Thursday, April 9, 2015

Miyama and Ine

Entering Miyama -- great shot by Kari!
Today we spent a lot of time on the bus, traveling to the north of Kyoto and viewing lots of cherry blossoms along the way.  Also, the weather improved dramatically -- chilly and rainy yesterday, bright and sunny and breezy today.

It was about 2 hours to our first stop, the rural village of Miyama.  This village is special because it is one of the only places to see houses with a type of traditional thatched roofs, called kayabuki, the majority of which are still being used as homes.  The village was pretty small, but very pretty.  Lots of picturesque photo opportunities, so we all wondered around trying to find some material to use for a painting later in the workshop.  Thanks to a tip from another traveler, I found my way in one house which apparently doubled as a "cafe"/gallery/studio for a lovely lady named Maki Mitsuko.  She had lots of her own beautiful art on display, and some from her deceased teacher.  I couldn't resist getting some.  She and the little old lady in her shop spoke very little English (and I speak pretty much no Japanese), so it was a challenge, but it was fun to have her show me her art.

View of Miyama
See the moss?  Really cool thatching.  Little things growing all through it... :)

This is Maki's cafe/studio!

Cherry blossoms
More cherry blossoms
This is the painting i got that was made by Maki's teacher.
Maki pointed out her house is the bright red roof toward the back right.
Maki's work
More from Maki
We had about an hour in Miyama before we hopped back on the bus and moved on to our next stop, a coastal village called Ine.  On the way, we enjoyed beautiful bento boxes full of interesting things, including dango and Kyoto style pickles and lots of semi-identifiable things. My mind flashes here, but actually I enjoyed almost everything in the little box (even though I suspect some of it was fishcake), and ended up very full.

Bento box!

As we got closer to Ine and the Japanese seaside, we passed one of Japan's three "most beautiful views" or nihon sankei, called ama-no-hashidate.  This sandbar is said to be the fallen ladder of one of the deities who created Japan.  One day, he fell asleep instead of returning up his ladder to the heavens, and the ladder fell, creating this sandbar.  Our guide, Aki, explained that visitors are supposed to stand on the sandbar and look upside-down through their legs, and doing so they will be able to see a view of both heaven and earth, just like that deity did.

As we neared Ine, our bus maneuvered through narrow, winding streets with houses and buildings pressed so close it seemed like we'd hit someone as they walked out their front door.  Ine is located along the Sea of Japan, on the tip of the Tango Peninsula, and it is known for its distinctive funaya architecture (wooden boathouses in which the lower level is a sort of boat garage, and the upper level(s) is the residence or shop).  It was a very pretty spot -- lots of interesting material for a painting!  Keiko did an amazing demo, going from a basic sketch to a completed painting in less than an hour.  We all took lots of pics and then headed back to the bus for the long trip back home.

Some info about Ine
Scenic Ine boathouses
....and on the other side

Keiko with the start of her painting

Working on the water -- she is known for her skill at creating water and reflections

Some final touches

This is the view the painting captures

The completed painting!
This is the view from the bus window....about to fall in the Sea of Japan.
More views from the bus
And more

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