Day 12 of Japan: Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavillion, Manga Museum, and more Kyoto

Pictures are up, but come back in a day or so for all the neat explanations! Descriptions done!

We got up early today determined to beat the crows that frequent the Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavillion Temple, often just called the “Golden Pavillion.” The pictures of this temple and the temple grounds are the 21 pictures following the cute dog we saw in a office building. This temple is probably the biggest tourist spot we’ve hit on our tour of Japan. It was originally built in 1397AD as a retirement villa for a shogun, but has burnt down several times since then. The most recent burning was in 1955 due to an obsessed monk — it was re-built the same year. And yes, it actually is coated in real gold. Though it is quite beautiful on the outside, and surrounded by a beautiful pond with real living cranes, you cannot go inside the temple — the pictures we show here is what you see. The most prized shots are the temple’s golden reflection in the water. There’s a neat golden crane statue on the top. Feel free to use any of our pictures! As always, there were several tourist shops as we left the Temple grounds, and a little Shinto shrine (with no English explanation) tucked away.

We next headed to the International Manga Museum. It’s a rather new museum, having opened in late 2006, and is really more of a library than a museum, but it was still a lot of fun. The crowning glory of the museum is that it has a huge donated collection of manga (over 300,000 pieces), mostly from one privately-owned bookstore that closed a few years ago, and much of this manga is on shelves throughout the museum and visitors can search for their favorite or rare manga books and read them throughout the museum. The museum building used to be an elementary school, so there is a big AstroTurf front field and many benches and tables throughout. There were also many manga artists, some employees and some visitors sketching at the many tables. Pictures are prohibited inside the museum, but we didn’t know this so we snapped several — they start at the astroturf front yard picture and include the following 18 pictures. Other than the “Wall of Manga,” there are special exhibits in the museum. General overall comments:
* It’s a great resource and many manga-fans would be in heaven but, again, it’s difficult when you don’t know Japanese — very few English resources, and virtually no English manga.
* Cute kid’s section, and we wanted to check out those possibly easier to read Japanese books, but only kids and parents were allowed…
* Throughout the museum were seemingly-random sketches done by different manga artists, decorating the walls but not really as exhibits.
* This museum hosted a manga symposium recently and in one room they had on display several panels each with a drawing of a fan with sketches inside by the different visiting artists — next to it were the names of the artists who had drawn sketches on which fan, and the manga they’re famous for. It was neat that they were from all over the world, not just Japan.
* We went to a neat little theatrical show — it was a style called “Kamishibai” and it is basically a story told through panels, each with a picture of the story, that the narrator changes (putting it in a wooden frame) as you go through the story, adding theatrical sound effects and enthusiasm. This was probably our favorite part of the museum, as you didn’t really need to understand Japanese. Though we did feel a little silly being the only ones who weren’t parents with little kids… but we enjoyed it nonetheless.
* The museum had a neat interactive computer room where you could randomly generate manga characters (just appearances) or, for example, go through a pre-generated story, panel by panel.
* There was a special exhibit on a French manga artist — very different from Japanese manga, but apparently French manga is quite popular and flourishing.
* One of the largest gallery areas was currently taken up by employees sorting through boxes and boxes of donated manga! This is definitely a growing museum! They also had signs asking for donations, especially of older manga or foreign manga. So, if you’ve got it, they’d probably have a use for it!

After the museum, we went and got some curry for lunch — there are many curry restaurants that we saw in Japan, and all the dishes from the different curry restaurants look pretty similar — in the pictures one half of the plate is rice and the other half is a brown curry with some kind of meat. Teisha got curry with two shrimp cakes (right) and Andrew got curry with some kind of vegetables and meat (left). The curry place we went to was neat in that you could specialize your meal, adding on different toppings for different prices. Food side-note (on the picture after the food plates):
* Common items we found on tables at just about every restaurant: chopsticks, individually packed and disposable hand sanitizer wipes, a container with pickled vegetables of some kind, and toothpicks.
* Less common items: napkins — it was pretty rare that we’d see them there, though this place had them.
* Very rare: a buzzer on the table for service. This place was the only one we saw with these, but it really makes sense — you don’t pay tips in Japan, and the service usually only comes to you when you flag them down.

The next 12 pictures are of our new Kyoto room and area (the last two are of a common dining/hang out area). We stayed at the same place we did before going to Koyasan (called Ikoi-no-ie), but this time I think we got the best room in the place, even though we paid the same price as before… We were rather disappointed with how small our first place was (not to mention we were right by an alley with paper-thin walls — read the details here), but this new room had its own gravel entrance off of the main building, tucked in the back, and was probably about 30% bigger than the original room. Much better. (For people planning to stay at Ikoi-no-ie — the best rooms are at the main building, not their new expansion that’s two blocks away!)

We then headed for a shrine we’d seen before — the Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine. I’m a bit embarrassed to admit this, but we didn’t go there for the shrine itself — we went there to buy two shrine gates (torii) so we could make our own shrines at home — we had seen lots for sale at the tourist shops following the street up to the actual shrine. There are examples of little such shrines in a picture. The following picture is of cooked quail, which, for reasons unknown to us, are known for being available at multiple places in this tourist shop area.

Once it was getting dark we headed again to the popular shopping arcade, Shin-kyogoku (we went there on Days 8 and 9), where we wasted time and money on manga and claw machines. So many claw machines. There’s also a particular chain of manga book stores called melonbooks — we can let you guess what kind of manga they sold! Teisha fell in love with a store selling little rabbit’s foot ferns covered with moss on ceramic dishes — too bad we couldn’t bring plants back. We also found out that this area has been a popular shopping area for about four centuries — sure makes the U.S. look young!

We ended up eating dinner at the arcade at a place called the “Star” restaurant — Andrew had a rice omlette (very common) with a beef patty while Teisha had a bowl with rice, cheese, and shrimp. We also enjoyed a tasty desert of pancake with strawberry and whipped cream.

Comments on other random pictures:

* After the Golden Pavillion pictures, we did indeed find a vending machine with men’s ties inside (along with batteries and disposable cameras).
* After the shots of our room, there’s a picture of a food front with all their delicious deserts on display. Waffles!
* After the big Fushimi Inari-Taisha gate pictures there’s a statue of a Tanuki, a raccoon dog. We saw many Tanuki statues — they’re from ancient Japanese folklore, but are also real animals… and apparently do have large testicles in real life. This caught our eyes because tanuki are the focus of an animation we’d seen, Pom Poko, where the animals could shape-shift and use their testicles for flying and making bridges.


Leave a Response (or trackback on your own site)

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Welcome to Paradoxdruid's Rants... a community based webblog. Feel free to snag an account and post.

Contributors Login


My first first-author paper!

Just wanted to share that my first first-author paper is now online! In the journal Stem Cells and Development, here’s my paper on “Roles of Integrins in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Growth on Matrigel and Vitronectin.”

The Future of Scientific Publishing

Just read a fascinating (if lengthy) essay on disruptive technology and the future of scientific publishing. Well worth the read!


Just wanted to share’s Visual Guide to Deflation, which is quite explanatory.

All Things Stem Cell

Hey all Paradoxdruid readers! I recently started up a blog on stem cells that I’d love you all to take a look at:

Barely Literate: The Fermata

I participated in another Barely literate book review podcast, this time on Nicholson Baker’s “The Fermata”. Give it a listen!

Time for Change

Obama has outlined a strategy for America, in great depth. Read all about!

Free Rice

Okay, I’ll admit that it’s entirely possible that I am the last person to learn about this website*, but it’s really addictive. 


Site best viewed in Mozilla Firefox. Site CSS template by Andrea Pitschmann. Banner photo by photocase.