Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Day 11 - Past and Future Japanese Architecture

We were all sad to leave our little home in Kyoto. We decided to end our stay with a few photos of the different sized doors in the machiya.

This door was Huay-sized.

I could walk through this door.

The only door Rob could fit through was the one to the remodeled bath.

The next leg of the trip was a two day stay in Naoshima. Naoshima is a small island that is famous for being an “art island”. We’ve had several friends go and stay there and we were excited to go. The cab ride to the station was brightened by our driver, who had a Tintin doll on his dashboard.

When Rob told him that he had a Tintin haircut in college, the driver laughed so hard we all were a little startled but completely amused.

We had decided to make a stop at Himeji Castle on our way to Naoshima. Himeji Castle is one of the top castles in Japan. It’s unique because Himeji was a fortified castle and built more for protection rather than luxury.

A black swan greeted us.

Himeji is known as the “White Heron Castle” because the roofs look like birds in flight.

As usual, some of the signs were amusing.

Huay and Rob walked to the top of the castle to enjoy the view while Mama and I rested.

We had to take a series of trains until we got to Uno Port, where we took a 20 minute ferry to the island.

There are two choices of accommodations in Naoshima. One is a campground of Mongolian tents, or yurts. The other is staying at the hotel/museum designed by Tadao Ando. I used the excuse that Mama couldn’t sleep in a yurt to convince everyone to stay at the hotel.

At the dock, the hotel bus picked us up to take us across the island. We began to see the art dotted around.

The hotel has four different parts – Park, Beach, Museum, and Oval. I wanted to stay in the Oval because…

…we had to take a funicular to get to our rooms!

The Oval is the most amazing place we’ve ever stayed at. There are only six rooms and one bar. In each room was art either designed for the space or actually painted in the room. The architect, Tadao Ando, said the design for the Oval will never be complete until it is taken over by the foliage and becomes a relict in the wilderness.

The view from the top of the Oval was amazing and we took the opportunity for a group shot.

If you’re staying in a place like this, you have to take a bunch of photos.

I made a reservation that night to use a Jacuzzi not far from our room that is part of a larger art piece called the “Cultural Meeting Place”. We took a photo of our matching bathrobes.

And to top it off, we asked a nice couple to take our photo in the funicular on the way home.

Next - is it bad to be surrounded by beauty all day?


MinaG said...

Amazing! I've never seen anything like it! I'm going to check out the Naoshima hotel website again and check out the "oval"... You have been living like high rollers!
It's crazy to think you'll all be back in a couple of days!

yumi said...

Nice door pictures. I love the look of the Oval Hotel, it looks so peaceful. I'm sad that you guys will be leaving Japan, but happy at the same time you'll be home soon.

Sue said...

The Oval is just AMAZING. My house is so boring!
PS -- Nice calves, Rob!

yaiAnn said...

WOW! The Oval is CRAZY! That photo of you and Rob hugging is so sweet, love it!