The Kanji Museum

September 17, 2017

by Miyabi Saeki and Natsumi Awa

In 2016, the Kanji Museum was established in Kyoto. It looks like a modern building, but it suits the scenery of Kyoto because the basic color is black. At the Kanji Museum, you can learn about the origin, history, and development of kanji, as well as become familiar with many different kinds of kanji. There are also a few small collections related to Kanji. For example, you can see the original types of tools used to write Kanji in its early days, like sand and bones, to the present day, such as computers and smart phones.

What are Kanji?

Kanji are ideographs which were made to represent the Chinese language in China, over 3,500 years ago. An ideograph is a picture which has a certain meaning. For example, the Kanji 馬 (uma). This Kanji was made based on the shape of a horse. Therefore, the meaning is ‘horse’. Kanji was introduced into Japan about 1,500 years ago via China. Currently Kanji is used in China, Japan, and Korea. Kanji was originally made by changing the shape of what was a picture. It is said that it is only kanji that is still used from that time. In other words, the most historic writing system in the world is Kanji.

The advantages of Kanji are that it is easy to understand and express short words briefly. In addition, there are many coined words in Kanji, so it enriches the Japanese vocabulary.

The disadvantages of Kanji are that Kanji have many stroke counts and complex shapes. Also, Kanji is not suitable for expressing sounds, so it is difficult to learn to read and write. Therefore, hiragana and katakana (phonetic writing systems in Japan) are used to help people read kanji and for transliteration of loanwords.

Floor guide

The 1st Floor

On the first floor, there is a theater, a café, a gift shop and some historical exhibitions. For example, there is a time line of the history of kanji on the wall. Kanji has a long history, and you can learn about it by looking at the time line. Furthermore, when you enter the Kanji Museum, you will receive a pamphlet, which is a kind of activity in which you learn about the origin of the Japanese writing system. You compare stamps of old and recent kanji and kana which are characters made in Japan that represent sounds. Sometimes the same kanji looks very different.

         

The 2nd Floor

There are many activities on the 2nd floor. For example, there are kanji quizzes, a kanji photo studio, a place where you can make your own kanji, and so on. The kanji quizzes can be a little difficult even for Japanese native speakers, but there are many kinds of quizzes and the levels are different. Some are like written exams, but others are like games that you can play. For example, you can match different parts of kanji together with cards, or put the correct words onto pictures. You will see many kids and adults taking these quizzes together.

Also, the kanji photo studio is fun, because you can pose in the shape of different kanji. This activity is fun even if you know almost no Japanese. You only have to know the shape of the kanji, and try to make it with your own body. In addition, you can make your own kanji, and also you can see many kanji which were made by other people.

        

If you don’t know any Japanese, you may not find it interesting, but if you know even just a little Japanese, you should try the stamp activity to see what your name looks like in old kanji.

Events at the Kanji museum

There are many events at the Kanji Museum for people to learn about kanji while also having fun. The events change every month. You can see what events are taking place on the museum’s homepage. For example, one recent event was making kanji with clay. Kids and adults could learn about the different meanings of kanji by making them with clay.

         

There is also a Kanji fair. The meaning of kanji changes over time. Here, you can learn about those changes. Some words that are now used were used very differently in the past. Many Japanese native speakers also don’t know the old meanings of kanji that they currently use.

If you don’t know a lot of Japanese, the arts and crafts events can be a lot of fun and you also get a souvenir. Or if you want to learn more Japanese, events like the Kanji fair may be more interesting.

At any rate, feel free to check out the Kanji Musuem in Kyoto. You won’t be disappointed.

Basic information about Kanji museum

Established June 29th, 2016

Hours: 9:30 to 17:00 (last admission 16:30) Closed: Mondays

Admissions: Adults: ¥800

University and high school students: ¥500

Junior high and elementary school students: ¥300

Preschool children: Free

Handicapped visitors: Free

Address: 551 Gionmachi Minigawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0074, Kyoto Prefecture

Access: Keihan Line, Gion-Shijo Stn, Exit 6, 5-min walk.

From Kyoto station, city bus number 100 or 206. Stop at Gino Bus Stop. 3 min walk.

Das Kanjimuseum

von Rin Sakai und Moe Murakami

 

Interessieren Sie sich für Japanisch? Japanisch besteht aus den Silbenschriften Hiragana und Katakana und aus den chinesischen Schriftzeichen Kanji. Diesmal stellen wir Ihnen ein Museum vor, dessen Thema Schriftzeichen sind.

Es ist das erste Kanjimuseum in Japan und wurde am 29. Juni 2016 in Gion in Kyoto errichtet. Von Groß bis Klein können alle in diesem Museum etwas Interessantes entdecken.

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Das Museum von außen

An der Anmeldung bekommt man einen Prospekt und zum Andenken einen Bleistift. Im Erdgeschoss kann man das „Kanji des Jahres“ sehen, das jedes Jahr am 12. Dezember am Kiyomizu-Tempel feierlich verkündet wird.

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„Kanji des Jahres“

Und es gibt eine Wand mit einer langen Schriftrolle, welche die Geschichte der Kanji erläutert. Ebenfalls im Erdgeschoss gibt es Kanji zum Sehen, Hören und Berühren, und ein Theater, das die Bedeutung der Kanji erklärt. Die Schreibweise der Kanji in verschiedenen Ländern wird anhand von Stempeln erklärt.

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Die Wand mit der Schriftrolle

In der Mitte des Gebäudes gibt es einen Turm, auf dem etwa 50.000 Kanji zu sehen sind.

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der Turm

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Im ersten Stock gibt es verschiedene Erlebnisstationen. Zum Beispiel gibt es eine Station, an der man durch Quizfragen die eher unbekannten Schriftzeichen für verschiedene Pflanzen und Insekten lernen kann. An weiteren Stationen kann man Kanji in einem Wörterbuch nachschlagen oder sie mit dem eigenen Körper nachstellen. Manche Stationen sind eher für Kinder gedacht und manche eher für Erwachsene. Daher lohnt sich der Besuch im Kanji-Museum für die ganze Familie.

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die Erlebnisstationen

Je nach Jahreszeit gibt es verschiedene Workshops und Sonderausstellungen, etwa eine Ausstellung mit altem chinesischem und japanischem Geld (in Nachbildungen). Eine andere Ausstellung zeigt Kôkotsu-moji, welches die älteste Kanji-Schrift ist.

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Chinesische Geldmünzen

 

Vor dem Empfang gibt es ein Café mit einem typischen Kyotoer Speiseangebot. Es ist auch möglich, nur das Café zu besuchen, ohne ins Museum zu gehen.

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das Café

Und gegenüber dem Café gibt es eine Galerie für Bilder vom Gionfest.

Die Galerie bietet sich auch für den Einkauf von Souvenirs an, weil es dort verschiedene Waren zu kaufen gibt.

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Galerie für Bilder vom Gionfest

 

 

Öffnungszeiten: 9:30-17:00

Das Museum ist montags und zum Jahreswechsel geschlossen.

Eintritt:             Erwachsene 800 Yen, Studierende/Oberschüler 500 Yen,

Mittelschüler/Grundschüler 300 Yen, Kleinkinder kostenlos

Adresse:      551 Minamigawa Gion-cho Higashiyama Kyoto 605-0074

TEL:                   075-757-8686

Anfahrt:           Mit den Buslinien 12, 3, 46, 80, 100, 201, 202, 203, 206 oder 207 bis zur Haltestelle ‚Gion‘

Mit der Keihan-Bahn bis zur Station Gionshijo

Mit der Hankyu-Bahn Kyoto-Linie bis zur Station Kawaramachi

Mit der U-Bahn Tozai-Linie bis zur Station Higashiyama

URL http://www.kanjimuseum.kyoto/

Das Eisenbahnmuseum von Kyoto

Rin Sakai, Mao Okada und Naomi Shirai

Interessieren Sie sich für die Geschichte der Eisenbahn in Japan? Am 29.4.2016 wurde in Kyoto ein neues Museum gebaut. Es ist das Kyotoer Eisenbahnmuseum. Man kann dort etwas über die Sicherheit und Technik der Eisenbahn lernen, und zwar durch Sehen, Berühren und Erleben. Das Museum ist für alle interessant, sowohl für kleine Kinder als auch für Erwachsene.

Es gibt im Eisenbahnmuseum von Kyoto verschiedene Stände, an denen man etwas erleben kann. Am Stand der Dampflokomotive kann man mit einer richtigen Dampflokomotive fahren. Man muss dafür ein besonderes Ticket kaufen. Es kostet für Erwachsene und Oberschüler 300 Yen, und für Kinder unter 16 Jahren 100 Yen.

der Dampflokomotive

Man kann eine richtige Dampflokomotive fahren.

Am Simulator-Stand für die kann man die Lenkung des Zuges durch den Simulator erleben.

Am Simulator-Stand

Man kann die Lenkung des Zuges durch den Simulator erleben.

Am Diorama-Stand bewegt ein Museumsmitarbeiter eine Modelleisenbahn.

Am Diorama-Srand

Die Modelleisenbahn ist sehr groß.

An einem letzten Stand kann man selbst per Fahrrad eine Bahnlinie überprüfen, und so den Beruf des Bahnmitarbeiters erleben. Darüber hinaus gibt es noch viele weitere interessante Erlebnisstände.

das Farrad

Man kann den Beruf des Bahnmitarbeiters erleben.

In einer wertvollen  Wagenhalle sind viele Züge ausgestellt, darunter ein Zug mit 53 Waggons. Die Wagenhalle gehört zum geschützten  Kulturgut von Japan. Viele Züge von der Dampflokomotive bis zum Shinkansen geben einen interessanten Einblick in die japanische Eisenbahngeschichte.

eine Wagenhalle

In einer wertvollen Wagenhalle sind viele Züge ausgestellt.

Von einer Aussichtsplattform (Sky-Terrasse) kann man von oben auf die Züge der JR Kyoto Linie und des Tokaido-Shinkansen sehen, die vom Hauptbahnhof ein- und ausfahren.

einer Aussichtsplattform (Sky-Terrasse)

Man kann viele Züge sehen.

Im Museum gibt es natürlich ein normales Restaurant, aber man kann auch in den Zügen  essen, und zwar das Original-Zugmenü aus der Zeit, in der dieser Zug gefahren ist. Weil man so etwas nicht oft erleben kann, möchten wir das Zugmenü empfehlen.

das Restaurant in den Zügen

Man kann das original Zugmenü in den Zügen essen.

Außerdem gibt es einen richtigen Bahnübergang im Museum. Man kann sich in den Führerstand eines Zuges setzen oder den Mechanismus einer Bahnhofssperre kennenlernen, und noch vieles mehr.

Öffnungzeiten: 10:00 ~ 17:30

Preise: Erwachsene 1,200 Yen, Studierende/Oberschüler 1,000 Yen, Mittelschüler/Grundschüler 500 Yen, Kleinkinder 200 Yen

Weg: Mit dem Bus Nr.205 oder 208 bis zur Haltestelle Umekoji-Koenmae

Mit der JR-Bahn Sagano-Linie bis zur Station Tanbaguchi

Mit der JR-Bahn Kyoto-Linie bis zur Station Nishioji

Telefonnummer: 075-323-7334

URL: http://www.kyotorailwaymuseum.jp

 

 

 

 

The Miho Museum

by Kana Matsumoto and Satoko Nasu

Miho Museum Tunnel

The Miho Museum is located in the southern area of Shiga Prefecture, which is next to Kyoto, and it is surrounded by rich nature. It exhibits a private collection of Asian and European antiques gathered by Mihoko Koyama, who was the leader of new religious group called ‘Shinji Shumeikai’. In the museum there are more than 2,000 works of various origins, such as pieces from Greece, Rome, Egypt, the Near and Middle East, Gandhara, China, and Japan. At any given time, around 250 pieces are exhibited in the museum.

The History of The Miho Museum

Inside The Tunnel

Mrs. Koyama loved to collect tea ceremony tools due to the influence of her parents. She gradually hoped to open a gallery to exhibit them. She asked Ieoh Ming Pei, a great architect famous for the East Hall of The National Gallery in Washington and the ‘Glass Pyramid’ in the Louvre, to design her museum. He proposed the idea that it is better to display not only the works of tea untensils, but also many different things. Therefore, Mrs. Koyama traveled around the world to gather various antiquities when Mr. Pei started to build the musuem’s unique architecture. The Miho Museum was finally completed in 1997. Its construction is very unique because 80% of the buildings are buried in the ground to harmonize with the environment and the surrounding view. Pei respects the thinking of the Japanese people and their culture and traditions. He said, “I think you can see a very conscious attempt on my part to make the silhouette of the building comfortable in the natural landscape.”(Miho Museum) Mr. Pei thought the Shigaraki Mountains were the most suitable place to set up the museum. In addition, the location is close to the headquarters of the Shinji Shumeikai group.

Visitors From Around The World

The Main Building

According to the museum, 120,000 tourists visit the Miho Museum each year, and surprisingly more than 10% of them are from foreign countries. Yet even some people from Shiga prefecture do not know about the museum. A marketing campaign for The Miho Museum was conducted for a whole year leading up to the anniversary of the establishment. Many influential government officials in Japan were involved the campaign and helped to spread awareness of the museum all over the world. In addition, a documentary video about The Miho Museum was made and broadcasted by The Discovery Channel in various languages. The press agent we interviewed said this video includes an interview with Mr. Pei and shows the process of constructing the museum. Since then, awareness of the museum has increased amongst foreign tourists by word of mouth.

Why Does The Miho Museum Attract So Many Visitors?

Great Interior Design

The Miho Museum is held in high regard around the world. There are three reasons for this.

1. The Unique Architectural Design of I.M. Pei.

The first thing that surprises visitors is the design of the museum. The theme of design is Shangri-La. It is said that the construction of The Miho Museum is the recreation of an old Chinese story in which a man loses his way and eventually ends up discovering the wonderful Shangri-La. Indeed, through the mystic tunnel and bridge to the main hall, a different world unfolds before your eyes. It’s like a real Shangri-La, harmonized well with nature off from the urban area and surrounded by magnificent mountains. In fact Mr. Pei strongly wanted to respect Japanese people’s heart and tradition, which values the harmony of buildings with landscapes. Those constructions are the results of his mind. What is more, the inside of the buildings will also surprise you. Natural light is streamed down from the uniquely designed roofs, while softly-colored walls of limestone offer warmth and relaxation. Everything was carefully designed with consideration of visitors in mind. In addition, the museum offers great facilities for storing and exhibiting art under the best possible conditions. For this reason, visitors can enjoy viewing art during any season of the year.

2. Great Displays Bring Happiness to Visitors

Beautiful Interior Passage

In the museum, there are many selected exhibits from around the world. They vary from Japanese arts such as tea utensils, Buddhist art, ceramic, lacquerware and Yamato-e paintings of the ancient arts of the world, such as Egypt, West Asia, Greece, Rome, South Asia, China, Persia, and so on. There are a many rare pieces of art each having long histories; all of them displayed beautifully. And they also seem to have a strong presence, as if they were sending some special message to us. In fact, all of the displays were carefully gathered by Mrs. Koyama based on the idea of making people happy and being influenced by beautiful things. Visitors will surely feel a great sense of satisfaction and happiness to encounter these great collections.

3. Great Hospitality

The service by the museum staffs is another wonderful feature of this museum. In the interview with the press agent of the Miho museum, she seemed to be very proud of the services the Miho offers to visitors as well as its architecture and art collection. The museum staff have made several great efforts to increase visitor satisfaction. First, they serve visitors from foreign countries with staff members who can speak foreign languages such as English, Chinese, and so on. Thanks to this service, the museum has become popular among foreigners. In addition, the restaurant in the museum serves meals which are made of all organic ingredients. They try to make people’s heart and body refreshed and fully satisfied. Of course, all staff members are sure to maintain a polite and courteous demeanor toward each visitor. Such great hospitality definitely helps to make people satisfied and happy.

Access

Take the JR Biwako line from Kyoto Station to Ishiyama Station ( 230 yen, 15 min.). At the south gate of Ishiyama station, take the Teisan bus number 150 to the Miho museum ( 800 yen, 50 min.). It takes just over an hour in total from Kyoto.

Address
300, Tashiro Momodani, Shigaraki, Shiga

Contact
Tel. +81 (0)748 82 3411
E-mail: information@miho.jp

Hours
10:00 to 17:00 (Admission until 16:00)

1,000 yen for adults; 800 yen for high school and college students; 300 yen for elementary school students.

Matsunoo Grand Shrine

by Maki Mizobata; Natsuki Mitsuya
Matsunoo Grand Shrine (also known as Matsuo Grand Shrine) is located at the west end of Shijo Street, beyond Matsuo Bridge. This shrine is the oldest shrine in Kyoto, and the divinity worshipped here is a god of brewing sake. Throughout the year, more than a thousand people who are engaged in brewing sake visit Matsunoo Grand Shrine. There is also a famous well, Kame-no-I, as well as three gardens, and the treasury and Honden have been designated as important cultural properties.

History

In ancient times, the people who settled in the area around this shrine orshipped a boulder on Mt. Matsuo called Iwakura as their guardian deity. In 5 AD, a lord of the Hata clan, who had emigrated from Korea, settled in the area and introduced agriculture and forestry. The Hata clan also chose the deity of Mt. Matsuo as its guardian deity. In 701, Hata-no-imikitori built the shrine. Because the Hata clan had a lot of power and money, they were involved in the relocation of the Imperial capital to Nagaoka-kyo (784) and later to Heian-kyo (794). Therefore, they won the Imperial court’s confidence, and Matsunoo Grand Shrine was honored by the Imperial house. Not only has this shrine long played a role in ensuring the peace of the nation and protecting the people who live around it, but the shrine also houses guardian deities of cultivation, flood control, and trade. Since the Hata clan introduced to Japan the method of brewing sake, brewers and makers of miso paste visit Matsunoo Grand Shrine to pray for the success of their endeavors.

Deities

Matsunoo Grand Shrine enshrines Oo-yamagui-no-kami and Nakatsu-shima-hime-no-mikoto. The former is a male deity who governs Mt. Hiei and Mt. Matsuo. The latter, otherwise known as Ichiki-shima-hime-no-mikoto, is a female deity who protects people during their travels.

Honden

Since the time the Hata clan founded the shrine, the Honden, or the main shrine building, has been through several reconstructions, and the present one was built in 1397 and repaired in 1542 during the Muromachi period. Because of its unique style of roof, which is called Matsuo-zukuri, or Matsuo style, the Honden has been designated as an important cultural property.

Shofu-en

Shofu-en has three famous gardens: Iwakura, Horai and Kyokusui. These gardens were designed by Mirei Shigemori during the Showa era. They are not so old but are among the greatest of the works made after the Meiji era. He designed them with a combination of rocks, and the opposite ideas of “stillness” and “movement” are harmonized well.

・Iwakura Garden(The ancient era style)

This garden was made to be the spiritual place for the god of Mt. Matsuo. Two main boulders symbolize the god and the goddess who are enshrined in this shrine. Other rocks around them represent dieties dependent on the main ones.

・Horai Garden (Kamakura era style)

The Kaiyu style, which you can enjoy by walking around the garden, is used here, and there are islands in the pond. In this garden, we can imagine a place where an unworldly man lives. It is said that this garden expresses Horai ideas, which include a longing for a world where people will not grow old and die.

・Kyokusui Garden (Heian era style)

The Heian era, when Matsunoo Grand Shrine was most prosperous, is the theme of this garden. Water channels its way along the foot of a hill, curving seven times, and there are many glaucous (light blue and green) rocks on the hill. The design is simple, but its color scheme is unique.

Kame-no-I (A well)

Near the waterfall Reiki-no-taki is a well of spring water, Kame-no-I, which is said to produce a mysterious effect. This water is famous for producing longevity and revival. Sake brewers put the water of Kame-no-I into their sake because not only do they adore the deities but also they believe the sake will not go bad.

Sake-no-Shiryokan (Museum of Sake)

Since Matsunoo Grand Shrine has housed a god of sake from ancient times, it is believed that sake brewed with water from here will bring people happiness and prosperity. In the Museum of Sake,we can see the tools used in brewing sake that were donated by sake brewers, and also we can learn about the tradition and history of sake.

Ichinoi River

There are about 3,000 Japanese rose bushes within the shrine’s precinct. The Japanese rose is most beautiful in April and May when it blooms. Especially, the harmony of the stone bridge, fresh green leaves, and Japanese rose bushes along the Ichinoi River is wonderful.

Festival

The Matsunoo Festival consists of two processions: Shinko-sai and Kanko-sai. Shinko-sai is held on the first Sunday after April 20th. Six mikoshi, or portable shrines, are carried and ferried across the Katsura River to the opposite side, and each mikoshi is placed in a shrine there. Three weeks later,the mikoshi are returned to Matsunoo Grand Shrine, and this procession is called Kanko-sai.

Access

  • By bus: Take Kyoto city bus No. 28 or Kyoto bus No. 73 from Kyoto Station to the “Matsuo-taisha-mae” bus stop.
  • By Hankyu Railway: Get off at “Matsuo” station.

Fees for Garden and Treasure House

  • Adult: 500 yen
  • Student: 400 yen
  • Child: 300 yen

*Admission to Sake-no-Shiryokan (Museum of Sake) is free.

Open

  • Garden: 9:00 – 16:00 (9:00 – 16:30 Sundays and holidays)
  • Museum of Sake: 9:00 – 16:00