Saturday, March 12, 2005


Today I went hiking up some mountain in between Kyoto and Osaka.

Sorry I forgot the name of it but it's famous for being a battleground for 2 warring clans before the Edo Period. Waking up at 6am isn't my most ideal way of starting my weekend but I thought the exercise and fresh air would do me some good.

We walked through bamboo forests, up steep muddy paths, saw old (and I mean ancient) temples and shrines and when we reached the peak we were rewarded with being sprinkled with snow!

After we descended from the mountain we headed to the Asahi Brewery Villa which doubles as an art gallery and cafe. The villa was gorgeous! Old western styled villa with big, wooden, sculpted doors, romantic balconies, waterfall ponds, central heating! (definately a rarity in japanese houses), plush carpets, draperies and stained glass windows. The current exhibition was something to do about orchids and they had all these paitings and prints of orchids in the rooms and a greenery room with all these blooming orchids on display.

My teacher told me that they also had Monet paintings.
Say what?! What? Where?!? Oh there must be a travelling exhibition going around in Japan? Nope.

You see the owner (quite wealthy as you would be owning Asahi,) has his own private collection of some of Monet's waterlilies paintings, and they're exhibited in this circular vault-like room. They were so beautiful!! I wanted to take photos but the old guard didn't look the forgiving type to a potential tourist's plea of "Gomen, zen zen wakarimasen. Sorry, I don't understand." haha

I remember seeing the "Monet & Japan" exhibition in Perth and being totally mesmorized. It would have to be the best I've seen to date, but then again I have yet to experience the art galleries of Europe.

We had coffee, tea, Asahi beer, pretzels and cake in the cafe then went for lunch at this quaint, little Okinawan restaurant. After that we headed to the Suntory Whisky Yamazaki Distillery and joined a tour group.

I'm not a big fan of whisky (any brown coloured alcohol as a matter of fact - bourbon - no thank you) but I'm sure the boys would have loved to be on this tour. We went through the distillery and were given a tour on how they make the whisky - thank goodness for the english placeboards. The smell wafting in the rooms was quite strong (slightly sweet) but not to my liking as blurry, alcohol-dazed memories came to mind. *shudder*

I managed to sneakily take some photos, but without the flash they didn't turn out that good. The store room was massive! Rows of barrels and barrels and barrels were just sitting there while they matured. They even have this locked room which looks like a giant jail cell where they store barrels of whiskey which have been purchased by people. The amount for a barrel was ridiculously insane.

Then onto the tasting room - what everyone was really there for. We sat down and were served snacks while watching the tourguide explain how to mix 'whisky on the rocks.' Yes, literally. Then we helped ourselves to the different types of whisky and whisky chocolates. Yes, VERY generous indeed. One of my teachers had a grand ol' time. hehe


At 10:46 pm, Blogger jarvo said...

What you needed at the art gallery was "shashin o tottemo ii desuka?" - is it OK to take pictures?

At 6:21 pm, Blogger Christine said...

ahh yes, but Chris remember the cardinal rule...if you don't ask, you don't know and thus it's okay! =D hmmm but maybe I should have asked after I took my flash-less shots.


Post a Comment

<< Home