Saturday, November 24, 2012

Some places in Kyoto Paul McCartney visited

With two friends of mine, who are big fans of Paul McCartney, I visited Kyoto which was the capital of Japan from 794 to 1867. It is one of the most popular sightseeing places for both Japanese people and foreigners.

The first place we visited was Kinkakuji Temple, established in the 14th century. It burned down in 1950 and was reconstructed. Paul visited this temple in November 2002. The master priest admitted that Paul, his wife and his band members to the temple after it had closed time. The temple rules dictated that only state guests (King, Queen, President, Prime Minister etc.) were to be treated like that, but Paul was an exception to the rule.

We had Japanese tea and sweets which were made with pure gold like Kinkakuji.

The second place we visited was the Old Imperial Palace. It is a big park - all the buildings are closed. Why did Paul visit such a place? Maybe it is a good place for strolling.

The third place we saw on our tour was an old Japanese style inn Yoshikawa. It is where
Paul stayed. However, we didn't stay there because the rate is expensive, instead we had the cheapest tempra dinner set(100 dollars). It was the best tempra I have ever had.

After dinner, I asked the serving lady "We are big fans of Paul McCartney, so could you show us the room Paul stayed in?" She said, "Of course, come this way" and smiled gently.

This was his room! We saw it from ouyside the inn. The serving lady said, "If nobody was staying in this room, you could see inside, but unfortunately a guest is staying there now."

The inn had a beautiful garden. The book "Each One Believing" about Paul's 2002 tour contained a picture of Paul relaxing  in this garden.

After we took many pictures,  the serving lady showed us the photo book of the celebrity guests who were celebrities, Leonard DiCaprio,Cameron Diaz, Daniel Radcliff etc. We focused on the first page and the second page. A picture of Paul was on the first page. On the second page was Olivia Harrison, George Harrison's wife! The serving lady said, "Paul-san recommended this inn to her." We were surprised and glad that there is a good relationship between Paul and Olivia. (If you are a beatlemania, you may know the complex relationship between Paul and George.)

As I wrote above, this inn Yoshikawa provides high-level hospitality and is a high-class hotel. In addition, this inn has another value - staff are not exclusive but open-minded. All Japanese people know some high-class Japanese inns are exclusive. For example, no first-time guest are admitted (you need to be introduced by a regular), and they look  down on average people. However, Yoshikawa's staff treated us the same as other upper class guests. We were impressed by their services and thought that such an attitude attracted Paul and had him introduce this inn to other celebrities.


Anonymous said...

Oh, I love Kyoto. As a Chinese person from Sichuan, I always admire Kyoto, as it is one of my favourite Japanese cities. I have never been there but I have ever seen the city on the TV and internet. The same thing could be said for Nara, another Japanese city that I have never been but admire. Kyoto, Nara, Osaka, Yokohama, and Sapporo are all my favourite Japanese cities.

Kyoto to me is like a precious jewel, I would consider Kyoto and Nara to be the precious jewels of Japan. When I see both Nara and Kyoto I always think like this: "Wow! Kyoto and Nara would bring me back to the ancient days of Chang'an (Chang'an is the ancient name for Xi'an)."

I wish that I could have the chance to see Kyoto and Nara, to enjoy the feelings of ancient China of the Han and Tang periods. Many Chinese people always think that Kyoto and Nara would give them the chance to see how was China during the ancient days.

Yoshiteru said...

I was glad to read your comment about Kyoto and Nara because I was born in Nara and went to a university in Kyoto.

As you know, both Kyoto and Nara were modeled on Chang’an of ancient China. Therefore it is natural that the two cities bring you back to the ancient days of Chang'an.

I would like to visit Xi’an (Chang'an), which is the city my ancestors admired and modeled.

顺丽 said...

Oh well, thank you for your response about my Kyoto and Nara comment.

Xi'an is indeed pretty fascinating as a city but I have to remind you that there are not many Tang Dynasty cultural relics and practices could be found at Xi'an anymore because of what happened during the Cultural Revolution period and the current modernization in China that pretty much further destroyed the cultural relics and practices within Xi'an. There are still Tang Dynasty cultural relics and practices could be found at Xi'an but not as many as you would expect, I have to remind you this so you won't be shocked. Sorry for telling this to you, but that's the truth. I hope you could understand what I am saying.

I do love my own culture and heritage, but on the same time I feel very disappointed with what happened to the cultural aspects within China. Thank you for the response, I am very happy for it.

Yoshiteru said...

Keeping the culture, especially the ones which cannot be recreated again, for instance, paintings, architecture, handwriting, relics and so on, is so difficult. In Nara and Kyoto, there are many temples and Buddha statues but not so many originals. War, natural disaster and sometimes rulers' political actions destroyed them.

In the early days of Japanese modernization circa 1870, the new Japanese government set Shinto religion and Shinto shrines as being respectable for keeping new social hierarchy based on Shinto related to the new ruler, the Japanese Emperor. The government laid down the law only to separate Shinto shrines and Buddhist temples, but people reacted violentaly and destroyed thousands of Buddhist temples and their statues. See

As I told you, Horyuji (temple) in my home town has kept the original architecture for 1,300 years. The reason why is that Horyuji priests gave many treasures and relics of the temple away to the Emperor and the government. The emperor and the government guarded the temple. The treasures are still owned by Tokyo National Museum and the Emperor family.

Such rulers' political actions and people's actions are disgusting, but unfortunately universal, I think.

顺丽 said...

Oh well thank you for the explanation, I am so sorry about what happned back then, I think modernization could be a double-edged sword sometimes.

I hope those remaining cultural things could last forever, so the next generation could cherish their culture and heritage.

Good luck to you and your country

Yoshiteru said...

Thank you. Many Japanese people have learned this anti-Buddhism movement in early Japanese modernization at school but many of them don't understand how severe it was. I feel totally lucky the movement passed soon.