Kyoto Photo Journal

Whenever I tell people I am going to Japan for a week, they are horrified.  “How could you travel so far for such a short time?”  Each time I go, my trip is always intense.  By the end I am exhausted, my camera is full of images, and I am ready to fly home.  This post is about my 16th trip to Kyoto (and Kurashiki) with just a few of my favourite photos. Click on the images to enlarge them if you like.

Thursday 19th February  Such a feeling of anticipation as I flew with Matthew to Japan.  As the plane flew from southern to northern hemisphere, I dreamed of what was to come.

sunset over somewhere

sunset over somewhere

Friday 20th February  We spent the first night of our trip in Osaka.  Straight after breakfast Matthew and I went to Shin-Osaka Station where we parted company.  He left for Kurashiki while I took the train to Kyoto.  I arrived in Kyoto around 11:00 and after checking into my hotel, went straight to the streets with my camera.

Not everyone who wants to wear kimono is Japanese

Not everyone who wants to wear kimono is Japanese

Pontocho reflection - or - two maiko for the price of one.

Pontocho reflection – or – two maiko for the price of one.

A case of "right place, right time".

A case of “right place, right time”.

A chance to study sakkou hairstyle and the intricacy of obi design as Satsuki waits to cross Shijo dori.

A chance to study sakkou hairstyle and the intricacy of obi design as Satsuki-san waits to cross Shijo dori.

Saturday 21st February  In the morning I walked in the hills of Higashiyama.  It was the most beautiful sunny winter day.  Kyoto sparkled.  Later I stocked up on Japanese coloured pencils (Holbein).  In the evening was the ozashiki.  You can see some other ozashiki photos from that night in my post The Gift of Art.

Looking down from Kiyomizu Temple on a day which can be described as "a box of birds".

Looking down from Kiyomizu Temple on a day which can be described as “a box of birds”.

Waiting for the lights to change.  Ichiharu stands out from the crowd.

Waiting for the lights to change. Ichiharu-san stands out from the crowd.

The ozashiki which Matthew and I were invited to was a highlight of our trip.  (Lunching with our friends in Kurashiki was the other highlight.)

Satsuki had just danced Kurokami.

Satsuki-san had just danced Kurokami.  This dance is a lament for lost love.  Being a true artist, Satsuki-san still looked sad after the dance but her expression cheered after a few minutes.

Mamekiku and koala

Mamekiku-san and koala

Sayaka and koala

Sayaka-san and koala

Eriha and koala

Eriha-san and koala

Makino and koala

Makino-san and koala

Komomo

Komomo-san and I

Sunday 22nd February  Matthew and I were invited to lunch in Kurashiki so that day we took the shinkansen (bullet train) to Okayama Prefecture and then the local train to Kurashiki.

Tranquil Kurashiki canal

Tranquil Kurashiki canal

Buildings in the historic area of Kurashiki

Buildings in the historic area of Kurashiki

A garden next to Kurashiki Kokusai Hotel.

A garden next to Kurashiki Kokusai Hotel.

This Nozomi shinkansen has just deposited us back to Kyoto Station and is now pulling out (on the way to Tokyo)

This Nozomi shinkansen has just deposited us back to Kyoto and is now gliding out (on its way to Tokyo)

Monday 23rd February  This was the day Satsuki-san made her debut as Geiko.  (I heard the following day that this was the biggest crowd ever for an erikae walk.)  One had to run to get photos.  If it had been the first erikae walk one had attended it would have been a big shock.  It was anything but relaxing.  Adrenaline rush.  The prize for me? Photos for future drawings.

First sight of Satsuki at her debut.  She had just exited Tsurui Okiya.

First sight of Satsuki-san at her debut. She had just exited Tsurui Okiya.  (I waited two hours to be in the position to get this photo.)

A hint only of the crowds of photographers trying to photograph Satsuki.

A hint only of the crowds of photographers trying to photograph Satsuki-san.  (Hi, Amnon.)

It was as if Princess Diana was giving people photo opps.

Photographers make a wide arc around their subject.

DSC_0541x

Satsuki-san is a muse for artists

Possible future drawing II

Wedding couple

Wedding couple photographed during the course of the erikae walk.

Heron who didn't care a jot for erikae.  He was waiting for fish.

Heron waiting for fish during erikae walk

Satsuki-san at the end of her erikae walk.

Satsuki-san at the end of her erikae walk.

Eriha and Mamekiku with  shikomi that evening.

Eriha-san and Mamekiku-san with shikomi later that evening

Satsuki crosses the road with a smile on her face.  She must have energy of 100 people.

Satsuki-san crosses the road with a smile on her face.

Tuesday 24th February  Second day of Satsuki-san’s erikae walk.  This is covered in my post Sister Support.   The second day was so much more relaxed for everyone concerned; Satsuki-san and the photographers.  The crowd was smaller than the first day and it was most enjoyable.  After the walk I enjoyed some retail therapy in Kyoto’s gorgeous shops.

Satsuki outside her okiya.  Again I am in prime position thanks to the kindness of the other photographers, especially my new friend, Ayako-san.

Satsuki-san outside her okiya. Again I was in prime position thanks to the kindness of the other photographers, especially my new friend, Ayako-san.

Han-chan, the Tsurui cat (who is very similar to our own Saphie-cat), both silver tabbies.

Han-chan, the Tsurui cat (who is very similar to our own Saphie-cat), both silver tabbies.

Valuable additions to the Podstolski Clements collection.

Valuable additions to the Podstolski Clements’ Totoro collection.

Yasaka Pagoda on Tuesday afternoon.

Yasaka Pagoda on Tuesday afternoon.

Wednesday 25th February  This was the day of Baikasai, covered in my post of the same name.  Please click on Baikasai to read the story and see the photos of that event.

Minari Naokinu-san

Minari Naokinu-san, (Ichiteru-san behind)

After Baikasai I returned to Gion to walk around the streets for a couple of hours before it was time to pack up and head for Kansai Airport.

Mesmerized by green, red and pink.

Mesmerized by green, red and pink.

Waiting for you, Dear Reader, to identify these two.  Very familiar but remind me...

Katsue-san and Katsuhina-san

This Haruka train (Kansai Express) will take me to the airport.  Here it is, pulling into the station.  Goodbye Kyoto.  I'll be back soon.

This Haruka train (Kansai Express) will take me to the airport. Here it is – pulling into the station. Goodbye Kyoto. I’ll be back soon.

Have you stayed until the end?  This is a long post however there will now be a two week break until the next one – which will be about New Zealand.  Another plane, another story…

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About juliepodstolski

I am a realist artist who works in coloured pencils.
Image | This entry was posted in geisha, Japan, photo portraits of cities, photography, travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Kyoto Photo Journal

  1. Thanks for sharing this special week with us Julie!

  2. Sue Donze says:

    Thank you for the lovely post. I almost wept for the beauty you captured.

  3. Thank you for giving the story of your trip, it made all the lovely photos have a sense of time and place, New Zealand next, you are a busy woman! Karen

  4. You crammed so much in! No wonder your head was spinning when you got home! Just absorbing and processing so much takes a great deal of energy. I can understand why it takes a while for you to use some of these amazing experiences – they need to ‘settle’. Have fun and relax in NZ!

    • Quite so, Anna. This is why I often draw from photos taken several years previously. And as to mental and physical energy, I’m still not ready to leave for another overseas trip tomorrow. The older I get, the longer it takes me to recover.

  5. Míriam says:

    Again lovely pictures!
    I particularly love the ones showing the maiko and geiko with the tiny koala. They are adorable! The latest additions to your Totoro collection also caught my attention, how cute!

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