Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa

If you feel like seeing something historic in Kyoto but not temples, shrines or castles, the Old Mitsui Family Shimogamo Villa is an option.  It sits in the south of the Shimogamo Shrine. 

The three-story wooden villa shows a good example of classical Japanese residence built by a wealthy family in the Meiji and Taisho eras.  The main part of the building dates back to 1880 and was moved to the current location when the villa was built in 1925. 

A watchtower is located on the 3rd floor  It is normally closed and is occasionally opened to the public for a limited time.  The stairs to the watchtower are so narrow and steep that you need to hold on to the rope.  The watchtower overlooks the garden that has a gourd-shaped pond, and also commands a view of the Higashiyama mountains.  The views must have provided an important essence of luxury to the life in the villa.    

Seen from the front the house is 3-stories, but from the side it looks 4-stories due to the small space between the 2nd floor and the watchtower.  

A place that gives a flavor of elegance of the early 20th century.  

Saturday, February 29, 2020

Shibuya Sky

Shibuya in Tokyo has been undergoing a significant redevelopment - not just a face-lift but a true renaissance. 

The area was considered to be young-generation focused, which still holds true, but Shibuya is now opening their arms wide to all types of people.   

One of the newest spots is SHIBUYA SKY, which opened on Nov. 1, 2019.  From the open-air observatory deck on top of the Shibuya Scramble Square building, you have an unblocked 360-degree panoramic view all over Tokyo and beyond. 

Being closer to the cloud than the crowd, you can also look down on the busy Shibuya Crossing. 

Find time on a clear day or night and go up to the Sky.