Monday, March 30, 2009

The Nakasendo Way * Part 3


We have one last thing to do before we head off on the Nakasendo Walk.

We have arranged to spend the day with Johnny Hillwalker, aka Hajimi Hirooka.
Johnny Hillwalker is going to guide us around the inner city of Kyoto so that we can learn more about the culture, the history and the artisans for which this town is famous.

Here he is telling us about the origins of the Nintendo company which began with the manufacture of playing cards like this one here that Johnny gave me.

Hanafuda cards - The name literally translates as flower cards

In 1889, Fusajiro Yamauchi founded Nintendo Koppai for the purposes of producing and selling hand-crafted Hanafuda cards painted on mulberry tree bark. Though it took a while to catch on, soon the Yakuza began using Hanafuda cards in their gambling parlors, and card games became popular in Japan again.

Nintendo is also the majority owner of the Seattle Mariners, a Major League Baseball team in Seattle.

The name Nintendo means Leave luck to Heaven .

The entrance gate to the Higashi Honganji Temple

Johnny's walk begins at the Higashi Honganji Temple, that other LARGE BUILDING that I made reference to last walk. This temple has only recently re-opened after the entire tile roof was replaced. The previous 59,387 tiles were too heavy for the roof structure to support and the roof had become a safety issue.

In a new underground extension to the temple I noticed a plaque on the wall saying:

All the things
we've taken for granted
upon reflection,
wonderfully perfect.

Johnny's walk took us to a bead making store, a fan maker, a shinto shrine and cemetery, the old geisha tea house area and all along the way my camera found beautiful flowers to capture.

How reluctantly
the bee emerges from deep
within the peony


Now we can't leave Kyoto without a quick glimpse at the wonderful garden
behind the Heian shrine.

But we must take extra care when crossing these stepping stones.

Now it's time to have a refreshing cup of green tea...

to wash our hair

pack our belongings,

and have a good rest

because next time we begin walking The Nakasendo Way in earnest.

And we have a long road ahead of us.



  1. Your journeys are ever so gently instructive.
    Such beautiful pictures as well!

  2. Delwyn, I love the way you combine your personal pictures, with art or other pictures, poetry, and quotes. I enjoy hearing about Japan from you.

  3. Violet, what a wonderful Monday...I've been to pump class, and now have a coffee in my hand and you to talk to...

    I'm glad of you pick up a snippet or two about Japan. I love to share what I have learned.
    Have a happy day

  4. Jennifer, its good to have you back, I've missed you.

    I think it must be the teacher in me looking at forms of presentation, but also combining the things I love - travel, art, photos, japan, haiku...all rolled together and viola...

  5. I think that should be 'voila' but as Violet is here with us viola is ok too.

  6. G'day Delwyn
    The sign to cross the stepping stones is so Japanese translated into English!..I am looking forward to the long walk to Tokyo.
    I did wonder what is was you were eating along this trip? I love the food so well taken care of,traditional breakfast in the mornings?..

    Have a lovely day xxx

  7. Hello Mona,

    I loved that sign too.

    I will talk about food on the walk next time but thus far we have been fending for ourselves, staying in a hotel and eating our Au breakfast muesli mix with delicious yogurt in our room, with copious amounts of green tea.

    But all that is about to change...

  8. You have become such a prodigious blog poster Delwyn you are becoming hard to keep up with - every time I take a look here there are several new posts - you write such interesting blogs - well done you :-)

  9. I also like your Shelfari Bookshelf - I see some I have not read - thanks for the recommendations :-)

  10. Hi Alden, I have missed you and been wondering how you are...
    Thanks for your support. I am thinking of slowing down but seem to be on a roll...and as I am enjoying writing I might as well keep going til I run out of ideas.

    I'll send an email later...

  11. Delwyn, you're a blogging genius! I love your blog.

    Beautiful--I love the picture of the young woman kneeling by the koi pond.

    And wise:

    All the things
    we've taken for granted
    upon reflection,
    wonderfully perfect.

    Always a pleasure to visit here.

  12. Dan, and I love you as my audience,
    so appreciative,
    always adding interesting pieces,
    so encouraging...

    The girl on the stone is Ae-Ran. When we went to Japan in 2006 she was on a school trip so we collected her, met up with daughter# 1 who was then teaching in Yokohama and later took Ae-Ran to Korea.
    Happy Days

  13. I love how the carp in the pond looks like it is also posing for the picture!
    I live about an hour and a half from Kyoto but hardly get to visit...thank you for this beautiful walk!

  14. Hi Tulsa,

    Oh you must make the effort. I have been four times now and still have much to see. I love Kyoto. It's easy to find your way around, not too crowded and such beautiful scenery as well as all the temples...and then there's the market in Gion... I found a wonderful book called 'Old Kyoto' by Diane Durston, that describes all the traditional shops, restaurants and inns - I wish I had read it before I went last time.

    That carp did ask to have his photo taken!

  15. I found your lovely blog via Summit Manor. (I really like your post on aging and have left a comment there too). Interesting to read of the beginning of Nintendo!

  16. Fascinating that Nintendo started as a playing card company!

    I especially like the lovely painting of the woman washing her hair.

  17. Raph - Welcome to my place,

    I hope you enjoyed our walk. I find the little things you learn on adventures to be the most interesting.
    happy days

  18. Hello Willow,

    I have a thing about ukiyo-e prints and plan to write about them after we recover from the Nakasendo.

  19. Wonderful post and thanks Delwyn, I would really love to visit Japan one day!

  20. Yoon See, good morning,
    well in the meantime come walking with me. We have a lot to see...

  21. oh, i think i really like that nintendo started with playing cards. that somehow makes it better. :-)


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