Archive for the 'Temples and Shrines' Category

Posts about various temples and shrines

Great Excitement in Small Pleasures: A Starbucks Opens Nearby

The old Kyoto Theater Hall near my house reopened today after some years of renovation, emerging as "ROHM Theater Kyoto" (ロームシアター京都). ROHM is a semiconductor company based here in Kyoto, last mentioned on my blog more than 10 years ago, before I got into photography or even blogging that much, on this post about their annual Christmas lights at their company headquarters. They must have paid a boatload of money to someone to get branding rights for this renovated concert/theater complex.

I have a vague recollection of seeing some kind of performance at the original theater 25 years ago, when [...]


View full post »
Lazy New-Year Break and Reflections on Last Year’s Cycling

It's been a mostly-lazy New Year break for me, just hanging out at home with the family, working here and there on my Lightroom plugins, from time to time updating roads I cycle a lot at OpenStreeMap.org with much more accurate road data than they currently have, and some general vegetating.

I did get to bookmark the change of year with a last bicycle ride in 2015 up into the mountains north of Kyoto on the last day of the year. There was even a bit of snow. Brrrr. Then on January 2nd, I did a lazy ride to the [...]


View full post »
A Past-Its-Prime Visit to Kyoto’s Ochiba Shrine

My timing is getting all mixed up, but two days ago I posted about the Ochiba Shrine, with pictures from two weeks ago when it was in its full carpet-of-leaves splendor. By the time I'd posted it (two days ago) the splendor had passed; this post contains photos from a visit two days ago.

On the way home, we stopped by the Yama no Ie Hasegawa restaurant for coffee...

And dinner...

And dessert...

A visit here is always a nice way to end an outing.


View full post »
Cycling to Kyoto’s Ochiba Shrine Amid the Fall Colors

I've been meaning to write about a nice little solo ride I had two weeks ago, to the Ochiba Jinja shrine. It's the same place that I wrote about in "Great Day in Kyoto’s Colorful Northern Mountains", which actually happened the next day.

The course for this day's solo ride can be seen on my cycling heatmap.

The fall colors had been pretty subdued, but with my health back after six weeks of colds/allergy/something, everything looked beautiful to me.

The small sign pointed up what looked like a driveway, but turned out to be an old logging road. I probably [...]


View full post »
Wigglegram of a Pleasant Couple Among the Fall Colors at Kyoto’s Enkoji Temple

On a visit to the Enkoji Temple in northeast Kyoto yesterday, this couple in traditional kimono kindly posed for a wigglegram:

Anyone wearing kimono in these settings is certainly noticed by the camera, and it turns out that my camera had noticed her earlier, lost in thought in the main garden-viewing room...

This was part of Day 2 of Paul Barr's visit to Kyoto, which I'll write more about later. Day 1 was a visit to the Tenjuan Temple.

To be continued...


View full post »
Paul Barr in Kyoto Day 1: the Tenjuan Temple (Fall Colors and a Wigglegram)

Paul Barr, in town this week, and I made a visit yesterday to the Tenjuan Temple (天授庵) within the Nanzen Temple complex. It was my second visit inside, my first visit here having been three years ago. Earlier this year, though, I did feature the main gate of this shrine covered in snow.

Anyway, the fall colors this year in Kyoto seem a bit subdued, but it wasn't crowded yesterday and overall was really pleasant. We ended up sitting and enjoying more than taking photos.

友達ポールさんは来日して、一緒に天授庵行って、もみじを撮影しました。今年は色は薄い方ですが、雰囲気はなかなか良かった。よく落ち着いて、リラックス出来ました。

With the dark shadows under the overhang, and bright sunlight in the background, the [...]


View full post »
Great Day in Kyoto’s Colorful Northern Mountains, and at Strava’s Kyoto Office

I had a nice ride the other day with Andy Clark and Michael Edwards.

While meeting up in the morning, Nigel Randell happened to stop by on his way to work...

And we were approached by an American tourist passing by who saw our nice bikes and just wanted to say "hi"...

It turns out that he works for Strava, the running/riding community site where your activities can be mapped and compared to your prior efforts and to others. In the nine months since I started cycling, I've been absolutely shocked at how motivating Strava has been for me; upon [...]


View full post »
Social Ride Among Kyoto’s Fall Colors

Yesterday was the inaugural social ride hosted by NORU Kyoto. Whatever allergy/sickness that has been plaguing me of late was in remission, so a slow relaxing group ride seemed perfect for me.

This was my first ride with Tomas, the fastest rider in the group. Although I'd not ridden with Tomas before, we'd chatted at other events and share an interest in photography and programming. I was happy that my first ride with him was a slow social group ride, allowing me to keep up and chat.

To give a sense of Tomas' speed, his time on my benchmark Hanase [...]


View full post »
A Visit With Rick and Lily Hancock

I had the pleasure to have lunch today with Rick and Lily Hancock, visiting from Seattle. Rick has been reading my blog for years, and often comments, so we finally met "IRL" (In Real Life).

We spent all our time talking over ramen at Gogyo (五行) so didn't have much time for an outing afterwards, but walked over to the Rokkaku-do Temple for a few pictures.

As I described on this post six years ago, it's common at temples and shrines to pay a small fee for a random "fortune paper". If you get a good one, you take it [...]


View full post »
Yuba Lunch in Kyoto with Jim Breen

I started helping out Australian professor Jim Breen with his "edict" online Japanese-English dictionary in about 1989 when it had less than 3,000 entries. It has more than 230,000 now. In all the intervening years we'd met in real life only once, about 15 years ago, so I was very happy to meet him for lunch today as he finishes up a long hiking vacation in Japan.

He mentioned an interest in Yuba, so I knew the perfect spot, Junsei Okabeya (清水順正 おかべ家), which I wrote about several years ago here.

It's near the Kiyomizu Temple, so I went there [...]


View full post »
Touring the Countryside of Otsu City with its Mayor

The other day I got to participate in a relaxing countryside tour in the city of Otsu, next to Kyoto. The tour company, Tour du Lac Biwa ("Lake Biwa Tours"), specializes in unique experiences of things not generally open to the public (even to Japanese) combined with countryside food and hospitality, all presented in English.

この間、面白い事できました。このヴィデオ(NHKより)は簡単に説明します。

When I've gone on tours by them in the past (including this, this, this, and this) it's usually been as a "test foreigner" to give them feedback as they design their tours, and to share my photos with them. It's a symbiotic relationship, where [...]


View full post »
Bridget and Sarah’s Tour-de-Kyoto, Part 2

This post picks up from "Bridget and Sarah’s Tour-de-Kyoto, Part 1" about a great ride with a couple of Aussie girls visiting Kyoto. That first part of the story left off 3½ hours and 41km into our ride, after Eric had fixed his flat.

We got almost four whole minutes farther down the road before the next flat, this time on Sarah's bike.

Despite the rain, things got bright after that because we didn't get another flat for almost a full 30 minutes!

The rain abated a bit, so later when after having crested a short mountain pass, I went [...]


View full post »
Bridget and Sarah’s Tour-de-Kyoto, Part 1

A couple of Aussies on a cycling vacation in Japan contacted the Cycling Kyoto! group on Facebook looking for interesting rides in the area. A group of us ended up going on two rides in two days with Sarah Knights and Bridget Slocum, hard-core amateur cyclists that compete on the national level in Australia.

As it turns out, they're also fun people.

Manseki Kanemitsu and I met the girls near their hotel and moved across town toward the mountains to the west, picking up folks along the way....

After also picking up Mone Sakura, we headed toward the Arashiyama area [...]


View full post »
Scoping Out Portraiture Locations with Eric and Gigi at the Kiyomizu Temple

San Francisco friends Eric and Gigi are in town again. We last saw them earlier in the year buying a Kimono and playing in the snow. Yesterday they made a visit to the Kiyomizu Temple, and I popped over to join them.

It was a Monday, but the place was crazy crowded like during a high-season weekend. The economy must really be doing better.

Eric and Gigi like to shoot portraiture, and the challenge in a setting 8like this is to find places and angles that omit the crowd, yet still lend a feeling of the location. As we instinctively [...]


View full post »
The Solemn Uniqueness of Kyoto’s Kuginuki Jizo Temple

Without question, the most unique and solemn temple I've ever come across in Japan is the small but emotionally-packed Kuginuki Jizo Temple here in Kyoto.

今まで出会ったお寺の中で、一番面白いな、いかめしいお寺は京都にある釘抜地蔵です。 日本語で説明は難しいですが、ウィキペディアでは説明があるはず。

Its official name is The Shakushoji Temple (石像寺), but its name in the local vernacular, kuginuki jizou (more or less "nail-pulling guardian deity") reflects the images of nail and spike pullers that permeate the temple grounds...

Until you understand the meaning behind it, it certainly feels quite odd. But once you understand the meaning (which we'll get to below), you'll understand why the temple is so solemn.

As is common with jizo statues [...]


View full post »
Bicycle Ride Around Japan’s Largest Lake, Part 2

一ヶ月前の琵琶湖一周の物語を続きます。第一幕はこちら。

I'm finally getting around to continue the story from "Bicycle Ride Around Japan’s Largest Lake, Part 1", a 230km (143 mile) ride I did with a few friends a month ago. I've done a bunch of long rides since (115km, 143km, 147km, 145km, 50km, and 140km), but this remains my longest ride so far.

Here I'll repeat the map that leads the first post:

In the upper-rightish is the city of Nagahama, and that's about where the first post ended, so that's where this one picks up. We're moving around the lake in a counter-clockwise direction, so we're still [...]


View full post »
That Kyoto Temple With the Many Whimsical Statues

After so many cycling-related posts lately, it's time I get back to my basics with some pretty photos.

最近僕のブログはサイクリング関係ばかりみたいので、やっぱりたまに美しい京都の写真にも戻らなければいけない。

I've been meaning to write about the Otagi Nenbutsuji Temple (愛宕念仏寺) temple for years, and indeed all the photos on this post are from 2012 (from visits to the temple in April and December of that year). A few of the photos appeared a year ago in "A Few Desktop Backgrounds from the Delightfully Whimsical Otaginenbutsuji Temple", and one appears as the subject of my Photo-Development Challenge #2.

It's at the far north end of the Arashiyama area that is already [...]


View full post »
Informal Camera Comparison: Panasonic LX100 vs. Nikon D4

Paul Barr at the Toji-in Temple (等持院) in Kyoto, Japan, in photos taken by two different cameras (whose names are included in the data under each photo).

最近小さいカメラ(パナソニックLX100)を買いました、サイクリングをする時に使うと思います。 僕の普通のカメラ(大きいなニコンのD4)と比べると質はどうでしょうか。京都市の等持院でテストをしました、同時二つのカメラを使って、だいたい同じ写真二枚を撮った。結局LX100は結構良かった。この記事の写真の下にカメラ名が付いている。

When I started cycling earlier in the year, I brought along my big Nikon D4, carried slung across my back like this so that I'd have it ready to shoot when I wanted (like this).

It's a heavy camera to carry, especially on steep uphill mountain rides, but I like the quality of photograph that it allows me to get. I don't think I'd be able to get these kinds [...]


View full post »
Conquering Kyoto’s Seryo Pass with Manu Mohan

Today I went with Manu Mohan on his first "real" cycling ride.

Manu is a National Scholar student of linguists at Kyoto University who happens to part-time at the convenience store near me, and his easy smile and cheerful attitude made me want to connect with him beyond the 30-seconds snippets at the cash register. When he saw on Facebook that I was into cycling, he expressed interest.

So today we got together for an easy, untaxing first ride.

I somehow had it in my head that he lived near Nijo Castle halfway across town from me, so I suggested [...]


View full post »
A Day of Vertical-Climb Cycling Torture in Western Kyoto

The problem with adding a new hobby is that it takes time away from other things. I've been cycling a fair amount lately, but still must devote time to family and my Lightroom work, so what falls behind is my blogging.

Yesterday I led a 100km extreme-mountain cycle ride with some friends from Cycling Kyoto. I was the slowest/weakest of the five guys, so "lead" was only in the map sense, but I purposefully made a route in the mountains of western Kyoto with as much vertical climb as I could fit in.

It ended up being a hot, [...]


View full post »