Sunday, 26 April 2009

a special open week of Kyoto Imperial Palace

Kyoto Imperial Palace, Kyoto

Kyoto Imperial Palace(京都御所),open to the public on weekdays,
needs pre-enrolment on a guided tour
run by the Imperial Household Agency’s staff.

There is an special open week in both spring and autumn
when it isn’t necessary to join an official guided tour.

This is Shishinden (紫宸殿), the hall for official ceremonies
and where the Imperial Throne is placed.

There is a cherry tree on the right and a citrus tree on the left,
you may see the same layout at Heian shrine
which was built as a smaller scale replica of the original Heian Palace.

In front of Shishinden is an open space
of raked pebbles enclosed by a cloister.
The view reminds me of Nara rather than Kyoto.

This garden is located in front of
Kogosho, court room, called Oike-niwa.

This is what I wanted to see more than the structures. Stones, suppose to be a beach in the garden, in the foreground of the picture are smooth and oval shaped like a bars of soap and which are a glossy pitch black in the rain. That’s what I saw in a book and I would have loved to see them like that. It wasn’t the perfect day for me, a bright, sunny and dry day which didn’t show off the rich colours of the garden.

You can’t have everything.

This particular open week there is an additional attraction,
in commemoration of the Emperor’s golden wedding anniversary,
the Empress’ residence and its garden,
not normally open to the public, can be viewed.

It is smaller scale than the Oike-niwa garden,
and it has a cosier atmosphere
with scarlet azalea bushes making it more colourful.

Thursday, 23 April 2009

wisteria in bloom

The Sakura season has gone
and now is the time for wisteria.

In the city centre off a busy street full of office buildings,
there’s a house covered with wisteria.
It has very sweet and pleasant smell.

It is said that the Japanese have thousands of family names
and one of the most common characters
in family names is fuji(藤) meaning wisteria,
the character originally comes from
the old aristocratic Fujiwara(藤原) clan.
It’s found in such names as
Satoh(佐藤), Saitoh(斉藤), Itoh(伊藤)
and shows they are descendant from the family.

The name Fujiwara literally means “wisteria field”
and their clan crest is wisteria.

Travelling in Japan you’ll come across the name of the clan
which once seized absolute power
and left their imprint throughout the country.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

a day at the Noh theatre

The first time I ever saw a Noh play
was a workshop at my high school.
I slept soundly throughout.

I was given a ticket for a performance recently
and it was outstandingly beautiful,
my eyes were wide opened during the entire performance.

I like Noh plays now.

probably the last sakura

Sakura in the town

Where the sakura bloom, people gather.
Japanese are crazy about
sakura and momizi maple trees.

Under sakura trees, people party hard!

Sakura at a temple

The Lake Biwa Canal flows into Kyoto from Lake Biwa.
It is a popular destination for sakura viewing
on both the Shiga and Kyoto sides.

Sakura in the country