Kyoto, Japan, October 2011 travel blog

Entrance to pedestrian and shuttle tunnel. No cars.

Exiting tunnel, with Museum in background.

Entrance plaza to museum

Museum lobby

This 150-year-old pine was chosen to grace the view just outside the...

Like something out of a painting!

Karesansui garden in the middle of the museum

Dog du jour,in Kyoto

Seven of us decided to visit the Miho Museum. After subway, train, and bus rides, we arrived at a remote mountain location. It was well worth the long ride!

Quoting from the brochure:

The Miho Museum opened in 1997. It was designed by the world-renowned architect I.M. Pei, whose other works include the glass pyramid of the Louvre Museum in Paris and the East Wing of the National Gallery in Washington DC.

Out of respect for nature, the architect built 80% of the museum below ground. While the silhouette of the roof has its origins in traditional Japanese architecture, which harmonizes beautifully with the surrounding landscape, the building’s contemporary glass structure allows a light-filled interior space. From the geometric design of its glass ceilings to its limestone walls, the entire building welcomes its visitors as it enfolds rich visions in the splendor of natural light.

The early Chinese writer Tao Yuan Ming’s famous "Tale of the Peach Blossom Spring" recounts the story of a fisherman who lost his way and found a grove of blossoming peach trees. It ended at a spring near a hill. There he noticed a ray of light coming from a small cave at the foot of a mountain.

Once inside, he found himself on a narrow road, but traveling deeper, a splendid view suddenly opened before him and he stumbled into the Shangri-la like land of the immortals. As the villagers noticed him, a look of astonishment appeared on each of their faces, but they soon began making preparations to serve him wine, chicken and other excellent food.

Architect I.M. Pei: “Japan’s architects in the distant past strove to bring their buildings into harmony with their environment and the surrounding view. Of course, I don’t want to be a copycat but I do want to respect the thinking of the Japanese people and their culture and traditions.”

The photos will show the extraordinary beauty of the site and building. The museum houses a private collection of ancient artifacts from Egypt, Greece, Rome, South Asia, China and Persia.

We had lunch at the restaurant overlooking a garden. Then we faced the long and winding road back down the mountain, then the train, then the subway, then the 3-block walk to our hotel.

Got back to the hotel about 4, and put our feet up for awhile before having dinner at a local izakaya. Hope to make it an early night, as we have more traveling and gardens tomorrow.

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