Posted by: phoebz | July 20, 2008

Heian-jingu, National Museum of Modern Art, Kyoto

(still 29 June 2008)

I still walked for another hour, I think, the thoughts were quite blurry when I walked out of the park (Maruyama-koen), and found traditional houses, ochaya (tea houses), and several little shops. Unlike Tokyo where houses and building were all westernized/modernized, this neigborhood of Higashiyama still maintained its roots.
Here and there I found statue of tanuki in front of houses (I wonder what message would this creature bring to welcome the guests?)

Another temple in the rain

Another temple in the rain

I walked again in the hilly areas with narrow roads, almost no cars, and less people on sidewalks. As I did several times, I asked again with one lady who seemed to be friendly, which way I should go if I wanted to go to Heian-jingu (already started to think, did it really worth to go to Heian-jingu? with wet clothes and backpacks and souvenirs that began to weigh like 100 kilograms?)

They kept telling me to look for the big torii (shrine), which I would obviously see right away (and how did I get the power to translate that far? This time I do think God works in mysterious ways). But still no red torii for me to see.

there it was!!

I got out of the hilly traditional neighborhood and appeared on the urban and more modern neighborhood, with traffic lights on road intersections and all. And there in the faraway I saw a tiny (but huge, in real) red torii. Oh yay!!

So I walked towards the torii. Along the way, some more shops stalled my way. The one that I stopped quite for some time carried a classy collections of sport shoes decorated with sakura patterns. Some tshirts with original designs, canvas bags, printed with the head of a girl with flowers from 3D kimono scraps, and so many cute dolls, hair berrets in floral patterns, and many many souvenirs. I tought I’m gonna buy the whole store! (again, couldn’t get a hold of myself… he he)

The girl that attended the store was really cheerful and friendly. When I forgot my umbrella in the store (which forced me to go back, when it suddenly pouring again when I almost reached the torii), then I asked her if she would want to keep my heavy backpack and souvenir there while I went to Heian-jingu and the museum of modern art (conveniently on the way). She agreed, and would keep all my things in the staff room, asking me how long I’d be. I said one hour (-ish).

I wonder why I was so trusting with her, but the way she attended me and the other customers of the shop somehow told me she was a good person (and in Japan, people don’t steal, well at least AFAIK). So I let her keep my backpack containing my brand new USD 2,000 laptop and others. Whatever.. the backpack almost caused me permanent neck pain.

the giant torii

the giant torii

across museum of modern art

across museum of modern art

on bridge towards shrine

on bridge towards shrine

on bridge

on bridge







I walked, a lot lighter with only my sling bag containing camera, wallet, passport and a bottle of water. I took the time of having lunch while waiting for the rain to quiet down before, when I forgot to bring my umbrella in the store. And now I am happily skipping to the National Museum of Modern Art.


the torii still looks huge

the torii still looks huge

view from 2nd floor museum

view from 2nd floor museum

Could be my lucky day (still think that after the rainy walks in Maruyama-koen :P) , there was a Renoir special exhibition with collection from Le Musée d’Orsay, Paris, France. Wuoh… I went to the ticket booth and bought both regular collection and the special exhibition. 


Pierre-Auguste Renoir (February 25, 1841–December 3, 1919) was a French artist who was a leading painter in the development of the Impressionist style. As a celebrator of beauty, and especially feminine sensuality, it has been said that “Renoir is the final representative of a tradition which runs directly from Rubens to Watteau”.

From Wikipedia Renoir

There were quite a line to this exhibition. I guess rain don’t stop the art spectators of Kyoto from attending this special exhibition. I don’t know that much about Renoir, only that he is an impressionist artist, in the same era as Monet. But I recognize some of the works, from walking through the halls where the paintings were hanging. 

The exhibition was in 4th floor, and we directed to the elevator. In the entrance of the exhibition hall, they provide audio cassette with narration of the artworks displayed. Too bad no English. Moreover, then I am stuck with French titles and kanji translation, so might as well just enjoy it 🙂

The Japanese people were very orderly. I never see anyone cut any line since the first time I’m arrived. And now, in the packed hall of museum, noone produced any noises, and no pushing or cutting into each other’s line like we often experience in one particular country in south-east Asia (that I dearly miss right now).

The exhibition includes several famous works :

The Swing (La Balançoire), 1876, oil on canvas, Musée d'Orsay, ParisDance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette), 1876, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Dance at Le Moulin de la Galette (Le Bal au Moulin de la Galette), 1876, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and 

The Swing (La Balançoire), 1876, oil on canvas 
From Wikipedia

After finishing Renoir, and caught in a moment without canceling the thought of buying a Renoir book in Japanese, I took the stairs to the second floor of the regular collection. Seeing one Picasso (forgot the title), and some of the famous works, Japanese artist’s work like the room-separation painted in a pool of koi fish (sorry no photography permitted).

There were also some 3D works like pottery and really awesome kimono (an emperor’s ? he he). Somehow I felt uneasy of leaving my backpack with a stranger, then I cut the visit short, and head to the first floor where they have all the souvenirs of the museum. Bought several postcards of Renoir as a memento that I was here, and some mini-clear folders to keep the bills and receipts tidy.

Then I go on towards Heian Jingu, the destination that so hard to reach (seems like). I’ll give you some pictures of the Shinto temple :

the gate to the temple

the temple

the temple

in the rain

in the rain

liat miko nya inget Kikyou di Inuyasha!

liat miko nya inget Kikyou di Inuyasha!






Another walk towards the red Torii and then went to the shop. My bag was safely sound, and the girl greeted me, making me felt slightly guilty for having bad thoughts about her. I asked her for the last time (since it’s difficult to find a person who can speak english), how to catch a bus to Kyoto-eki. And she told me, it was just right across the street. 

I waited for a while, not long the bus came (no getting lost this time – I’m too tired anyway), and then got there (I don’t know how I managed with the already full backpack – some of the souvenirs I moved there to avoid the rain) and still one plastic bag of another group of souvenirs.

After reaching Kyoto station, I had to take the subway to the station nearby the hotel, which is Marutamachi-bashi. Now, the challenge is how to get to the right subway platform. In the basement there was a department store, and everywhere I turned there were only shops, and no signs to subway. Hopeless, and the backpack is killing my neck once again, asking around, finally I got to the subway. Phew…

My friend already text-messaged me since I was still at Heian-jingu, so that meant that I was expected. I got into the subway, got off at Marutamachi-bashi, but wrong exit. (hehe, not remembering the experience of Takebashi…. duhhh) and then ask a really old lady where is the Gosho (imperial palace),  because I just know the hotel is right across the imperial palace park. She pointed out the place. 

I got a bit disoriented, and then found the kaban that I went to first thing in the morning before getting to the bus stop. Ah there must be the hotel. 

Finally I arrived at the hotel, dashed to the toilet to freshen up (if there is any difference that can be made, my clothes was dry, rained on, and dry again), claimed my luggage, and dragged the luggage to front porch of the hotel.

There I finished one carton of Glico strawberry milk (starving), and one onigiri. Then rearrange the souvenirs into my backpack and one travelling back and one huge plastic bag. Then I wonder still now, how I managed with all these stuff to Marutomachi-bashi subway station and then back to Kyoto-eki. 

I had a plan. I will drop the things at Kyoto-eki, in coin locker, and then I will go to Nara only with necessary stuff. Seemed that what I left behind at Tokyo still not enough, or I guess it was just my shopping mood that resulted into many additional baggage. But finally I got a coin locker, put 400 yen there and put most of my things there in one huge plastic bag.

Ah. Life is suddenly good again. Well, prolly not just yet! Gotta catch the train to Takanohara (station in Nara where my friend will pick me up). Uh oh. Gotta run.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: