January 18, 2016

by Manami Otahara & Miki Sawai

Our travel dairy: Fukakusa’s loves story


We visited Fukakusa to see Fushimi-inari shrine. It is very famous shrine, so people visited to there from around the world. People visit to see many Torii. Torii separates gods and humans. Torii looks like shrine gate made of wood, the color is bright red. Fushimi-inari shrine is the main shrine of all the inari shrines in Japan. Other Famous place is Fuji-no-mori shrine, it has to with Japanese emperor Tenno.   This shrine is famous Ajisai festival and the god is known for having luck in games, so people visit this shrine. When we visited this shrine, we saw may beautiful Ajisai. Ajisai is one of the flower in summer. Next place was main the temple for this trip. This temple is Gonjo-ji temple. Gonjo-ji temple is has to with our report.

Fukakusa’s love story


The place we visited is called Fukakusa. It is called Fukakusa because a long time ago, a person named Shosho-Fukakusa lived there. He loved Onono Komachi. She was most beautiful woman in Japan in Heian period. He loved her, but she didn’t love him, so she got an idea. The idea was very simple, he met her every night for 100 days. Her house and his house were far away. The distance was about 7 km, but he would like her to be his wife, so he met her every night. First day, second day, 97th day 98th day 99th day, he met her with peanuts. On the 100th night, she waited for him. However, didn’t come. That day he died because of heavy snow. The next day she found out that he died. She was very sad, so she was planted his nuts in her village. Later the nut grew and the tree is believed to be 1,000 years old.

Gonjo-ji temple


Gonjo-ji temple is a very important place. This is where Fukakusa lived.   There is a pond and this pond is where he looked at himself. There is a big Buddha in this temple, and Fukakusa and Komachi are buried here. Her house was in Yamashina. Yamashina is a town on the border of Kyoto and Shiga, so her house and his house were far away. However when she heard that he died, she was very sad. Therefore when she died, she was buried in this temple.


Fushimi-inari shrine

68 Fukakusa Yabunouchi-cho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto

Fuji-no-mori shrine

609 Fukakusatoriizakicho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto


1038 nishimasuyacho, Fushimi-ku Kyoto

The Tale of Genji Museum-Uji city

The Tale of Genji Museum –Uji city

Akiho Kamijo & Shiho Iwasaki

About the Tale of Genji

The Tale of Genji was written by Murasaki Shikibu in the early 11th century (mid Heian era), and consists of 54 chapters (jou). More than 300 characters appear in it, in a story spanning 70 years. Within the work is contained about 800 shu of a 31-syllable form of classical Japanese poetry. This book is sometimes spoken of as the “classic of classics” and one of the greatest works in the history of Japanese literature.The tale itself is divided into three parts:

Part 1 : Hikaru Genji’s birth and his life of splendor and achievement.

Part 2 : Hikaru Genji’s life of anguish and ultimately his death.

Part 3 : The life of Kaoru,the child of Hikaru Genji, fillled with stories of love and tragedy.


 The author – Murasaki Shikibu


Murasaki Shikibu









The author, Murasaki Shikibu, was born around 973 (Ten-en 1) to a middle-class aristocrat Fujiwara no Tametoki. Although we don’t know her real name, she was called Murasaki Shikibu in direct relation to the character of Murasaki no Ue, from The Tale of Genji. In 998 (Chotoku 4), she married Fujiwara no Nobutaka and they had a daughter named Daini no Sanmi. Unfortunately, three years after Daini’s birth her husband died, and it was about this time she began to write The Tale of Genji. Around 1005 (Kanko 2), she became a lady-in-waiting to Fujiwara no Michinaga’s daughter, Shoshi, who was the wife of Emperor Ichijo. In Murasaki Shikibu’s diary, it was written that The Tale of Genji was actually a special gift to Shoshi upon the birth of her son, the Imperial Prince, Atsuhira.


The Tale of Genji Museum -Uji City

The tale of Genji Museum is divided into two main areas: The Exhibition Zone and the Information Zone. Here are some of the main features :

Image exhibition of the Tale of Genji and a dynastic picture scroll.

A high-definition video exhibit introduces a fascinating summary of the Tale of Genji and features a model of Rokujoin, the home of Hikaru Genji.

An ox-drawn carriage and period dress exhibit.

There is a restored ox-drawn carriage here, plus a Junihitoe (the ceremonial attire of a Japanese court lady of the period) which symbolizes the level of the circle the characters in the Tale of Genji moved in.

An exhibit showcasing the dynastic culture and many functions of the court.

Here we can view the dresses and articles of furniture of the shinden dukuri style in an architectural representation of a nobleman’s residence in the Heian period. There are also examples of the games and annual events held each season in the Heian period court.

Kakehashi or Connecting Bridge

In this exhibit we can experience the journey from the capital of Heian to Uji that is illustrated in the Tale of Genji.

“Uji jujo” story theater

Here, there is a replica of a famous scene from the work Uji jujo featuring a curtain and a life-size set.

The scenes and fragrance of the Tale of Genji

The fragrances that Heian nobility were particularly fond of are introduced in this exhibit. Many of which are featured in the tale of Genji.

Movie room

We can enjoy another two movies here of the tragic love stories, “Ukifune” and “Hashihime”.


 The Role of Uji in the Tale of Genji

Murasaki Shikibu and the ten Uji Chapters


The Uji Connection

The Ten Uji Chapters start with the chapter Hashi-Hime (Maiden of the Bridge) and conclude with Yume no Ukihashi (Floating Bridge of Dreams).This “bridge” in the story serves to move the setting from the capital to Uji, and also changes the focus of the story from Hikaru Genji to his son, Kaoru, as well as his grandson, Niou no Miya.

Heian aristocrats knew Uji well, and Murasaki Shikibu decided to use this setting to make them feel part of the story. Kyoto at this time was full of very important people, but Uji was a haven where the aristocrats could relax and be themselves. Murasaki Shikibu very skillfully told the stories of the emotional dramas played out between the men and women of Uji, a place that had a lively, yet also dark side

Uji in The Tale of Genji

In the Ten Uji Chapters of The Tale of Genji, Murasaki Shikibu writes about the villa of Hikaru genji’s son, Yugiri, as being on the west side of the Uji River. Actually, this was where Fujiwara no Michinaga, a very influential person of the time, also had a grand home. On the bank where Uji Shrine and Ujigami Shrine are located, she writes of the mountain villa of Hachi no Miya. Fujiwara no Michinaga’s villa on the west bank was later made into Byodo-in Hodo by his son Yorimichi, and still stands today as a prime example of buddhist architectural splendor. However, Ujigami Shrine, where Uji-no-waki-iratsuko, the son of Emperor Ojin is enshrined, is far more modest, and is much more representative of Hachi-no-Miya, who lived alone and lonely.


Address: 45-26 Uji-Higashiuchi, Uji City, Kyoto 611-0021

Hours: 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Admission until 4:30 p.m.)

Closed: Mondays (or the following day if Monday is a national holiday) and Dec. 28 to Jan. 3

Transport links:



The Tale of Genji

by Hideaki Kato


The Tale of Genji is a historical literary work. It was written in the middle of the Heian era in Japan (around 800 to 1400 AD) and is based in the city of Kyoto at that time. It was written over 1000 years ago so it is very old. It has been very popular for a long time.

Murasaki Shikibu

The Tale of Genji was written by Murasaki Shikibu who had talent as a writer and poet .Those talents were recognized by a number of people and she served the Emperor’s daughter. The Tale of Genji was written at that time. In those days, Heian nationalism was very influential. It was the Japanese original noble culture, and kana script in this way developed. Kana is the original and formal Japanese script and derives from the kanji script which was originally from China and is also used in Korea too. Therefore, kana script is used in The Tale of Genji.

The Story

The tale of Genji is an epic romance story, comprised of 54 volumes. Those volumes are separated from part 1 to part 3. In addition, this story is written in Japanese style, intermixed with waka poetry. There are many characters in this story and most of them are nobles of the Heian era. This story is written about their loves. So it has been written realistic of the aristocracy culture. The novel’s hero is Hikaru Genji who is a son of the emperor. He was very handsome and was in love with many girls in his lifetime. But he often had affairs with many girls and he has been explained the pain time. Uji is the main stage of the second half of the story and the next hero is the son of Hikaru Genji .Uji is very important in this story. There is a museum and there are sightseeing spots related to the Tale of Genji in Uji. We can realize the history there.


The Tale of Genji is called the greatest masterpiece in the history of Japanese literature. However, not all people could read it when it was first written and it was mainly nobles who read it in the Middle Ages. Therefore other nations were not able to obtain it either. It was around the Edo era when print technology developed in Japan and the common people came to be able to have it in their hand. Many people were able to read it because Akiko Yosano translated it into the contemporary Japanese language.

Now The Tale of Genji is not only a literary work but represented in comics and movies. As a result, it is known by both young and old people. It was in about 1882 that The Tale of Genji was first translated into English and The Tale of Genji has now been translated into many foreign languages. Therefore, it is a work that is loved not only in Japan but around the world.

A Symbol of Kyoto: Heian Shrine

by Satoko Kawaguchi, Natsuki Kamikura & Yusuke Shimizu


Almost everyone who visits Kyoto thinks that the ancient capital’s temples and shrines were originally built many, many years ago, and indeed most of them were. But there is one famous exception: Heian Shrine. This magnificent Shinto place of worship, also known as Heian Jingu, was built in 1895 to celebrate the 1,100th anniversary of the transfer of Japan’s capital to Kyoto. In 794 A.D., the Emperor Kanmu moved the capital from Nara to what is now Kyoto and named the new city “Heian-kyo”, which means “the capital of eternal peace”. The shrine’s main buildings convey the atmosphere of elegance of the Heian Period (794-1185). In those days, the Japanese people welcomed Chinese culture warmly, and we can still find in this shrine today many features and artifacts connected with Chinese culture.

Actually, there is another interesting background story to the building of Heian Shrine. In the late 19th century, Kyoto had seriously declined because the capital had been transferred once again, this time to Tokyo. As a result, Kyoto’s population had decreased, and the city had become spiritless. By building a new and impressive shrine, the remaining people of Kyoto intended to boost Kyoto’s image and reinvigorate the life of the city. The Heian Shrine project was a success, and today both its architecture and grounds are so grand and inspiring that is a suitable symbol of Kyoto. This is an important part of Heian Shrine’s history.

Daigokuden: ‘Great Hall of State’

Daigokuden, the holiest place in this shrine, is composed of three buildings: Gaihaiden (Front Shrine), the Inner Sanctuary and the Main Sanctuary. Everyone can enter the first building to pray to the deity by offering some coins. Speaking of prayer, do you know how to worship in Shinto shrines? It is different from the way of praying in temples. First, you bow twice, and next clap your hands twice and then you bow again. Each action has a meaning. The first two bows express gratitude in advance for the granting of a wish. The two handclaps are for letting the deity know that you are present. And the final bow conveys gratitude for the granting of your wishes from now on.

We are only permitted to enter the second building, the Inner Sanctuary, on the days of Shinto events like Shichigosan or Omiyamairi. Shichigosan (literally, “7-5-3”) is a festival for three- and seven-year-old girls, and three- and five-year-old boys. Dressed in kimono, hakama or other formal wear, small children traditionally have gone to shrines to receive blessings on November 15th, but nowadays they may visit anytime within the month of November. Omiyamairi is the first shrine visit after a baby is born, when the tiny child, swaddled in white lace, is brought inside to the altar to be blessed.

Although we can enter the shrine’s first and second buildings, no one except for the priests of Heian Shrine are allowed to enter the Main Sanctuary because the souls of emperors Kanmu and Komei are enshrined here. Kanmu, who moved the capital, was the first emperor to reign from Kyoto, and Komei was the last. They are both considered very precious in this shrine — so important that their vehicles are shown in the Jidai Matsuri, or Festival of Ages, an annual procession where we can see people costumed in clothing from various periods ranging from 790 to 1860.

Otenmon: ‘The Main Gate’

Otenmon is a majestic and colorful building which has reproduced Daidairi, a part of the imperial palace that once stood in Heian-kyo in Emperor Kanmu’s time; it is reduced to about two-thirds in scale but it is still vast. Daidairi was the center of government in the Heian era. In Heian-kyo, the nobles named the gates which they governed with their own names. Otenmon was governed by an official named Otomo, and “mon” means gate, so at first it was called Otomomon. Long afterward, people came to call this building Otenmon. When public officials visited the Imperial Court, they led their men and took up their positions beside the right and left hallways of the gate. In 866, there was a fire in Otenmon and it burned down. This incident, called “The Affair of Otenmon”, involved arson and was connected to a government plot. A man named. Fujiwara took the helm of government after he banished Otomo from politics for his arson. Otenmon was reconstructed in 871, but when the Onin Rebellion broke out in 1467, Kyoto was drawn into a vortex of war, and Otenmon disappeared. The current Otenmon appeared four centuries later.


What do you associate with a shrine? Perhaps many people who know something about Shinto connect shrines with the torii, a freestanding gate with two overhead crossbars or lintels. A gate such as this usually stands at the entrance of the approach to a shrine. Heian Shrine has an enormous torii (its height is 24.4 meters!) You will be fascinated with this towering, vivid vermilion gate. But, this shrine didn’t have a torii until 1928, when people projected a plan for this massive gate. The construction started in June of that year and the torii was completed in October. The next year, workmen started to paint the torii with red clay and they finished all their work in March. When you see this torii with your own eyes you’ll marvel at how quick the construction was! In those days, it was biggest torii in all of Japan. At first, many people said, “Such a big red torii mars the beauty of the scenery.” But now, it is a symbol of Heian Shrine. This torii combines grandeur with grace.

Soryu-ro and Byakko-ro

These are towers at the sides of Daigokuden. Soryu-ro, to the east, means a blue dragon and a god that stand in the east, and Byakko-ro, to the west, means a white tiger and a god that stand in the west. These are two of four gods of a religion which came from China. The other gods are Genbu, a turtle and a snake and a god of water that stand in the north, and Suzaku, a vermillion bird in the south. Kyoto was regarded as a suitable landform for these four gods.

Shin-en: ‘Garden of the Gods’

At the sides and to the rear of Daigokuden, there is a superb garden which, at 33,000 square meters, takes up the half of the shrine’s precincts. This garden comprises four areas: south, west, middle and east.

The South Garden

In this area you can find about 200 kinds of plants which are described in books written in the Heian period such as The Tale of Genji, many with plates inscribed with passages from the famous story. As a result, this garden is called “The Heian Garden.” The most beautiful scene is pink weeping cherry trees. The blossoms are at their best in April. Oddly enough, you can also see the lone carriage of a streetcar in this area. Electric trolleys like this once ran in Kyoto, the first city they appeared in here in Japan. The one you’ll see nearly hidden in the plants in this garden is Japan’s oldest, come here to its final, honored resting place.

The West, Middle, and East Gardens

Ogawa Jihei, a landscape gardener of the modern era also known as Ueji, made these three gardens. He designed his plans with the intention that, all over this lush garden, people would be made to feel calm. He spent about 20 years making these three gardens.The west garden was the first garden entered until the south garden was made. In this garden there are streams and a pond, Byakko-ike. At the edge of this pond, 2000 irises of 200 different Japanese traditional Japanese types cluster together. They are at their best in June. You can walk a simple wooden bridge over the pond at that time and look at water lilies in the same pond.

The main attraction of the middle garden is Garyukyo and irises. Garyukyo is a series of stepping-stones in the pond called Soryu-ike. These stones were formerly piers of two great bridges over the Kamo River — Sanjo Ohashi and Gojo Ohashi — which were made by the great conqueror Toyotomi Hideyoshi (1536-1598). Ogawa Jihei arranged these stones so that people stepping from one to the next can feel as if they might be riding on a dragon flying in the sky that is reflected on the surface of the pond. About 100 purple irises found here are at their best in May

The east garden is large and open. The first sight as you enter this area is a pond named Seiho-ike. As you walk, you will see Taiheikaku and Shobikan. You will feel as if Seiho-ike was a mirror because the surface of the pond reflects such buildings, trees and the sky. The garden “borrows” Mt. Kacho which is part of the Higashiyama range as background scenery. Taiheikaku is an exquisitely designed covered bridge over the pond. When you sit there for awhile and look down at the pond and carps, you can certainly feel calm. Shobikan stands on the edge of Seiho-ike and has gorgeous pictures painted on fusuma, which are framed and papered sliding doors used as room partitions. These two elegant buildings were given to the shrine from the Kyoto Imperial Palace.



In the pond there are two small islands, Kameshima (turtle island) and Tsurushima (crane island). They stand for Horaisan, a mountain that is a fabled fairyland in China. By the way, the water in these gardens’ ponds is drawn from Lake Biwa. There is a canal along Niomon Street for sending water here from the lake, Japan’s largest, in neighboring Shiga prefecture.

In this garden you can watch a lot of birds such as goshawks, kingfishers or herons and many water creatures. Sometimes unique animals are found — for example, the golden soft-shelled turtle. It is known that many soft-shelled turtles live in ponds, but this one is clearly a different color. It is said to be albino, and is very rare. Everyone seems interested in this unique turtle because it seems to bring good luck.

Another turtle whose shell is blooming with algae can also be found. It is called minogame, which means a turtle that looks like it’s wearing a straw raincoat! It takes a very long time and requires just the right conditions for algae to bloom on the shell, so this turtle also seems to be a good omen.

Admission to Shin-en might be a little expensive, but this wonderful garden is worth visiting. Make it a part of your experience of the shrine that revived Kyoto —Heian Shrine — and you will probably feel restored and refreshed afterwards yourself!