Japan Memories Day 11: World’s Smallest Museum of Ukiyoe, Boar Temple, & Exploring In Kyoto!

This is day 11 of revisiting my journal from our trip to Japan last year! If you’d like to start at the beginning, here is day 1.

So, day 11, here we go!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 11, October 11, 2017

On my morning stroll I happened upon “The World’s Smallest Museum of Ukiyoe”, which I was hoping to visit (I didn’t realize it was just around the corner from the inn!). 

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Mr. Ichimura was sitting outside and invited me in. He told me to call him Ojiisan (Grandfather). The “museum” is the entry hall of his home. In these cramped quarters his magnificent prints lay scattered over the counter and the entrance floor where he sits. He showed me a few of the woodblocks he uses for his printmaking. (I counted at least 8 pieces for Hokusai’s wave!) 

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Ojiisan is a sweet old man. Between my basic Japanese and his basic English, we were able to discuss a little bit about his craft. He told me that some prints use watercolour, and some use oil. He discussed how Ukiyoe is an old tradition, how gradation of inks is important, and how a man visiting from London designed his English signage oustide: it reads “I open when I wake up and close when I must go to sleep. When I’ve had enough, the store is closed.” We agreed that it is quite funny!

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He was very humble, wanting me to understand that his part in Ukiyoe is in the printing of the inks only- he does not carve or design. Yet, the printings are impressive feats of many different layers, each of which must be pressed exactly in alignment, and featuring lovely gradation of colours.

As we were discussing and I was preparing to pay for some prints, a young man stopped by- I felt bad for making him wait as Ojiisan dealt with my prints and money >.< so I apologized. Ojiisan gave me a free extra print of purple flowers ❤ I got several prints as well for some gifts, for my journal, and to display at home! Ojiisan also gave me a paper with information about the Small Ukiyoe Museum and the craft of Ukiyoe.

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 I feel like being able to meet and talk with Grandfather was a special gift, and a it was a highlight of my trip for sure.

Now if this ain’t just the cutest lil duck you ever did see… (I’m obsessed with this duck print).

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After my Ukiyoe adventure, I got a “morning set” (eggs on toast) at a little cafe down the road.

Next, I visited the lovely temple across the street from our inn. It has images and statues of boars everywhere.

I bought a fortune and couldn’t get much out of it with google translate, but some of it sounded like ill omens, so I tied it to the fortune tree. 

Dustin and I did a bit of exploring in Kyoto together today. We checked out the Kyoto Disney Store (an employee there noticed my SHINee keychain and told me she is also a Shawol! It was exciting!), PokeCenter, and a few other spots. I got some Diabolik Lovers manga (!) from a bookstore. We had tasty sushi at a conveyor belt restaurant.

In the afternoon Dustin headed back to the inn and I walked to the Kyoto Handicraft Centre. So many lovely artisan goods there! I got the attendant at the centre to call me a taxi since my feet were KILLING me after a long day of walking. I had a nice little conversation with the taxi driver who thanked me for complimenting Japan and he in turn complimented my Japanese. 

 

Tomorrow is day 12: Universal Studios Japan!

Japan Memories Day 10: Goodbye Gunma, Hello Kyoto!

This is day 10 of revisiting my journal from our trip to Japan last year! If you’d like to start at the beginning, here is day 1.

So, day 10, here we go!

From Shauna’s Journal

Day 10, October 10th, 2017

This morning I got up at 6AM and went for one last dip in the rotenburo. I thought few people would be up so early, but there were quite a lot actually. When I returned I was locked out of our room for quite a few minutes, standing in the hallway in my yukata, tapping incessantly on the door. I thought Dustin had left for the onsen, or was deep asleep not hearing me, and I was getting more and more peeved (trying to knock loud enough that he would hear me but not so loud as to disturb other people sleeping)- it turns out he was having a nice leisurely shower, oblivious to my struggle T-T

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I got a few more pictures of gorgeous Takaragawa before we returned our key and checked out. I told the staff how beautiful I thought Takaragawa was, and they gave us a free keepsake DVD. We took a shuttle bus through the winding roads back to Jomo Kogen station.

Now we are enroute to Kyoto ❤ I was getting a bit hangry from hunger and being hot and tired lugging around our bags again, but now I’m fed, aboard a comfy shinkansen, and much more at ease. We got ekiben (train bento from the station) and these fancy sweet cakes from Tokyo Banana!

 

Shinkansen (bullet trains) are great. They rocket you to your destination, they are efficient and on time, the seats can be rotated to face the way the train is heading, and it fits more people than an airplane while being more spacious and comfortable. Even the bathrooms are nice!

When we reached Kyoto we took a taxi to what will be our home for the next 4 nights: M’s Inn Higashiyama. I had paid in advance for the entire duration at M’s Inn, and this was the booking that caused me the most anxiety… after I booked it I realized that it has a very modern check-in system where there are no staff during most hours- you use a tablet to check yourself in with an emailed code, and your inn room also has a code for entry! I was worried that if we encountered an issue with codes or language barriers there would be no staff to help, but everything went smoothly!

M’s Inn has a deceptively small, simple, traditional looking exterior, but inside it is a spacious new building with many rooms and modern art by Junko Funada throughout. Our room is a blend of modern and traditional, with bed or futon option, a tatami & shogi screen area, a washer and dryer in one, little kitchen, toilet & sink room, and a shower/bath room. This place was a bit on the expensive side, but we feel it was worth it. Dustin is smitten with this little place.

 

Out one window we have a view of a tiny rooftop garden belonging to a neighbor. Out the other we have a view of a street where you can see many pedestrians coming and going, as well as a beautiful shrine! We spotted a woman posing for pictures in a lovely pink Kimono.

 

Tomorrow is day 11, World’s Smallest Museum of Ukiyoe, Boar Temple, & Exploring In Kyoto.