Man made details

Floor of our BnB in Kyoto
Wooden drawers holding fortunes at a shrine
It's funny what stays with you after a vacation in a new place. For me, it's the details. Perhaps that is because the scale in Japan is so monumental that it is difficult to wrap your arms around it. The temples and their grounds are massive. Tokyo is like 5 or 6 NYCs. And even the cities that I thought were small- like Kyoto or Nara are actually bigger than my hometown of Washington DC. It is hard to fall in love with grandeur, even though the sheer monumentality draws you in. Yet, it was the details that bowled me over. Whether it was in the haunting cemeteries, on walks in ordinary neighborhoods, the cracker displays, or the front "porches" of homes. The smallest area is filled with beauty.
Wooden prayer sticks left graveside
I am amazed that every possible square inch is planted- we saw that speeding by on trains and walking on quiet streets. Flowers, herbs, lichens, all have their place. It almost inspired me to go home and start gardening- but that is where the scale is so important. I think the success of these quiet spaces is possible since the area they are tending is manageable.
I found new beauty in wood- ordinary wood- weathered wood- on floors, on walls, used in temples. The massive logs used to hold up the shrines, the hand carved bowls and cups, the memorial sticks at gravesides. They all took my breathe away.

Construction details under a typical wooden house

Lattice work
Corrugated tin used on many of the houses in Nara

Window in Nara

Typical plantings in Nara

Small shrine in Yanaka in front of someone's house

These wooden placards are found at every shrine no matter how big or small.