Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Kyoto Sketches

After exiting the Shinkansen we made our way around Kyoto station trying to figure out how to get our heavy luggage shipped to Kansai airport so we wouldn’t have to lug it around during our temple stay at Shunkoin.  Inexplicably (for Japan at least) there seemed no way to do this, so instead we settled for leaving our luggage in Japan’s ubiquitous storage lockers overnight.  A short train ride and walk later and we were at the beautiful Shunkoin temple, which resides in theMyoinji temple complex.  The temple stay was one of the highlights of our Japan trip,and the accompanying Zen meditation and tour of the temple the next day is a cultural experience that any visitor to Kyoto shouldn’t miss.  The sketch above was painted in the early morning of our last day in Japan.  It had started snowing and I sat down underneath a hut facing the temple’s graveyard with my penbrush in hand.   Afterwards I borrowed one of the Temples bikes to explore the area and buy bread from the local bakery.
This second sketch was actually penned the night before, in the sitting area outside our room.  I put it second because frankly I liked the first sketch better.
This was one of the last sketches I penned in Kyoto.  Aissa and I biked through the cold, snowy weather to ryoanji temple, made famous for a rock garden with 15 stones that are supposed to grant wisdom to those who can unlock their secrets.  This sketch was not of those stones, but another random landscaped area in front of the temple.  We’d sat down for a bit to rest and since I’d found another rubber stamp it was a sure sign that I had to sketch something.  It was in this temple that we discovered an until now unnamed triangular rice cake that tasted so amazing Aissa had to buy a box right there.  Sadly, we were to find out later that these souvenirs were quite common and even cheaper once you got to the airport.
It’s been almost three weeks since we arrived from our honeymoon Japan and not a day has gone by that I haven’t thought about (earthquakes and tsunamis and nuclear reactors notwithstanding) going back.   Looking back at the trip through these sketches has been enjoyable for me, as I hope it has been for my (five) readers.


  1. Hi Ryan,
    I really like your Japan and China Great wall sketches as I have been to both countries in the places you describe. Makes me want to go back :)
    And very sad indeed what happened in Japan as it is a country that I love deeply...

  2. Thanks Philippe! Of course you know I love your sketches as well.

    I'm planning on more sketches of different countries when we go to Taiwan and Korea next year. :)