Shrines and Art

Nicholas Quirke was delighted to have got a grasp of being in Japan on 21 February 2020 and thanks to aid of Peng he was now armed with a travel pass and unlimited data for 8 days, making his time in the land of the rising sun an easier one to negotiate. It hadn’t been without difficulty to achieve and there had been some wrong turns but once he had his technology under control his mood lifted and he was was able to set off for some serious sight seeing. It was a another day of sunshine and first on his list was Dazaifu Tenmangu, a Shinto shrine, dedicated to a Kami, a scholar who, when he died In 903 at 59; an auspicious age, was buried in this spot as an Ox carrying the coffin stopped and moved no further. That from such a mundane act, a thing of such beauty was created is difficult to fathom. Yet far away from towers of the modern city in the foothills of a mountain a peaceful idyll, in spite of the huge crowds has been created, where prayer and ritual combine with the beauty of the setting to bring a peace and harmony to the day. And as he followed a path through the shrine into the mountainside he found himself completely alone no noise, just quiet and he enjoyed this peaceful moment before heading back into the throng. On returning to Fukuoka, he got another bus to the art museum, which to his delight and excitement actually had an exhibition of the work he had in mind by them Japanese. Known as Ukiyo-e these prints by five of the most famous artists, although at the time considered a plebeian form of art, are the most exquisite representations of life during the Edo period in Japan. Nicholas thought these prints of courtesans, actors, flora, fauna and surreal cats and foxes were haunting and seeing some of the most famous images produced by Hokusai Great Waves off Kanazawa from his series Thirtry Six Views of Mount Fuji was actually moving. He was also astonished to see a collection by Kuniyoshi of erotica making the graphic art truly graphic. He finished his day with a trip to the castle ruins which, unsurprisingly and unfortunately was closed for a light show. Hunger got the better of him and he found a Vegan restaurant, bought his tea and returned to the hotel


  1. Brilliant day. Fabulous pictures and footage. Although I was disappointed not to see the graphic graphic art 😊. But so lovely to see the pink blossom. It was amusing to see the lady in her kimono with her 1950’s handbag. X

  2. Oh Nick, you lucky dog! All the best of Japan, it seems, on your first day…and in sunshine. The mountains, the art, the shrine, the BLOSSOM! This is fabulous. Jealous of seeing that exhib as I queued for Hokusai and couldn’t get in. Ukiyo-e = the floating world. Sounds like yours is afloat & sailing. X

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