Archive for April, 2012

April 27, 2012

Japanese art and Utamaro Kitagawa: striking ukiyo-e artist

Japanese art and Utamaro Kitagawa: striking ukiyo-e artist

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The exact date of the birth of Utamaro Kitagawa and strong details about his parents remain shrouded in mystery. It is known that this striking ukiyo-e artist was born in the middle of the eighteenth century and that he died in the early nineteenth century. However, while these details may remain sketchy the artistic skills of this ukiyo-e artist aren’t sketchy because he left a powerful legacy.

Utamaro was especially known for his bijin-ga (art of beautiful women) and studies of nature. In the middle of the nineteenth century his stunning ukiyo-e portraits reached many acclaimed artists in Europe, notably in France. The upshot of this was that he influenced European Impressionists because of aspects of his art related to partial views and other areas related to light and shade.

In the early art of Utamaro you can see the influence of Torii Kiyonaga and Harunobu Suzuki. Also, it is widely accepted that he studied under Toriyama Sekien and that the publisher Tsutaya Juzaburo enabled Utamaro to develop and prosper. This applies to the early part of his artistic career but in time the relationship would cease once Utamaro reached new heights in the early 1790s.

Therefore, from 1791 he concentrated on single portraits of ladies rather than women in groups, which was very popular at the time. His half-length portraits would also inspire many artists in later generations in Japan and much further afield.

It is stated that Utamaro would find models from either the streets of Tokyo or from the sexual known area called Yoshiwara, which is still known for this feature in modern day Tokyo. Also, in the streets of Harajuku, Shibuya, and Shinjuku in modern times, you will often see men asking beautiful ladies for work related to modeling and other areas. Therefore, it is easy to envisage Utamaro doing the same in the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century.

Utamaro didn’t just limit himself to bijin-ga because he also did work related to nature studies, animals, insects, and shunga (erotica). Often, this side of Utamaro is overlooked but clearly he was multi-dimensional. Also, it must be stated that shunga may appear to be more sexual from the non-Japanese point of view. However, in Japan this art form was a way of focusing on the natural side of human behavior.

Dieter Wanczura on the website Artelino comments that “When reading about this artist, you will often find phrases like “No other ukiyo-e artist has painted the beauty of women as deeply as he did”. This has indeed a point. Utamaro’s women express a certain sensitivity that no ukiyo-e artist had achieved before him. He had experimented with some new techniques to display the flesh tones of his women portraits in a different and softer manner.”

“But the artist certainly did not show women in their real natural physiognomy. His women are idealized with extremely tall and slender bodies. The heads are twice longer than broad. The noses are extremely long and the eyes and the mouth are depicted as tiny little slits. His women have long necks and small shoulders.”

“The typical physiognomy of a Japanese woman of the late eighteenth century was certainly far different from the designs of Utamaro. Indeed, his women look more like the models in today’s fashion magazines. Is this the key for an explanation of the success of Utamaro prints?”

Sadly, the last few years witnessed bouts of depression after being imprisoned in 1804 because of his art. This applies to an historical print that he produced which showed Toyotomi Hideyoshi (a pre-Edo leader who helped to unify Japan) with five concubines and his wife. However, this displeased the ruling elites and for this he was put in prison for a brief period (some say 50 days others state the period was much shorter).

Irrespective of the length of time, he took this badly because he felt humiliated and clearly this incident tarnished his reputation amongst the elites. He died two years later but his legacy remains strong because of the stunning pieces of art he produced

April 27, 2012

EU financial crisis: Japan gives the IMF $60 billion and America gives not a dime

EU financial crisis: Japan gives the IMF $60 billion and America gives not a dime

Pierre Leblanc and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The government of Japan is extremely worried about the financial crisis which continues to beset the European Union (EU). This factor meant that Japan promises to support the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to the tune of an additional $60 billion dollars. The United States under President Obama is to provide not one cent to the new initiative which is meant to restore stability and freshness during a time of genuine uncertainty.

Indeed, Japan showed its international responsibility because this nation became the largest contributor outside the non-eurozone. Yes, it wasn’t the United States, China, or India – this applies to the so-called economic superpower and the two nations which hog the limelight for being the future economic superpowers. Instead, it was Japan once more which showed its economic potency despite receiving negative press in this field for decades.

In recent times it is clear that the debt of the United States is spiraling under President Obama irrespective if he blames the leader before him. Yet prior to recent times many past American leaders like Bill Clinton lauded it over Japan. After all, the American model was meant to be dynamic, transparent, and truly global. However, just like the EU and “the new way” both appear to be out of touch and in need of “a new remedy.”

Unemployment in the United States remains around the 9% per cent mark and in nations like Greece and Spain, it is out of control. Irrespective if all the above nations bounce back and the unemployment figures come right down, it is clear that they could never match Japan. After all, two negative economic decades on the whole in Japan but despite this the unemployment figure always remained very low in comparison.

Therefore, the Japanese economic model is clearly concerned about creating jobs, maintaining social order, investing in neglected areas, and maintaining social cohesion. On the contrary, Western capitalist nations run up huge unemployment figures in such a short space of time. Also, the gap between the rich and poor and social deprivation is much higher in nations like the United States and United Kingdom.

Of course, Japan is beset by internal problems related to the declining birth-rate and other important factors. Yet despite the political quagmire in Japan the bureaucratic system maintains stability even when the “boat is rocking.”

Let us also remember that Japan just promised $60 billion dollars despite the tragic and terrible events of March 11, 2011, when the devastating tsunami created havoc. This means that Japan is still facing the consequences of this tragedy, a very high yen, and an energy crisis because of the nuclear factor in Fukushima. However, despite everything, it is Japan which is dipping into its reserves in order to help the EU during its “hour of need.”

In a previous article by Modern Tokyo Times it was stated that “Ironically, despite Japan “throwing away two wasted decades” and the terrible events of March 11 when the earthquake unleashed a potent and deadly tsunami; the government of Japan stepped in and bought more of Europe’s debt in order to boost the European Union. However, given the huge economic crisis generated by the tsunami and ongoing radiation crisis, it is difficult to imagine America coping with such a strong currency given all the problems which are happening in Japan. Not only this, Japan increased its support of America during this trying time by buying more American government bonds and providing the European Union in 2012 can come up with a serious economic policy, then Japan promises to help.”

“Given this, it appears that Japan keeps on ticking while America keeps on selling more of its debt and given the lack of government policy directed towards the weakening dollar, it does appear that the government of America is not responsive to the international community. Therefore, the currencies of Japan and Switzerland are paying a high price because the value of the Japanese yen isn’t based on market fundamentals.”

Eammon Fingleton a writer at Forbes commented that “This is not the first time that Japan has stepped up to the plate as lender of last resort to the world financial system. At the height of the global panic in 2009, the Tokyo Ministry of Finance more or less single-handedly rescued this system when it injected $100 billion into the IMF.”

He further comments that “Let’s note that a balance sheet has two sides. The Japanese government’s liabilities may be large. But it is important to take a look at its assets before resorting to extravagant denunciations of its financial policy. What is clear is that the Tokyo Finance Ministry is increasingly borrowing from the Japanese public not to finance out-of-control government spending at home but rather abroad. Besides stepping up to the plate to keep the IMF in business, Tokyo has long been the lender of last resort to both the U.S. and British governments. Meanwhile it borrows 10-year money at an interest rate of just 1.0 percent, the second lowest rate of any borrower in the world after the government of Switzerland.” 

Japan remains to be an enigma but clearly this nation is much more vibrant than it is led to be believed by many within the international press who focus on economics. Therefore, once more it is Japan which is “stepping up to the plate” while America provides not one single extra cent despite the economic convulsions hitting the EU.

April 27, 2012

Edgar Degas and Japanese art: inspired by ukiyo-e

Edgar Degas and Japanese art: inspired by ukiyo-e

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Japanese ukiyo-e inspired many artists in distant lands and Edgar Degas was one of the many international artists who came to admire this art form. Edgar Degas (1834-1917) was born in Paris into a wealthy family and he was blessed to study at the Ecole des Beaux-Arts in Paris. This intriguing individual in time would join the Impressionists but he also adored the art of the Renaissance.

Therefore, after studying he moved to Italy and copied the great masters of the Renaissance for five years. During this period he learnt the richness of this era and meticulously he would study the artists who blessed the art world with their respective lasting legacies. Not only did he study in Italy about the heritage of Renaissance art but he also copied each detail and this methodology suited his style.

The Impressionists were also igniting the art world during his lifetime and Edgar Degas was deeply inspired. Therefore, from 1874 to 1886 he also became fully embroiled in this art movement and entered his work to be shown in the many exhibitions of this timeframe. This period enabled Edgar Degas to expand and grow and not surprisingly the fusions of many different art forms blessed his art and creativity.

Ukiyo-e was also very important to Edgar Degas who was fascinated by the richness of Japanese art. Van Gogh had commented that “I envy the Japanese artists for the incredible neat clarity which all their works have. It is never boring and you never get the impression that they work in a hurry. It is as simple as breathing; they draw a figure with a couple of strokes with such an unfailing easiness as if it were as easy as buttoning one’s waist-coat.”

Edgar Degas also loved the diversity and creativity of ukiyo-e and you can draw parallels with his art regarding ballet dancers, bathers, stage performers, and other areas. Van Gogh, Paul Gauguin, Claude Monet, and a host of other artists, felt the pull of Japanese art and clearly Edgar Degas was also inspired. Therefore, if you change the ballet dancer and stage performers to bijin-ga and kabuki, you can see a rich vein materializing whereby his own artistic culture fused with Japanese art.

Also, not only did Edgar Degas collect ukiyo-e prints but many of his friends had a deep knowledge of this art form. Therefore, artists like Utamaro, Hokusai, Sharaku (an individual shrouded in mystery), Hiroshige, and other famous ukiyo-e artists, were highly admired. This factor clearly rubbed off onto Edgar Degas and just like Renaissance art and Impressionism had inspired him, the same can be said for Japanese art.

On the Yale Univeristy Press website Jill DeVonyar and Richard Kendall comment about the book calledDegas and the Art of Japan that “Degas and the Art of Japan explores the French Impressionist’s lifelong fascination with the work of his Japanese counterparts. Adding substantially to previous studies, the authors propose new links between some of Degas’s characteristic themes, such as laundresses and horse racing, and the woodblock designs of Ukiyo-e masters. Fresh light is also shed on another signature trait of the artist—his fascination with women in their public and private lives—which is echoed in the prevalence of female subjects in Japanese woodblock imagery.  Equally significant are revelations about Degas’s access to specific Japanese prints belonging to collectors and dealers in Paris.”

“Works by Degas in all media are considered—paintings, pastels, drawings, lithographs, etchings, monotypes, and sculpture—and juxtaposed with Japanese prints, illustrated books, and decorated fans. Comparable human predicaments and parallels in visual language are all part of this wide-ranging analysis, which deepens our understanding of one of the world’s greatest artists.”

The book called Degas and the Art of Japan clearly digs deep within the many aspects of his life. This notably applies to the legacy of the Japanese connection and how ukiyo-e inspired this amazing artist. Therefore, just like other notable artists he also understood the richness of ukiyo-e and this further sheds more light on this amazing art form.

Dieter Wanczura, a notable individual with rich knowledge of Japanese art, comments that “All things Japanese were suddenly stylish and fashionable. Shops selling Japanese woodblock prints, kimonos, fans and antiquities popped up in Paris like mushrooms. The Impressionist painters and Post-Impressionists like Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec or Paul Gauguin were attracted and impressed by Japanese woodblock prints. In 1875 Claude Monet created his famous painting La Japonaise, showing his wife dressed in a Kimono and holding a Japanese fan.”

This was the art world in this period of history in Paris and other major artistic cities where Japanese prints were growing in stature. Yet, the individuality of Edgar Degas also shines through because he was also an intriguing artist who fused many different art forms within his work.

April 26, 2012

Tokyo fashion: Vera Wang to open a new store in Ginza

Tokyo fashion: Vera Wang to open a new store in Ginza

Sarah Deschamps, Michel Lebon and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Vera Wang is focused on expanding throughout Asia this year and her base in Japan will be in the exquisite fashion district of Ginza in Tokyo. Her first flagship store in trendy Tokyo will open in June this year. Also, her partnership with Hatsuko Endo means that things should take off rather quickly.

Ginza was a natural choice for Vera Wang because of the delectable fashion angle to this vibrant district in Tokyo. The bridal sector in this amazing city will certainly be reinvigorated when it comes to the exquisite side of amazing designs by Vera Wang. Therefore, the opening in Ginza is designed to pave the way for future expansion throughout Tokyo and this applies to new lines by Vera Wang.

She is known internationally for sublime couture bridesmaid gowns which highlight the creative nature of this fashionable lady. The same applies to her stunning wedding gown collections which highlight the deep passion of Vera Wang. Also, this trend setter in her field of expertise designs elegant outfits for female figure skaters. This is a natural correlation to her early career whereby she was a figure skater.

Vera Wang grew up in New York City where she was born in 1949 and she obtained a degree from Sarah Lawrence College in art history. From the age of six she began to do figure skating and this took her all the way to competing in the 1968 United States Figure Skating Championships. The turning point for Vera Wang turning to the fashion industry happened after failing to qualify for the United States Olympics team in figure skating. However, her passion for skating remains firmly entrenched and she stated that “Skating is multidimensional.”

Turning to her fashion career then Vera Wang worked for Vogue for 17 years in the capacity of being a senior fashion editor, with this internationally famous company. This period served Vera Wang extremely well because of the abundant connections she made. Also, her own creativity and flair meant that she understood the high end fashion market and the richness of international boutiques. After leaving Vogue she became a design director for Ralph Lauren for two years and clearly both establishments served Vera Wang well.

The year 1990 would witness her own design salon in New York which was based in the Carlyle Hotel. Her bridal designs soon began to woo the rich and famous because many famous individuals had their wedding gowns designed by Vera Wang. This applies to Mariah Carey, Ivanka Trump, Chelsea Clinton, Sharon Stone, Alicia Keys, Jennifer Lopez, Victoria Beckham, Uma Thurman, and many others, including Avril Lavigne. Also, Michelle Obama was seen in her evening wear and this sums up the high octane nature of her stunning designs.

In time Vera Wang entered new markets based on fragrance, jewelry, shoes, luggage, eyewear, tabletop, fine papers, bedding, and flowers. This complements her creativity and search for new areas to expand. Therefore, while the bridal sector and designing for female figure skaters is internationally known alongside other fashion clothes – it is clear that you have many angles to Vera Wang.

Tokyoites will soon witness the exquisite nature of Vera Wang and given the creativity of Tokyo then clearly new thought patterns may emerge within future designs. Ginza is a natural base for such a trend setter in her area of expertise. Therefore, in all likelihood, the venture should soon witness new lines entering her flagship store in Ginza in the near future.

Lee Jay Walker gave assistance to both Sarah Deschamps and Michel Lebon

April 26, 2012

Japanese art and Yasui Sotaro: the allure of Paris and uniqueness of Japanese art

Japanese art and Yasui Sotaro: the allure of Paris and uniqueness of Japanese art

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Yasui Sotaro (1888-1955) was born in Kyoto and he is famous for yoga (Western-style) portraiture. It is clear that this talented individual understood his vocation because he pursued a career in art despite his family desiring a more commercial career. Therefore, from an early age he was clearly determined and focused and in time he would blossom in the art field.

He was very fortunate to have studied under Asai Chu who sadly died in 1907 when Yasui Sotaro was still a teenager. Asai Chu was a stunning Japanese painter who inspired many artists in Japan. This notably applies to Yasui Sotaro, Suda Kunitaro, Umehara Ryuzaburo, and other artists who were inspired by Asai Chu.

Not surprisingly, Yasui Sotaro also moved to France just like Asai Chu had done during his lifetime. He moved to Paris in 1907 and stayed until 1914 and this period of his life was very beneficial. Indeed, it is clear that Yasui Sotaro was extremely lucky to have studied under Asai Chu in Japan and then under Jean-Paul Laurens at the Academie Julian.

During his stay in Paris he became influenced by the art of Paul Cezanne, Jean-Francois Millet, and Pierre-Auguste Renoir. It is stated that he was especially influenced by Paul Cezanne. Therefore, the fusions of Japanese art and European art along with the rich vibrancy of the Paris art scene, impacted greatly on this talented individual. However, with the outbreak of World War One he had to return to Japan but Paris had clearly inspired him during his stay in France.

Yasui Sotaro, Umehara Ryuuzaburo, Ishii Hakutei, and Fujishima Takeji, had all gained from their experience in France. They also studied in this country in the same timeframe. Indeed, the power of France influenced Ishi Hakutei to introduce the art of Rodin and Renoir to the Tokyo art scene.

The following decade witnessed recurring problems related to the health of Yasui Sotaro but from an art point of view it was a time of further growth. Yasui Sotaro in this period focused on vibrant colors and outlines which were clear. Therefore, you can notice his style within the landscapes and portraits that he produced. Also, traditional Nihonga techniques fused naturally with realism and other thought patterns that he learnt  in France.

Notable art pieces by Yasui Sotaro include Black-haired Woman, Portrait of a Woman,  Early Summer, Autumn at Lake Towada, A Suburb of Kyoto, Girl in New-Year Clothes, Roses, and Chin-Jung.However, throughout his career he produced many stunning pieces of art which have blessed the art world.

April 5, 2012

Japanese art and Ito Shinsui: bijinga and fashion in stylish art form

Japanese art and Ito Shinsui: bijinga and fashion in stylish art form

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Ito Shinsui (1898-1972) is a “famous son” of Japanese art because his art is blessed with elegance, sophistication, and serenity. This is equally matched with natural simplicity and adorable color schemes when applied to his images of beautiful ladies and landscapes. Therefore, if you want to imagine the natural beauty of “the old world” and the stylish nature of traditional Japanese fashion styles for ladies, then Ito Shinsui does this with panache, amazing color schemes and elegant depictions of stunning ladies.

Indeed, the art work of Ito Shinsui is not only extremely beautiful and charming but the facial features of the ladies are very mysterious. This reality of the art work of Ito Shinsui is most striking. For he possesses a style which conjures up sublime beauty but within settings which are at one with nature and which don’t need to be sensationalized.

Also, the adorable color schemes highlight the exquisite beauty of traditional Japanese clothes for ladies. In terms of fashion, he enables the richness of Japanese culture to be seen through the majestic styles and color co-ordinations of traditional clothes, which just beg for admiration.

Therefore, in the modern world of fashion you will see many amazing boutiques which highlight the rich embroidery, creativity, and amazing fabrics, of modern day fashion. The same applies to visiting famous fashion shows in Paris, New York, Milan, Tokyo, London, and other high octane fashion exhibitions which highlight elegant models and various styles. However, the art of Ito Shinsui and the amazing styles he depicts would grace any modern fashion show. This applies to panache, grace, color schemes, rich fabrics, buzzing creativity, and other important factors.

On the website called Fujiland by B.C.Liddell it is stated that Shinsui Ito was a central figure in Japan’s artistic identity crisis during the 20th century. As wave after wave of artistic ‘isms’ from overseas broke upon these shores, native artists felt compelled to either abandon their own rich artistic traditions or embrace them even more strongly. Ito … was one of those artists who chose the latter course, joining the Nihonga movement, which looked to Japan’s past for inspiration rather than the confusing plethora of ideas pouring in from abroad.”

“When he was 18, he joined Shinhanga Undo, a group which aimed to revive the methods and styles of ukiyo-e. This had a profound influence on the style and themes of his paintings which abound with the images of nature and feminine beauty found in traditional Japanese wood block prints. Joshin (Unsullied Morning) (1930), a beautiful picture depicting a group of naked women bathing in a natural hot spring combines both of these aesthetics. The color of the bathers is so softened by the steam and blended into the surrounding nature, that it is only the blackness of their hair that first alerts us to their presence.”

“Nihonga differs markedly from Western painting in the materials used. The emphasis, as with so much in Japanese culture, is on the use of entirely natural materials. Paper and silk, mounted on board, wall scrolls or on folding screens, are used instead of canvas.”

The most notable comment on this website about Ito Shinsui is that “Japanese art inspired by the imported artistic movements of the 20th century often looks derivative and dated, but the work of Shinsui Ito retains its sincere beauty and timeless appeal.”

Therefore, not only did Ito Shinsui maintain a connection with past Japanese art but his bijinga art is also timeless. This most certainly applies to his finest collection because you can connect the image with the most exquisite kimono during the Taisho and Showa period. However, because of the adorable color schemes and highlighting the stunning nature of traditional Japanese clothes – then, the fashion angle is equally rewarding because his powerful art isn’t out of place in the modern period.

Ito Shinsui truly belonged to the Shin Hanga art movement and Watanabe Shozaburo, a famous publisher, must be credited with opening up many doors for this amazing artist. Their relationship would remain strong for many decades and both individuals benefited.

The beauty of Ito Shinsui is that he connects the old art world of Japan with the new world in a way which is natural. His gracefulness is a wonder to behold. Therefore, he is fondly remembered for the art he produced and the “timeless” nature of his art is truly remarkable.

April 5, 2012

Pola Museum of Art in beautiful Hakone: The Development of Impressionism

Pola Museum of Art in beautiful Hakone: The Development of Impressionism

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The Pola Museum of Art ( in Hakone is situated in a very beautiful part of Japan because this area is famous for stunning nature. Therefore, many artists have flocked to Hakone in order to paint countless scenes of the countryside. Also, the cultural aspect of this amazing area is a real bonus because tourists fuse their holiday in Hakone by visiting many stylish museums and other cultural aspects of Japanese culture.

Currently the Pola Museum of Art is showcasing a special exhibition called The Development of Impressionism: Monet, Renoir, and the Next Generations which will be shown until July 8, 2012. This special exhibition is a pure delight because of the artists on view and the global impact of this art form.

The first section of the exhibition focuses on Monet and Renoir and internal convulsions which occurred in 1886. Then the exhibition highlights the two above name artists and focuses on their pursuit of art and other important aspects within this art movement during the 1880s. This is followed by looking at the Last Impressionist Exhibition and the significance of Neo-Impressionism. Therefore, other artists like Paul Gauguin and Odilon Redon enter the equation. Finally in this section, important attention is put on Paul Cezanne and his own personal artistic quest.

The second section of this adorable exhibition which is extremely well represented is titled Impressionism after 1990: Monet, Renoir and the Next Generations. Monet and Fauvism is the initial theme and this applies to the creativity of Monet and his influence on other artists. Therefore, Henri Matisse, Andre Derain and Maurice de Vlaminck come under the microscope in this intriguing exhibition. This is followed by the close friendship of Pierre Bonnard with Monet and Renoir respectively. After this, the exhibition moves on to Matisse and his frequent visits to Renoir’s last place of abode in Cagnes-sur-Mer in southern France. Finally the exhibition closes with the artistic influence of Renoir on Pablo Picasso and this applies to the period called “Neo-Classicism.”

The Pola Art Musuem comments on their website that Monet, Renoir and the other Impressionists transformed French painting in the late 19th century. Using bright colors, they vividly depicted the worlds of nature and urban society, as caught in their own eyes. Starting in 1874, they organized group exhibitions in Paris, although these did not continue long. The eighth show, in 1886, in which “Neo-Impressionists” – namely Georges Seurat and Paul Signac – took part, virtually put an end to their group activity.”

“This exhibition examines how French Impressionism, led by Claude Monet and Pierre Auguste Renoir, influenced artists active in the 20th century such as Pierre Bonnard, Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso. It consists of approximately 60 French works produced between the second half of the 19th century and the first half of the 20th: the core of the Western painting collection of the Pola Museum of Art.”

Other adorable exhibitions currently on show include the art work of Itozono Wasaburo, Masterpieces of the Pola Museum of Art, Cosmetic Utensils, and Oriental Ceramics. The ceramics exhibition is a true delight because the richness of Chinese culture can be seen by the awesome display of amazing ceramics. Also, the mixture of Japanese artists and Western artists is a real treat and this especially applies to foreign tourists who may not know about the exquisite nature of Japanese art.

Visitors can also enjoy the stunning scenery of Hakone and eat scrumptious European cuisine which is served up at the restaurant within the museum. Alternatively, visitors can enjoy tea, coffee and snacks at the café. Also, the Museum Shop is well worth a visit because of the quality products available. Therefore, the needs of visitors are catered for and relaxing after visiting the various exhibitions on show is a great way to enjoy your stay and soak up the special atmosphere of this adorable museum.

In a past article about Hakone it was stated that Hakone is situated in the Fuji Hakone Izu National Park and the entire region is a tourist paradise whereby stunning nature is in all directions and you have so many cultural treasures to view. This notably applies to the Narukawa Art Museum for modern Japanese paintings; the Hakone Open Air Museum; the Pola Museum of Art; Venetian Glass Museum; Suzuhiro Corp. Kamaboko Museum; volcanically active Owakudani geysers; Hakone Botanical Garden of Wetlands; Odawara Castle Donjon; Local History Museum; Museum of Saint Exupery and the Little Pince in Hakone; Hakone Old Takaido Road Museum; Hakone Mononofu-no-Sato Art Museum; Hakone Art Museum; Honma Yosegi Museum; Kanagawa Prefectural Museum of Natural History; and you have a wealth of parks and special walks to go on.”

Overall, the Pola Museum of Art in Hakone is an amazing place to visit for art lovers and for tourists who want to focus on the richness of culture. Also, the stunning mountains of Hakone and the many places to visit, means that individuals can enjoy the best of both worlds. This applies to stunning nature and the richness of culture and art.

Therefore, a visit to this stylish museum is highly recommended for tourists who will visit Hakone. After all, it is very rare to find sublime nature and so many museums and special places to visit which are located in the same environment. Hakone is also not so far from Tokyo if you travel by express train.  Pola Museum of Art

Images in this article relate to the artists which will be highlighted and not to any specific art pieces which will be part of the exhibition.  Please view the website of the Pola Museum of Art to find out more.

April 5, 2012

Japan tourism: glimpses of beautiful Japan in Kurobe and Wakayama (Part One)

Japan tourism: glimpses of beautiful Japan in Kurobe and Wakayama (Part One)

Sarah Deschamps and Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

The mystery of Japan is best summed up by the stunning nature of this adorable nation which beckons tourists to “another world” where dreams and memories are made. The Shinto faith with its deep roots and unity with nature influenced the Buddhist faith which reached this nation and these fusions created “a huge well” for various Buddhist sects. Therefore, irrespective if a Shinto shrine is in the countryside or in the mega city of Tokyo, the backdrop always looks at one. This representation and reality is what makes Japan tick because irrespective if the theme is continuity or individual new ways, the old world and new world is still at peace.

In this article it is impossible to highlight all the places to visit because you have a plethora of tourist attractions throughout the entire nation. Also, each prefecture provides a unique angle and clearly all individuals will feel something special depending on individual interests and how the respective experience remains deep in the soul. Therefore, two special areas of Japan were selected in the first series about Japan tourism.

The two authors have different experiences for their special places which stay within the soul. For one author, the stunning nature and adorable Buddhist temples in Koyasan will always stay with this individual. Indeed, Koyasan and Wakayama prefecture will always stand out for one author because of the stunning nature of this prefecture and the richness of culture and religion.

If you view ( the website of Tanabe City Kumano Tourist Bureau then you will notice the many amazing places to visit in the stunning prefecture of Wakayama. This especially applies to Koyasan where the Buddhist preacher Kukai made his home; the amazing temples of Negoro-ji and the surrounding area which is blessed with great places to visit: the unbelievable Kumano Kodo pilgrimage (Kumano is in the Kii Peninsula and not all of this region is within Wakayama) whereby you have so many stunning walks and rich cultural places to enlighten the individual; Shirahama and stunning beaches whereby you can forget everything; the magnificent Wakayama Castle which is rich in history and is blessed with exquisite grounds; Kumano Nachi Taisha and the beautiful waterfall and stunning Shinto shrine; and so many other amazing places to visit.

Alternatively, the other author adores Kurobe in Toyama prefecture because the scenery just “blew her mind away.” Toyama is equally blessed with stunning nature and approximately one million tourists visit the Tateyama Kurobe Alpine Route.

The massive Kurobe Dam is also a very popular tourist destination and the panorama views are amazing. This equally applies to the Tateyama Mountain Range and North Alpine Area. Also, between June 26 and October 15 this period is very popular because individuals can witness the water discharge from the Kurobe Dam.

In a past article by Modern Tokyo Times about Kurobe it was stated that “Also, you can enjoy lovely boat trips on Kurobe Lake and walk around the lake and Kurobe Dam. In every direction you have stunning views and it is a real treat. The Kurobe Gorge is truly beautiful and thanks to the Kurobe Gorge Railway transportation system you can travel in style and get a birds-eye-view alongside ropeways and cable cars, which blend naturally into the magnificent scenery.

“Other stunning places to visit in this lovely prefecture apply to the Kurobe Valley; Gokayama Village which is a World Heritage site; the Unazuki-onsen which is a real gem and soothes the body and mind; the Zuiryu-ji Temple which is famous in Japan; the stunning Shogawa-kyo Valley region; and many other stunning places to visit.”

Indeed, the local government has done great work in preserving the exquisite nature of this beautiful prefecture. Also, the close proximity to Nagano is a huge pulling power because many individuals often visit both prefectures on a twin holiday. Therefore, Kurobe is an ideal tourist destination and between the middle of April and the end of May you have adorable “Snow Walls.” The changing seasons also creates a lovely dimension to the entire area.

The tourist options in Japan are unbelievable and it is well worth checking the many destinations to visit. Of course, cities like Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, and others, hog the limelight but the beauty of Japan is that each prefecture provides countless places to visit and explore this stunning country.

Therefore, if you have never been to Japan then you will be amazed by the amazing beauty of this country. Also, for individuals who reside in Japan you have so many “hidden treasures” and fantastic places to visit. Tanabe City Kumano Tourist Bureau in English.  Also, you have information in other languagesand this applies to Japanese, French, Chinese, and Korean. Kumano News Blog

Other websites about Wakayama (Nachi Katsuura) (Koyasan) (Kumano Experience) (Wakayama) (Shirahama) (Wakayama Castle)  Past article about Wakayama Alpine Route Map