Jul 1, 2010

Yakumo Shrine and Gyokudo Museum

Yesterday, I suddenly went out to Yakumo Shrine in Kawai, Okutama Town. There was no special event at the shrine yesterday. In the spring, I visited this shrine to see shishimai lion dances, local performing arts in this vicinity, and then, I was impressed by the atmosphere of the shrine and I liked being there.

When leaving home yesterday, it was not raining, but it began to drizzle around the time I got to the shrine. There was not a soul on the premises of the shrine, and I could only hear the quiet rainfall. This place has such a quiet and nice atmosphere that I want to visit this place from time to time.

After leaving the shrine, I visited Gykudo Museum close to Mitake Station, which is the next to Kawai Station. This museum was built after the famous Japanese-style painter Gyokudo Kawai passed away, owning and exhibiting many of his works.

Until I visited the museum I did not know the fact the day of my visit falls on the deathday of the painter. In commemoration of his deathday, I was given two postcards, on which his works were printed. One of these works was "Natsu-kawa" (or "Summer river"), which I liked very much. This painting was actually exhibited in the museum.

"Postcard of Natsu-kawa"

In the picture, five anglers are fishing in the river occupying their favorite points. Maybe, they are fishing sweetfish?

All what have been painted are a dry riverbed blindingly shining in the summer sun, clear water, and the anglers.

In my childhood, I used to go to the river for bathing and fishing. This picture reminded me such old days. The river in my town was just like that in this picture.

Sitting on the riverside, I used to watch the water flowing absent-mindedly. Then, I often felt unsure whether the river was flowing or the ground where I was sitting on was being drifted. It seemed that this picture could reproduce even such dizzy feeling.

Well, when I fully satisfied my eyes with paintings of Gyokudo, my tongue, in turn, demanded to be satisfied.

The Japanese restaurant Imoutoya (http://www.sawanoi-sake.com/imoutoya/index.html) is just next door to Gykudo Museum. It is run by Ozawa Syuzou, a sake brewery known for its brand name Sawanoi. I ordered the sake tasting set Ki Sho Ten Ketsu (起承転結), which included four sakes from the brewery: Sawane (さわ音), Honjozo Nama (本醸造生), Soten (蒼天), and Daiginjo (大吟醸), and I also had a lunch set.

Of the four sakes, I like Sawane best. Its high acidity makes the sake refreshing in this time of year (Sawane is limited to the summer season, though).

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