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Okochi Sanso – Kyoto

Located a 15 minute walk from Tenryūji Temple, on the slopes of Mount Ogura, at the end of the famous Arashiyama Tenryū-ji Bamboo Forest , is hidden this most beautiful place; Okochi Sanso.  The former home and garden of the actor Denjirō Ōkōchi  (1898–1962) the villa became public after his death in 1962.

Ōkōchi -san’s movie career spanned over 5 decades from 1926 – 1962.  Escaping from the bustle of set, He retreated to the land and designed (mostly himself) this calming collection of gardens and buildings through the 1930s – 40s.

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Jibutsudō

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Kenroku-en (兼六園) – Kanazawa

Kenrokuen literally means “Garden of the Six Sublimities”.  Looking into Chinese landscape theory, we see the six essential attributes that make up a perfect garden: Spaciousness, Seclusion, Artificiality, Antiquity, Abundant water and Broad views.

Experiencing these six essential qualities, combined in a single sculptured experience, makes something truly magical.

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Kanazawa Castle 金沢城 – Kanazawa

A leisurely stroll through Kanazawa Castle and the surrounding landscape are a joy shared.

The castle grounds are open until late, we were very lucky on the evening we were there to take in a fantastic light show over the water in the Gyokusen’inmaru garden.  This piece of natural landscaping is a multilevel garden, complete with cliff, waterfall, islands and lovey bridges sits close to the gate of it’s own name

Sadly our visit to Kanawaza was  too short and we did not have time to fully visit the castle interiors throughout the day.  Luckily, there is this interesting link describing the buildings standing technical exhibit.

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Higashiyama Ward – Kyoto

Kyoto’s Higashiyama is a happening area with souvenir stores, cafes, restaurants galleries and more.  Yes, it is very touristic, but try not to apply a regular tourist stop mentality that one dons in other counties.  Everything is priced accordingly to quality .

Guidebooks (and the actual guides) fail to give good directions on how find this district (1 of 11 in all Kyoto).   They all seemed to claim ‘no definite address‘!   After butting heads with taxi drivers and walking and walking and walking …  we came to the conclusion the best way to get there is asking directions to The Ryōzen Kannon; a war memorial and giant white concrete statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara.  Across the main street entrance to the memorial  is an uphill walking street.  This is the best place to start your walk. See map at the end of the post.  (In our opinon, The Ryōzen Kannon is not worth the time in a city of more interesting temples and shrines.)

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Masterpiece – Kyoto

Master-Piece is another of the great design stores that one should visit while in Kyoto.  MasterPiece specializes in waterproof bags; thoroughly designed with all the correct compartments, straps and details.

Master-Piece started as a company dedicated to creating all-weather gear for sailors and marine workers.  Then changing with the times to include consumer goods.  All made with impeccable Japanese quality.

This falls, once again, into a should’ve, would’ve, could’ve category; where we regret not purchasing one of the expensive, but of excellent value shoulder bags.  Yes they are not cheap; but that is exactly the point.  This is an item that will last and serve you well throughout.

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