News On Japan via bayofplentytimes.co.nz -- Jul 27
Gardens, temples, shrines, palaces, a geisha quarter - Kyoto is one of Japan's treasure chests of culture and, fortunately for visitors, is easy to get around and relatively compact.
Tokyo, the city that took the status of capital away from Kyoto, is a sprawling mass of 35 million residents. Kyoto, capital from the 8th century until 1868, has a population of only 1.5 million and is a more manageable size.
The bulk of the city's temples and shrines are in the surrounding hills but all are easy to access by taxi or public transport.
The Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) started life as a private home in 1397, later becoming a Zen temple. It was reconstructed in 1955 after being destroyed in an arson attack by a monk, and in 1987 a new layer of gold leaf, five times thicker, was applied.
The garden is in the classic style and pleasant to wander but at nearby Ryoanji Temple is a very different sort of garden, one of the most celebrated in Japan.
It is believed that the first rock garden on the site was created from about 1619 but after a fire in 1797 it was filled in and new one made on top, although there are no records as to what the creator had in mind with his arrangement. The 25m-long 10m-wide rock garden is designated a national treasure, as is the earth wall surrounding it. Arriving at opening time seems to be the only way of beating the crowds.
This Monday, members of the seminal metal band X Japan were in Odaiba rubbing shoulders with the likes of Brad Pitt, Lady Gaga and AKB48′s Yuko Oshima. The catch? They were all made out of wax. (Japan Times )
The parents of a nightclub worker killed in an arson fire three years ago filed a suit in the Nagoya District Court on Monday seeking damages against top members of the Yamaguchi-gumi organized crime group. (Tokyo Reporter )
Kyodo News said Monday that it has dismissed Satoshi Kondo, 51, deputy chief of its general administration bureau and former personnel affairs division chief, for meeting individually with a female student searching for a job and doing an inappropriate act.
(Jiji Press )