On a beautiful sunny day last week, I went to Meiji shrine.
Despite being in the middle of the city, the shrine is quiet.
The shrine, dedicated to the Emperor Meiji and his Empress, is built of unpainted wood.
There’s a lot of really beautiful, elaborate woodwork in this building:
Right outside this peaceful shrine is one of the busiest shopping streets and tourist attractions in the city, Harajuku.
The area has a lot of clothing stores and creperies.
Tucked away between the shopping streets is the Ota Memorial Museum of Art, which houses an impressive collection of woodblock prints, including many by Hokusai and Hiroshige. I wasn’t able to take photos inside, so the photos following are not mine, but I wanted to show some examples of what I saw.
Wood blocks are made by carving images from blocks of wood, with a distinct carving for each color in the print. The blocks are then painted with their color and used to print on paper, layering each color over the last. The level of detail achieved in these images (both of these images are about 12″ high, I’d guess) is really astounding.
The museum itself is a single two-story space. The lighting is quite dim and most of the light comes from the display cases themselves illuminating the room. (This is the best photo I could find to show this.) It was a very quiet space, and a bit incongruous with its neighborhood. They have some other exciting exhibits coming up, so I’ll probably go back!