Washoku Nada – Tokyo, Japan

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Washoku Nada

(81)  36. 427.9238
Fuji Building, 2-23-8  Higashi, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0011, Japan

www.washoku-nada.com

Open Hours:
18:00 – 24:00    Monday – Saturdays

Close to Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo, one finds Washoku Nada, a gem of a neighborhood restaurant.  Yoko Araki opened Washoku Nada  in 2009 after training at the Honke-Owariya soba restaurant in Kyoto, along with her brother, chef Tetsuya Araki (who also trained in Kyoto).

Washoku is the term for traditional Japanese Food and is recognized by UNESCO as an “intangible way of life” that helps define the island population.  The 4 key elements present are:

1. Ingredients: rice, vegetables, mushrooms, fish, sea dwellers and seaweed
2. Culinary approach: raw, steaming, boiling or stewing
3. Nutritional content: balanced nutrients seen in the many dishes being offered
4. Hospitality: in the full sense of the experience and how it effects your life

The Hospitality above is a much more total concept then what may come to a typical western thought on the subject.   One should include Yoko Araki’s background, as it is present in every  detail.  From the artfully displayed dishes to the carefully paired ceramics and cloths that accompany each dish.  Each dish that is made lovingly and with a wholesome deliciousness that you feel in your soul.

 

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above photo – owner Yoko Araki,  with chef Tetsuya Araki © Tokyo calendar

Reiyukai Shakaden Temple – Tokyo, Japan

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Reiyukai Shakaden Temple

(81)  35.563.2500
1-7-8 Azabudai Minato
Tokyo 06-0041, Japan

www.reiyukai.jp

One can count the space age the black star temple of Reiyukai Shakaden Temple among the many places in Tokyo that seem straight out of a Science Fiction movie!

Completed in 1975, this red and black granite complex sheathed in electrochemically coloured black-steel shingles, is home to the Buddhist sect Reiyūkai (霊友会 Spiritual-Friendship).   Reiyūkai emerged as an offshoot of Buddhism in 1925 by Kakutarō Kubo and Kimi Kotani, focusing on ancestral worship without a priesthood.

The temple is open to explore and consists of: the Main Hall, the Plaza, the Kotani Hall, various conference rooms, a cafeteria, a child care room, and a nurse’s office.

In Japanese, “Shakaden” means the “House of Shakyamuni.” It is a place where anyone can seek to further practice the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Lotus Sutra.

Interestingly, as Reiyūkai Buddhism has at its roots in the 1923 Great Kantō earthquake, the temple houses a reservoir with 400 tonnes of drinking water for use in the event that Tokyo is struck by another major disaster.

Note: As this is an active Temple, no photo are allowed in the expansive interior.

 

 

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Kyomizu Dera – Kyoto, Japan

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Sai-mon (west gate)

Kyomizu Dera

(81)  75.551.1234

Open Hours:
6:00-18:00    Daily
18:00-21:00 Special dates

Located up mount Otowain above Kyoto’s Higashiyama Ward, Kyomizu Dera is one of the most impressive structures of ancient Japan (and holds one of the best views in Kyoto!).  The walk up to the temple itself is a mesmerizing trek.  One eases up into the temple passing the massive structure beneath. By the time you get to the temple itself, you are already filled with awe.

The main hall was built in 778 and reconstructed in 1633.  The innermost sanctuary holds the image of eleven-headed Thousand-armed Kannon Bodhisattva. The deity of great mercy and compassion “Kiyomizu Kannon-san.”

The Zuigu-do hall, reconstructed in 1718, holds as it’s principal image  the Daizuigu Bodhisattva. Underneath this hall rests the Tainai meguri – regarded as the womb of Zuigu-Botatsu (symbolized by the Sanskrit character हर “Hara”) who is  known as the motherly Buddha.  The Tainai meguri is a pitch dark passage way, with only an oversized Buddhist bead string along the wall to guide your hand as you maze your way down to the Zuigu stone.

We visited the temple at night, after a lovely walk through the Higashiyama streets. We were quite lucky as the temple was open with a special light presentation!

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Kyyomizu Dera Temple
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photo © Kyomizu dera (Kyo-do hall en-ryu)
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