Kyoto 京都 to Tokyo 東京

As mentioned, in Kyoto we pass this awesome temple several times a day.

Higashi-hongan-ji temple

One afternoon, we attend the Miyako Odori geisha performance.

Outside the Minamiza Theatre

Nearby is a statue of Izumo no Okuni, the woman who originated kabuki theatre.

All the world’s a stage…

I think it’s interesting that Okuni and William Shakespeare were alive and active at the same time. Just on opposite sides of the globe. Two people of humble origins that changed the world of theatre.

Crossing a bridge on the Kamo River, we see this bird on the rocks below. We research ‘water birds of Kyoto’, but can’t find a description that fits with his prominent crest.

Unidentified Flying Object

We walk around the Gion district.

House in Gion

This is Shinbashi Street in Gion.

Bridge over the Shirikawa
Picturesque Shinbashi Street

The Kennin-ji temple is nearby. It’s the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto.


On the ceiling of the main building is this marvelous painting of twin dragons.

Come not between the dragon and his wrath.‘ – King Lear

Of course there are Zen gardens in the courtyards.

The Zen Rake’s Progress

There are banks of chrysanthemums peonies at this time of the year.

Zen and the Art of Peony Maintenance

As per the anagrammatic title of this entry, we take the shinkansen to Tokyo.

Duck-billed shinkansen

The first of many (we have a 21-day Japan Railways railpass.) These trains travel at over 300 KPH. They are spotless, frequent, comfortable, and go like a rocket.

Our neighbourhood in Tokyo, Ueno, is a good mix of ‘lively’ and ‘quiet’.

The lively side of Ueno

The owner of our hotel is a former sushi chef. One evening, the guests enjoy a free feed of fresh sushi.

Sushi party

We continue to stumble onto landmark art exhibitions. There is a special exhibit on Gustav Klimt at the Tokyo Metropolitan Art Museum in Ueno Park.

Strolling with the locals in Ueno Park

The museum, like many places here, has a free umbrella locker. The Japanese are admirably civic-minded.

Umbrella locker

This tendency keeps us on our best behaviour. We try not to act like barbarians.

In the same park is the Tokyo National Museum.

It’s a treasure house of Japanese and other Asian articles.


This is the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building. It has great views over city from its free observation decks.

Also the home of the ‘Tokyo 2020’ Olympics organization

On a clear day, you can see Mt. Fuji.


Today is not a clear day.

Another view of Tokyo

A café at the top has a piano that anyone can use. A very self-possessed little girl puts on an impressive performance.

‘How do you get to Suntory Hall?’ ‘ Practice, practice, practice!’

This is Shibuya Crossing, in one of the busiest parts of Tokyo – a hectic place at the best of times.

‘Mind…Keeps on…Ringing like a fire alarm...

Japan has its examples of minimalism and simplicity. It also has a lot of visual pollution.


Sight or Insight of the Day

We have to mention the impressive working garb of Japanese taxi drivers. This one is typical, with his dark suit, crisp white shirt, tie, polished shoes and white gloves. Just like in Ottawa.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is IMG_6574-1024x688.jpg
Sharp-Dressed Man

This has been the norm everywhere we’ve been in Japan so far.