Although the rooms and buildings of the elegant Kiun-Kaku in central Atami City are nice enough, the gardens that they enclose might be even better. It is visible from most rooms in the complex, and every view is different, so much that sometimes you feel you are looking at a completely different place depending on in which room you are located. It is also possible to go for a stroll in the garden, along the paths provided for visitors, if you want to get closer to it. My favorite part was the retro-styled cafe though, which has one of the best views of the garden, if you are lucky enough to get a seat with a good view!
In the sea-side city of Atami in the western Shizuoka Prefecture one of the best sight seeing spots is without a doubt the refined Kiun-Kaku mansion (起雲閣). The compound has been built and expanded tastefully and gradually from 1919 to the present day, having served as everything from the house built to his mother by a loving son to a high class traditional hotel popular with the elite of Japanese literature. Today the house is a tasteful mix of Japanese, Asian and western styles and motifs, all the building surrounding a very beautiful traditional Japanese garden landscape. It is an easy 20 min walk from the station and the entrance fee is about 500 yen. If you are a fan of traditional housing and Japanese architecture, this is a must visit! More photos to come.
If you visited Atami City far to the south west of Tokyo you might have seen this year’s Kogashi festival. I missed it this year but I went there last year. I posted yesterday about preparing and waiting for the festival and here is a photo that reminded me of that theme. A few members of the Atami Yuraku (友楽) neighborhood team waiting out the noon-day heat before joining the rest of the city in one massive parade. And speaking of massive, how about that huge paper lantern in the background? This one is slightly bigger than the more common 40-60cm long lanterns used handheld in these festivals!