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A characteristic emblem of Kyoto would be the picture of a maiko standing on one of the Kamo's classic bridges, against the blue-black mountains of Hiei or Higashiyama. Her manners and speech reflect the old Kyoto, and her dress--her obi, her hairpins and her very fan--display the arts and crafts of the ancient capital. Around her, the scenery is the same as in olden days. The same green mountains stand as veritable multifold screens, and the gentleflowing Kamo and Katsura are replete at every ten paces with episodes famous in history or tradition.
Of cities once great, but now decrepit, or important only as relics of ancient grandeur, there are many in Asia or Europe. Kyoto is not one of them. She is old with landmarks everywhere telling tales a thousand years old, and she is ever young and charming. A thousand years ago Kyoto was the Emperor's capital, or the loveliest city in the world, which is what "Miyako" doubtless meant.
Here then is a city where one would like to pass many years of this earthly life -- to live, amid its twentieth-century conveniences, the life of one born in the romantic era of Heian when the Emperors reigned in inviolable seclusion, and the Shōguns held their proud court in all the glory of temporal power, and when the great Buddhist monks and Shinto priests, in many of whose veins flowed the Imperial blood, performed their sacred rites in edifices no less impressive than those of the Emperors themselves.
It is one of the world's wonders that, despite the many calamities of war and of natural agency which have overwhelmed this beautiful city, it has kept all the relies of its ancient glory. Nor are they kept in a nutshell as in a dusky museum; they are preserved in a fresh environment of scenery, as if the contents of pictorial scrolls of the Heian period had stepped out into a modern setting.
If a visitor to Kyoto were a complete stranger, with no idea of her history or Oriental art, he could not fail to be impressed by her old-world charm all the same. Even a clumsy attempt at explanation made by a casual shopkeeper would give him a glimpse into the inexhaustible treasure-house, as it were, of its old arts and culture. Were he an art lover or a student of history or archæology, nothing but a prolonged stay could allay his craving for the beauty that Kyoto inspires.
Volumes could not describe all these objects of natural beauty and artistic elegance. For convenience sake therefore I shall treat them under the following categories. First, Kyoto as a historical museum; secondly, as the headquarters of the Buddhist religion; thirdly, as a center of arts, crafts and various refined tastes; fourthly, as a Mecca of sightseeing and beautiful scenery.
Osaka, Japan Photographic Print
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Those features of Osaka which may be recommended for sightseeing can be mentioned, if not described, in a paragraph, for Osaka never pretends to be a point of tourist interest. Among others, the Castle of Osaka, recently rebuilt after the original pattern of three centuries ago; the Imperial Mint, with its court-yard gay with cherry blossoms in spring; the modern-style park of Tennōji, with the historic temple of the same name, its Zoo, museum and botanical gardens, etc., are most frequently mentioned. Add to them the narrow, but bustling and attractive shopping streets of Shinsaibashi; the night gaiety of Sennichimae, Dōtonbori and Shinsekai with their theaters, shows, restaurants, etc., presenting a brilliant nightless aspect of abandon and jollification. After these there is the famous puppet theater of Bunraku.
Dawn of Osaka City Giclee Print
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OSAKA - VENICE OF JAPAN
If you are told that Osaka is a fine city to get away from, do not be too ready to believe it. Osaka has its attractions. They are not apparent to one rushing over its busy streets and canals. They grow on a longer stay there. You may not like to live in Osaka, but once settled there you will dislike leaving it. Osaka is a city of commerce, manufacture and money-making. It is a business city, and those interested in business -- what man is not? -- cannot afford to ignore it.
The latest report that some of the world's greatest news agencies are posting full-time correspondents in Osaka is but another proof of its attractions as a business center of the world. It is here that money is literally manufactured--Osaka has the only government mint there is in Japan--and the largest volume of foreign trade is annually transacted. It is here also that the two greatest daily newspapers in Japan are published. These two, by the way, with their sister organs in Tokyo, divide between them the ninth part of the entire newspaper readers of Japan, it is said.
The latest census puts the population of Osaka at 2,636,256, Japan's third largest city after Tokyo. The Yodo is to Osaka what the Sumida is to Tokyo, but the city, growing apace on both sides, has fairly buried it. You will scarce notice this great river, full of historic and romantic associations, though you may cross and re-cross it in your auto trips through its densely-populated, hurryscurry streets.
Osaka is a regular checker-board of criss-crossing streets, rivers and canals. Its waterways are 40 miles long and are crossed by 1,320 bridges. It is sometimes called the "Venice of Japan." This closeknitted cobweb of streets and waterways, together with its splendid harbor--which will give an idea of Osaka's glory as an industrial city -- and its location in the center of serpentine Japan, have helped Osaka to rise to its commanding position in the nation's commerce. It is much more than the "Manchester of Japan," especially in allusion to its great cotton manufacture. It is, without exaggeration, the "Chicago of the Far East," if only in respect of its forest of chimneys seen everywhere. Osaka is said to be the richest city in Japan.
If Osaka is, above all else, a city of moneymakers, it is also a city of spenders, not of misers. Its spending, however, is guided by principles of business, or it is only part of the general scheme of money-making. That is why money circulates more in Osaka than anywhere else in the Empire. If there is not much in the way of sightseeing in the city proper, there are innumerable devices and organs for money-spending. Some of these are fashionable theaters, luxurious restaurants and expensive tea-houses, as well as cheap popular ones. Again, Osaka's gay districts have more houses of the red light, cafés, etc., per square block, than similar districts in any other city of Japan.