We wake up a bit late at Cuore and the check out is at 10. Awww geeez, I’ll just shower at the hotel we booked for tonight I guess. Does it smell like smoke? Go brush my teeth. Yeah, it totally smells like smoke. We pack up and check out. The hotel is just a short walk along the canal and across the street from the Bikal area. Cuore Kurashiki is a killer spot.
Across the street is an elementary school. They’re burning piles of brush in the schoolyard. What’s this about? Explains the smoke smell.
I get a message from McBurger on the secure agency line, “Probably good you didn’t go to the DMZ, there was just a shootout there.” Apparently a soldier tried to defect from North Korea to the South and was shot several times. Had our trip panned out differently we would have been there for that.
Wow, this place is absolutely stunning! The walk by the canal to the hotel is sublime. We find a pair of swans chillin on some underwater poles before going for a lap. Kurashiki is shaping up to be a masterpiece all in itself.
This guy keeps rubbing his belly with his beak and pruning. He eventually gets a feather in his nose and has a minor freak out, flapping frantically while trying to maintain balance on his little pole. He finally gets it out and eyes up the pernicious feather with disdain.
We exit the Bikal area, cross the street and just down a block is the Royal Arts Hotel. Whoa, this place is a crazy upgrade from where we’ve been staying. Upscale swanksterino. We get checked in but the room isn’t ready yet so we check our tanuki with the bell hop and head back to Bikal for breakfast sans shower.
We follow cute coffee cup mascot signs to a little cafe in a courtyard. It’s quiet and relaxing, just a gentle breeze. We get a gratin w curry and a curry pocket sandwich. Queenie goes for an amazing looking coffee float that comes with a tiny origami crane on top.
We’re surrounded by historic buildings
Not a bad start. Time to check out the Ohara Museum.
Named after Ōhara Magosaburō, the Ohara museum was started when the industry mogul supported Kojima Torajiro, an artist he highly respected, to travel abroad and collect pieces of western art. The museum was the first collection of western art pieces in Japan. The grounds consist of a main gallery, a craft and artisian art gallery, an annex of more contemporary pieces, a garden, and a lawn full of sculptures.
There are magnificent pieces throughout from top names such as Monet and Frederick but we weren’t allowed to take any pictures the whole time we were there, of course. Buuuut a quick google search on any of them is easy enough to do. So at the risk of massive copyright infringement, let me just slam a couple in here to remember the place by. These are all found on the Ohara Museum site actually. I won’t pretend to be an art history major, just biff these here with no context but the art itself.
Annunciation, El Greco
Apple Picking, Camille Pissarro
Autumn Sea, Gustave Courbet
Haystacks, Claude Monet
Three Dancers in Red Costume, Edgar Degas
Waterlilies, Claude Monet
All things die, but all will be resurrected through god’s love – Joseph Frederick
This is a massive 7 panel epic above one of the doorways to a viewing room (only the 3 left most panels shown here) . Everyone dead on one side under a grieving god, the same people resurrected on the other side with rainbows. I wish the whole piece was shown here because I thought it was amazing.
Oh, look at that.. it’s public domain. So yeah, this took up a whole wall above the door
Married Life Noisy Rowdy Children, Honore Daumier
Foreshadowing things to come? Kids screaming. Husband smoking and staring at the sky
We take our time to get through each of the Museum’s four sections. A piece by Jasper Johns called Gray Flag Arms showing the American flag in washed out dripping greyscale seemed appropriate for right now.
We head between buildings to the annex. There is a lawn out front with sculptures.
Some massive pieces in the annex are incredibly vibrant colored avant garde sculptures and really really awesome. All in memory now though and impossible to recount names and artists. Wish I could have a few pics of it, should have snuck some in.
We head out to the gardens. There’s a gazebo in the middle that we sit at for a bit listening to the trickling water. There is no.body.here.so nice.
I do dis
That was relaxing. Ohara is definitely worth the visit. Could have probably skipped the squeaky craft arts section. The main gallery and annex were dope though.
Back by the canal we inquire about a gondola ride. They give us some boat tickets for an hour from now. Cool, what else can we see around here. Mmmmm street meat. What are they eating? Snack time! Me want tasty sauce balls
And this guy was making some sort of mochi seasame balls. Nomz
A little further into the Bikal area we come across a large complex called Ivy Square. I almost picked up a room in here before the spectacular Royal Arts showed up. Looks like a good place for tea.
Down on the bridge we come across some people with old person masks on. They have paddles and they run around spanking people for good health
I can’t really get enough pics of this beautiful place.
We spot an egret hunting koi fish in the river. He’s patiently waiting for the right moment to strike.
Down another alley we stumble upon something interesting. What the hell is this?
The Momotaro Museum? We’re on the case…