Posts Tagged Under: koi travel

    2015/11/25
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Tokugawa dynasty developed social class system which was composed with warriors/feudal lords (samurai), farming peasants, crafts professionals and merchants. Nobilities, Buddhist monks, Shinto priests were out of this hierarchy system. During Edo period, people did not have freedom to choose their social class and place to live. Social class was hereditary and place of living was precisely separated by classes. Farming peasants were living in village whereas people of other three classes were living in castle town. Inside the castle town, each class was divided by blocks and living separately.

The lives of people were constrained by various rules, not only where to live but also fashion, hair style, and accessories. People were easily identified the class they belong by their looks. Samurai or feudal lords were given special status and Read More

    2015/11/24
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edo castle

When you come to Japan, you would find many interesting seasonal events or way of thinking which are related with Shinto and Buddhism. In addition to those two religions, some historical knowledge would help you understand Japanese culture and habits today. The key periods to understand Japanese society are Edo period (1603-1868), Muromachi period (1338-1573) and Heian period (794-1185). In 1603, the capital of Japan was transferred to Edo (Tokyo today, literally means “East capital”) from Kyoto which has been center of Japan since 794. Edo period is important to understand Tokyo and Muromachi and Heian period are closely related to the culture of Kyoto. Let’s review the characteristic of each Read More

    2015/11/22
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john with clay

His visit proved fruitful. A chance exchange with the owner of Tokyo ware shop led to the owner asking Kaneshige to take an apprentice. Expressing his heartfelt desire to learn the art of Bizen yaki (Bizen ware), John was accepted as a disciple of the illustrious master. Two years had passed since he first wrote to the master.

The apprenticeship was not easy. For the first year, he was not allowed to make any wares but to carry out miscellaneous tasks. His master was not there to teach him so he had to ‘steal’ his master’s techniques and try making is own wares at night after work. In the middle of winter, he would have Read More

    2015/11/21
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Inside the factory of John

Inside the factory of John

John was born in the US and lived there until settling in Japan 30 years ago. He is a Bizen yaki (Bizen ware) expert who apprenticed to Japanese Bizen master Michiaki Kaneshige, a Living Prefectural Treasure and first son of Living National Treasure Toyo Kaneshige. John currently lives in Bizen City, Japan, where he operates his own kiln.

Bizen City, the mecca of Bizen yaki, is a small town surrounded by mountains and rice fields approximately 2.5 hours away from Kyoto by train. It is surprising to find a foreigner living in such a place. What is more surprising, he is a pottery master who speaks perfect Japanese and has a Read More

    2015/11/20
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bizen ware2
The beauty of Bizen ware, or Bizen yaki, is strongly related to its rough texture and sober color. Its beauty was discovered at the end of the 16th century as the Japanese established their world-renowned tea ceremony. When the tea ceremony began to embrace ultimate simplicity, tea masters gradually favored Bizen yaki. They preferred Bizen yaki because of the simplicity. The aesthetics of beauty in simplicity and incompleteness, which was developed during the evolution of the tea ceremony, is called sabi. (Sabi will be described further in a subsequent post.)

John, a pottery artist who was apprenticed to a renowned Japanese Bizen yaki master Michiaki Kaneshige in the early 1980s says the beauty of Bizen yaki is something you extract Read More

    2015/11/19
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bizen ware

At first glance, you may be confused as to why Japanese people consider Bizen-style pottery very beautiful and one of their most valued cultural arts. Because its color does not seem to be something special, the shape looks ordinary. You could pick up a Bizen-style pottery by the roadside without realizing its beauty. But if you were to take it home and display it in a tokonoma alcove, you will appreciate its beauty.

Bizen yaki, or Bizen ware is said to have originated in the 5th century, as sueki (or sue ware). It was then used by upper-class people. Only around the beginning of the 14th century did Bizen yaki become popular nationwide due to its robustness. The name is derived Read More

    2015/11/18
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bonsai

Bonsai is a miniature tree in a small container, but more than that. Bonsai is an art to create majestic scenery inside the container. Unlike pictures or sculptures, it is a living art and the time plays an important role. You’d easily find more than 80 years old but only 40 cm high bonsai in a garden. Time plays important role to make beautiful shape as the bonsai owner intend. In Japan, Bonsai is regarded a hobby for elderly men, however, it is better to start as early as possible if you are looking for your own idealistic bonsai.

Became interested in bonsai? koi Travel offers you unique bonsai experiences!

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    2015/11/15
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moss basin
In a Japanese garden, green moss is one of the most important components. It is a symbol of smallness of a human being in contrast to the great nature and the flow of time, as it takes long period of time for moss to cover the entire rocks or ground. Therefore grown moss tells us the shortness of a human life and is a good sign to correct the arrogance of human beings.

As you may know, values of Japanese are strongly related with Shinto and Buddhism. Shinto, the oldest Japanese religion, worships the great nature and does not intend to control the nature. Buddhism, which also deeply influences on our way of thinking, tells Read More

    2015/11/14
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sinjuku gyoen garden

Now you understand three principles to enjoy Japanese garden in our previous post. The second principle, symbolization (mitate) is an important key to understand and enjoy a dry landscape garden or karesansui teien (枯山水庭園). As mentioned, a dry landscape garden is highly abstract. All natural objects such as mountains, water falls, flow of brook, and trees are represented by rocks, stones and moss. Some dry landscape gardens were designed to create the environment of zen training for zen monks. It is said that visitors are supposed to communicate with the garden silently and find your way of understanding the intention of the designer. This type of garden is designed to enjoy from inside the Read More

    2015/11/13
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magome

The most distinctive difference between Japanese garden and western-style garden is that Japanese ones are made as natural as possible whereas western ones in general arrange trees and rocks geometrically. Japanese garden designers follow three basic principles which are miniaturization (shukukei), symbolization (mitate) and “borrowed views”(shakkei). And those three principles are key to enjoy Japanese garden.

The first principle, miniaturization is to create natural views of mountain and brooks in reduced scale. The intention is to recreate idealized scene in a city to enjoy. This is usually applied to pond garden. The symbolization is to find dynamic landscape in small objects. Well observed symbolization is to see an island, a cape, or an inlet in an artificially-made hill or in rocks set Read More