark

緻密な石垣 Stone wall by fine work

Stone wall by fine work

We can find many plants and flowers in calm environment.

紅葉 Maples in the palace

fresh green leaves of Maples

山紫陽花 Hydrangea

Hydrangea

I learned tree name in Jindai Botanical Gardens

Jindai Botanical Gardens (12 6 2020)

Jindai Botanical Gardens, located in west side of Tokyo, is one of the best garden in Japan.

It has many good facilities like a greenhouse, a rose garden, as well as rich nature of Musashino hills.

Today, I entered into the forest for learning on trees. I have quite confidence to identify flowers however I tried to identify trees without flowers by recognizing shape of leaf, figure of whole tree, and so on.

Then I reconfirm Japanese name and English name of trees. Such as oaks, live oaks maples.

It was a little of tough form me, but in the fresh green forest, cool air was so good and I could listen songs of birds in the forests.

 

Learn at Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku

Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku (09 06 2020)

Edo-Tokyo Museum

I visited a museum named Edo-Tokyo Museum in Ryogoku, Tokyo.

Facade of Nakamura-za Kabuki theater (1/1 model)

Facade of Nakamura-za Kabuki theater (1/1 model)

At the museum, we can learn history and culture from Edo (former name of Tokyo) to Tokyo.

Scale model (1/200) of Edo castle in the last years of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Scale model (1/200) of Edo castle in the last years of the Tokugawa Shogunate

Shiroshoin (Throne or audience room) in main buildeings in Edo castle (1/30 scale)

Shiroshoin (Throne or audience room) in main buildeings in Edo castle (1/30 scale)

As the museum was in a few days after reopened as the lift of emergency declaration by the COVID19,

there were few visitors, I could watch them smoothly.

Chonin (townspeople) area around Nihonbashi (1/30 scale model)

Chonin (townspeople) area around Nihonbashi (1/30 scale model)

There are many interesting exhibitions such as replicas, scale models and panels with English explanations,

so we can learn by enjoying and effectively.

1/1 model of Munewari nagaya (A split row house) for townspeople

1/1 model of Munewari nagaya (A split row house) for townspeople

1/1 model of facade of bookstore

1/1 model of facade of bookstore

Sushi shop cart replica

Sushi shop cart replica

If you are interested in history and culture of Edo and Tokyo, one day might not be enough to learn by walking along designed route.

A Taxi in Tokyo in 1920's

A Taxi in Tokyo in 1920’s

Also, there are many attracting place around the museum in Ryogoku area, such as Kokugikan (National Sumo Stadium) Sumida Hokusai Museum

Sumida Hokusai Museum

Sumida Hokusai Museum

Kokugikan (National Sumo Stadium)

Kokugikan (National Sumo Stadium)

and Ryogoku bridge over Sumida river.

Current Ryogoku briedge

Current Ryogoku briedge

West of Ryogoku bridge (1/30 scale model)

Ryogoku bridge (1/30 scale model) in Edo period

Tove Jansson Akemobono Forest-park (Moomin park) and Kazi hills

Tove Jansson Akemobono Forest-park (Moomin park) and Kazi hills (Saitama) (07 June 2020)

I went hiking at Kazi hills, Iruma city, with friends of my high school days.

Although we talked several times though on-line chatting during stay-at-home period, it was much pleasant to have causal talk in nature.

Of cause, we kept social distancing during our walking.

At the hill-foot, I enjoyed Tove Jansson Akemobono Forest-park (Moomin park), Hanno city