Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Okonomiyaki Restaurant "Kiraku"

Okonomiyaki is a very popular pan fried food.  Among many okonomiyaki restaurants in the neighborhood, "Kiraku" is my favorite.  It is located near Gojo-zaka bus stop.

Aonori (seaweed flakes) and katsuobushi (bonito flakes) for topping.

You can adjust the taste with sweet sauce, spicy sauce, and mayonnaise.

They also have various side menus.  This is beef tendon stew.

Bite size gyoza dumplings.

Chicken meatballs.

Bacon-wrapped asparagus.

Steak of Yama-imo (Dioscorea opposita).  

English menu is available too.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hello Kitty Postage Stamps

The seal-type postage stamps "Summer Greetings" will become available on June 21st.  

And this is a very popular Hello Kitty series, which I purchase every year for collection.  This year's design is also very cute!! 

Monday, May 06, 2013

Special Exhibition of Kano Sanraku and Sansetsu

I went to see "Kano Sanraku (1559-1635) and Kano Sansetsu (1590-1651)" exhibition at Kyoto National Museum.   

Established in the 15th century, the Kano School is one of Japan's most famous institutions of Japanese painting.

Kyoto National Museum brings together a retrospective of the works of two masters.  It is the museum's first major exhibition of Kano School works since 2010 and features newly discovered art pieces, as well as works that are brought back to Japan for the first time from overseas collections.

The contents of the exhibition are so wonderful and breathtaking!!! The artists' skillful techniques are overwhelming and I deeply felt the energy of their concentration on every single line.

As I started late at 4:30PM, I wasn't able to see all of the artworks by the closing time of 6PM.

Since it had stopped raining when I came out of the Museum, I took a walk around the museum.  Rodin's "The Thinker" in the courtyard is surrounded by azaleas in full bloom,

I am going to come back once again to see the exhibition, from opening time to closing time!! 
Kyoto National Museum: 075-525-2473
9:30AM - 6PM (Friday till 8PM)
Closed Monday
Admission: 1,400 yen

Sunday, May 05, 2013

Nishi Honganji Temple

There are 17 temples and shrines authorized as World Heritage in Kyoto. Nishi-Honganji Temple is one of them.

It is the head temple of Jodo-Shinshu Honganji Sect which was founded by Shinran Shonin.

The huge symbol tree "Great Ginkgo" is about 400 years old, and is in the middle of the precincts of the temple.  There is a legend about this tree:  when the conflagration occurred in 1788, the tree splashed water out of branches and saved Mikage-do Hall and Amida-do Hall from fire.

Many such designs were purposely created in the passage of Amida-do Hall. These were craftsmen's stylish play, when fixing and hiding knotholes and cracks.  Incidentally, Amida-do Hall is 441 tatami mats large, and Mikage-do Hall is 723 tatami mats large!
 (1 tatami = 1.53 Sq. Meters/16.46 Sq. Feet) 

The precinct of the Temple is also very big!

This is a National Treasure "Karamon Gate" which is located on the south of the Temple. Very colorful and brilliant sculpture. 

My main purpose of this time was to see "Shoin" and "Hiunkaku Pavilion" of the Temple.  Although there is no admission fee, I suggest donation (offering) at the Temple.  I made an offering of 1,000 yen, and received the scent of famous "Kungyokudo" as a commemoration.

*Registration by phone is required for the tour.  Duration is one hour; photography is prohibited; guidance is only in Japanese.  Tour has a limited capacity and starts at 2:30 PM. 

Gathering place for the tour is Ryuko-den Hall, and I got these commemorative stamps.

The very first place "Hall of Tigers" has a picture of tigers on the board wall.  I learned for the very first time that, the artist distinguished male and female by the body patterns.  Leopard is actually a female tiger (tigress) and not a leopard!  What an agreeable co-starring!!

Kyoto National Museum is currently exhibiting artworks from those days of Momoyama and early Edo.  (The exhibition ends on May 12.)