Saturday, February 28, 2015

Tokyo High Rise

We made it off the train at the correct stop and played follow the leader again to our hotel. There was high rise everywhere, well I had known there would be! Being a country girl at heart I find lots of high rise daunting. But going with the flow I was ready to explore.

It was only a few minutes walk to our hotel, much of it on walkways raised above street level. I found this interesting, as the walkways criss crossed everywhere and you needed a map to follow them like the roads.

The weather was cloudy, threatening to rain. The typhoon was still around.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Tokyo Trains

We made it back to Tokyo and had to find our way to our hotel. The girls who had organized our trip had been sent directions from the hotel staff, so between these and our seasoned travelling companions, we were on our way. We had to change trains at Tokyo Central Station. As this is at least four times the size of Sydney's Central Station, I was a little overwhelmed and just played follow the leader again.

Our trusty leaders led us to the suburban trains, of which we had to catch one, and travel only three stops before getting off and walking to our hotel.

The pic above shows the view inside a typical suburban train in Tokyo. They are slightly different than ours in Sydney. Sydney trains have more seats and less standing area. At least they had lots of places to "hang on ". It was also interesting to note the use of English as well as Japanese signage. DH and I never did catch any of the public transport by ourselves, but there was enough English that i think we could have.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mt Fuji and Rain

One of the girls we were travelling with had managed to get us reserved seats on the Shinkansen. It was organized so that we would be sitting on the side of the train to give us the best views of Mt Fuji, that is if Mt Fuji was visible on the day. I had heard that Mt Fuji was only clearly visible about 30 days a year, and this day was clearly not one of them. Somewhere under all that cloud from the approaching typhoon was Mt Fuji. Ah...... maybe next time.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

The Beginnings of High Rise

On our journey back to Tokyo, we passed through a number of cities. Each one had their own share of high rise. This was the view from my train window as we passed though one of the cities. After seeing a hotel in Kyoto station, it would not surprise me if this building is also a hotel. Though I cannot say for sure. As we approached Tokyo, the high rise got denser.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Travelling To Tokyo

After looking around Kyoto Station we finally made it to our platform to catch the Shinkansen back to Tokyo. Waiting for this train was an experience in itself. There were designated spots for the train to stop, just so that the doors would be at an exact  point when they opened. At these points, there were queuing lines, so there were no pushing & shoving to get on the train. Everything was orderly.

The trains and the platforms were also beautifully clean, as was everything we experienced in Japan. I did mention before about the shoes off experiences in the temples & shrines, and it was also shoes off in most of the restaurants. Hand bags were something else. These were never to be placed on the floor or over the back of a chair. They were to be placed on the seat beside you or behind you, but never on the floor. A Few places provided baskets under the tables to place handbags into while eating

It was also interesting to note the English signs for us tourists. I was still playing follow the leader at this point, but I think I could have found it all by myself if I had to.

We had walked from our hotel to the train station ( about 15 minutes) , then all around the station, all the while dragging our luggage with us. Consequently it was nice to get on the train. It had been drizzling with rain when we left, and as we approached Tokyo the rain got heavier. It was a two hour journey back to Tokyo, some down time that we all took to catch up on sleep, just rest, or in my case catch up on some journal writing,

Monday, February 23, 2015

Kyoto Station - The View From The Roof with Typhoons

We did make it up all those escalators I spoke of yesterday, to check out the view from the top. There was a clear barrier ( glass or perspex I am not sure) so the view was not inhibited, but what it did give was raindrops and reflections.

Yes it was raining that day, the beginnings of a typhoon. It was all over the news & I was on the understanding that we were heading away from it. Someone informed me that we were heading right into it. Mmmm....... if anyone really knows me they will know that storms are my phobia, and to hear that we were heading into the typhoon set me into a mild panic. I need not to have worried, as if the rain & wind we went through was a typhoon, then Japan has nothing on Sydney's thunderstorms. Yes it was wet and rainy, and wetter and more heavy as we headed into Tokyo, but I have seen worse, much, much worse. It was nothing that a little umbrella and my trusty poncho could not handle.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kyoto Station Pt 4

Remember the escalator I mentioned a few days back? This is the view of the escalator on the way back down from the roof. It was a little daunting catching this thing with luggage in tow. I think it rivals the one at Sydney's Wynyard station as far as steepness. There were about 4 escalators in all to get from the ground floor up to the roof, and they were all quite long and steep.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Kyoto Station Pt 3

Another view from the top of Kyoto Station down into it's depths. I love the roof line of this section, it could lead to a piece of creative stitching sometime in the future.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Kyoto Station Pt 2

Yesterday I showed you a view of Kyoto station from the ground up. Today it is a view from one of the viewing platforms down. A little too cold and sterile for my taste, especially after all the beautiful timber structures we had seen the day before

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Kyoto Station

In stark contrast to what we had spent the last two days looking at, this is Kyoto Station. Very very modern compared to all the temples and shrines that we had seen the day before.We were here to catch the Shinkasen train back to Tokyo, and had arrived a little early to have a little look around.

Size wise, it is similar to Sydney's Central Station, but much higher. There are shops, viewing platforms, and of course the trains. I think there may even be a hotel in there too if I remember correctly. If you look closely you will see the escalator that will take us to the roof,  but that's for another day.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Kyoto Laneways

After our taxi tour of Kyoto, we were dropped off in a main street with lots of car traffic & even traffic lights, From there we walked through narrow, tiny back streets looking for the restaurant we were booked into for dinner. As we walked ( not too far thank goodness!) the lane-ways became narrower & narrower. Such a contrast in a very short space.

The restaurant  was a Japanese BBQ type place, and between certain times it became an "all you can eat" ( & drink!) for a certain price. Our trusty guide had became aware of this place long before we left home, and after having a vegetarian lunch, the men in our group were hungry for meat.

When we arrived, there were a few small plates of very thin meat set upon tables with a BBQ in the center to cook it ourselves. ( I had been to Korean BBQ before ) Not a worry, the men in our group outnumbered the women, and they soon got busy. Within 5 minutes the first plates had disappeared and we were asking for refills. The poor waitress I think feigned "no English" to keep the time spread out, but with hungry Aussie men there was no hope of this happening. The "all you can eat" time frame was one and a half hours, and by the end of it we were all stuffed silly and quite a few were under the weather.

This was the end of a very long day, and from here we left by taxi to go back to the hotel for a long hot shower and a good night's sleep. Tomorrow would be another long day.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

The Messenger

The fox, known as "kitsune", is believed to be the messenger of Inari, the God of rice. There are quite a number of these foxes throughout the Shrine complex. Often seen in pairs, they guard most of the shrine entrances.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Vermilion Torii

One of the attractions of the Fushimi Inari Shrine is the endless ( or so it seems) pathway with thousands of Torri gates.  Inari,  ( the God of rice) now governs the modern business in success and prosperity, so each one of these thousands of Torri gates has been donated and inscribed by  a business who is thankful. Apparently the pathway goes on for miles, with over 10,000 of these gates, and takes a few hours to walk the distance. We were at the end of a very long day so I didn't walk too far.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Another Shrine Building

Yes, still another shrine building in the grounds of the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Showing off again those beautiful decorations on the line of the roof. If we look closely we can just see the art work on the doors.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Shrine Decoration Pt 4

Another panel of decoration on the Fushimi Inari Shrine. This is very similar to the last one, just shorter and wider. Beautiful!

Friday, February 13, 2015

Shrine Decoration Pt 3

Another decorative panel on a railing of the Fushimi Inari Shrine. This one is similar to the one I showed you a few days back, just narrower and mirrored.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Shrine Decoration Pt 2

Another panel from the Fushimi Inari Shrine. This one was at the base of a post. Inspiration plus!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Shrine Decoration

The gateway into the Fushimi Inari Shrine is full of decoration and inspiration. From a distance it appears to be gold, but I would say that is not the case. My guess would be stamped  brass, but brass would need an awful lot of polishing, especially out in the weather! They are metal of some kind, then carved, moulded, etched, stamped or whatever into these beautiful panels. The panels have then been nailed to the timber structure. I did wonder if the panel had been painted, but I think paint would not give the fine detail that we see here. If we look closely, we can see the nails, six of them. The one at the top and three at the bottom are  different to the two at the sides. I wonder if there is a reason for this? This panel was actually sideways, decorating a railing, so we need to imagine it turned at 90 deg anti clockwise.

The panel itself is still beautiful, and full of inspiration to me as a stitcher.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Scallops, Symbols, Flowers and Leaves

Ah........ here it is again. The beautiful roof decorations of the traditional Japanese buildings. This building would have been somewhere within the grounds of the Fushimi Inari Shrine, but which one I am not sure. The pattern created by simply mirroring the scallop, the dropping it down half a pattern, then again mirroring the result. Simply stunning! I am sure I can use that somewhere in my stitching. Then there is the Japanese symbol of family at the end of each ridge in the roof. Not to mention the laves and the flowers. All so beautiful!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Gold Roof Decoration

This is the roof line of one of the buildings at the Fushimi Inari Shrine. I am not sure if it is real gold, but there was a large amount of it. There were embossed overlays, embossed with flowers and vines, decorating the gable. The scroll decoration at the top was edged with it, and the ends of each of those roof beams were also decorated with it. Whatever it was, it certainly added to the building.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

More Roof Decorations

Just one of the many decorations on the buildings in the Fushimi Inari Shrine complex. This was on one of the smaller buildings.  I am sure I can use this as inspiration in my design work somewhere. Scallops in a row for a border, flowers in each of the scallops............mmmmmm, I could go on.......

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Roof Line

The one thing that I really enjoyed looking at is the roof lines on the Japanese buildings, especially the traditional ones. They are so different to anything that we have here at home. This it the roof of one of the buildings in the grounds of the Fushimi Inari Shrine. If you look closely, scrolls can bee seen decorating the roof.

Also, in the lower left corner of the pic you will see the prayer cards that  spoke of yesterday displayed on the wall.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Torii Gate

Throughout the complex of the Fushimi Inari Shrine there are many buildings, structures & Torii gates. This is the torii gate across the pathway to one of the smaller shrines of the complex.  Not clear in this photo are the prayer cards and flags that are left at the shrine. Through the gate and to the right of the pathway they are displayed on the wall, the cards on the top and the flags underneath. When I first saw the flags, I thought they were scarves hanging for sale. I was soon corrected by our guide.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Fushimi Inari Shrine

The Fushimi Inari Shrine is in Southern Kyoto & was the last stop in our taxi tour for the day. It is a Shinto Shrine dedicated to Inari, the Shinto God of rice. The shrine was full of inspiration for me a an embroiderer, and apparently there were lots of trails behind this main building to explore. I might add here that I did not explore very far. This stop was at the end of a very long day, and only the second day that we had spent in Japan.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

A Hallway

Postcard 8. The Entrance hall of the Daisen-In Temple. Very simple, but still with roof decortations.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Mt Horai - A Garden Depiction

Postcard 7. Mt Horai with the waterfall. Mt Horai is apparently a volcanic mountain in Japan that  we didn't get to see. It is interesting to note that the gardeners of the Daisen-In Temple like to depict other places in their gardens

Monday, February 2, 2015

The Treasure Boat

Postcard 5. The treasure boat and turtle covered with snow. At least that's what it says on the back of the postcard. Imagination is a wonderful thing! Someone had been busy with the rake again.

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Sand, Waves and Mounds

Postcard 4. Sand, waves and mounds. This garden is raked daily into different patterns. A definite labour of love