December 24, 2010

Reflections・・・ at Kyoto Station

 Kyoto Station is a futuristic building designed by the architect Hiroshi Hara. The station, soaring 60 meters high up to the sky, was completed in 1997.

The main concourse is amazingly spacious; 50 meters high, 147 meters wide, 29 meters deep. Through the ceiling, the art of steel and glass, people see the sky color changing over time and feel the transience of time. I appreciate it as the building has the Japanese traditional way of sensing the subtle change although it is a masterpiece of futurism.  At sunset the ceiling seems to glow a pale pink. The combination of the sunset, the high ceiling and the huge space is inspiring. This perfect setting also reminds me of a solemn cathedral in Europe.

What I enjoyed the most are the beautiful reflections. All the pictures in this blog, except one, have the reflections.
The huge glass facade  mirrors the sky, clouds and Kyoto Tower.
 These are intriguing mirror images. You will  wonder, what you see  is real or not.

He seems to be going to fall from the edge of the top. His image is also a reflection.

Twins of Kyoto Tower
 Grand Staircase is the soothing area where people sit down to take a rest, eat  or enjoy doing nothing.

Over the main concourse is an aerial walkway connecting the east and west wings,
 and giving a magnificent view of the city.
Although more than ten years have passed after the construction, this building is still half praised and half criticized by people. As Kyoto is the ancient capital where the emperors had lived more than 1000 years, the architectures in the city are expected to harmonize and unify with its long history and unique culture. Some people think the station is too modern. But, I really like this building which is the ideal  fusion of the modern and the traditional.

In front of the station is Kyoto Tower which also has been the subject of controversy since it was built. It isthe similar case with the station.

Kyoto Station is one of the most important transportation hubs served by train lines extending throughout Japan.
Why don't you come and explore the station which is the ideal starting point of your journey to Kyoto.
I'm sure you'll like it!

                                             Click to see the rules and to take a badge for yourself.

December 18, 2010

Merry Christmas at Nara Park !

In the late afternoon of a gentle winter day, I happened to meet this scene.

 A deer has just arrived at the edge of a pond to drink water. A father is taking pictures of his family, lying on his belly over a rock. People are talking and walking. Children are smiling. The pond quietly mirrors the peaceful scene. Over them, soaring up to the sky is a dawn redwood,  turning reddish-brown and watching people.  It looks like a natural Christmas tree.

When I encountered the tranquil and  soothing scene,  I could not help murmuring,
  " Merry Christmas !."

                             Click to see the rules and to take a badge for yourself.

December 06, 2010

Why Don't You Have a Cup of Tea ? Kissako (喫茶去)

"Kissako" is one of Buddha's teachings.

When you are very worried  or obsessed about your trouble, you can not see anything else but your trouble. You focus on one thing which seems too hard to solve, and you don't know what to do.

In such a time of being at a  loss, why don't you have a cup of tea?  The cup of tea will  surely relax you and make you realize there must be a  way  to conquer your trouble or it may not be as serious as  you  think.

When I walked pass him, I thought  I heard his voice  "Why don't you have a cup of tea?"



December 01, 2010

Last Flicker of Subtle Beauty, Mizuya-chaya (水谷茶屋)

There are two beautiful princesses in the myth of Nara. One is Princess Saho, the deity of spring. The other is Princess Tatsuta, the deity of autumn.

Princess Tatsuta gracefully flies from tree to tree and whispers to trees "Time has come. Change colors." Her long scarf is flowing and touching to them one by one. Being waked up with her gentle whispers, the trees start to turn myriad colors - crimson, scarlet, red, orange, gold, yellow and more, astonishing variety of hues. Finally she  arrives at Mizuya-chaya (Chaya means a tea room. 水谷茶屋)and finishes her mission. Mizuya-chaya is the last place where people enjoy viewing autumn leaves in Nara Park .

Mizuya-chaya is located at the entrance of the northern approach to Kasuga Grand Shrine. When climbing down the stairs from Mt. Wkakusa or climbing down from  the shrine,  a traditional thatched house suddenly appears . People catch their breath and feel as if they wandered into the fairy land.
It doesn't look like a restaurant but a tiny traditional house. It serves simple food -  noodles and Japanese sweets. You can enjoy the picturesque scenery and food, sitting outside. In all seasons, this place pleases the eye as much as the palate of visitors.

Behind  Mizuya-chaya, trickling is a serene stream,  Mizuya River, now being covered with autumn leaves. The river is the border between the sacred world of Kasuga Grand Shrine and the ordinary world.

There are a few small  paper dolls in the river. In Shinto, there is a purification ritual in which paper dolls are floated down rivers to wash away bad luck.

This picture was taken at the same place on June 30th when the big purification ritual is held annually.

The scenery of the surrounding  area  welcomes us  with the delicate beauty contributing to evoke quiet reflection.

A deer also seems to enjoy glowing autumn leaves.