Schlagwort-Archiv: Japan

Yokohama — Tokyo, 23 August 1893

In the morning I again tried my luck to do some shopping in Yokohama and in fact this time guided by the kind Baron Siebold who was completely familiar with Japan and all its aspects thanks to his stay of many years here and also speaking the Japanese language. Unfortunately my efforts were unsuccessful as I tried in vain to find silk and brocade like I bought in Kyoto. I everywhere received the answer that the cloth would have to be ordered first from Kyoto. In contrast I managed to enlarge the board menagerie with lovely white bantams — a full aviary — and enlarge it with one of the already rare cock with their tails of multiple meters in length. I also sent two very cute bears on board that soon became the darlings of the crew and learned in the shortest time to wait in place. Hopefully they arrive at our home healthy as they are intended to be the grace and live in the castle moat at Konopiste.

In the afternoon I wanted to be back in Tokyo and, to evade the lurking eyes of the police, sent Clam and Pronay directly to the capital where they too were festively received by a crowd of over a thousand people and a corresponding contingent of policemen, while I with Siebold exited at the next to last stop and entered Tokyo in rickshaws. The maneuver succeeded too so that we could spend a few hours fully unrestricted and eat a dinner in a restaurant of the beautiful Ueno park.


  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • ANNO – on 23.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Freund Fritz“.

Nikko — Yokohama, 22 August 1893

As the merciless railway administration had been only willing to provide a special train at no other hour than at 5 o’clock in the morning, we had to get out of bed early to say good-bye to Nikko. At 11 o’clock in the morning we were back at the station of Yokohama which rises in the North-east of the city on land reclaimed from the sea.

Situated like Tokyo in the province of Musashi, it has grown to its current importance out of an unimportant settlement on the West side of the Tokyo bay. Since it had been declared a treaty port in 1859, it thus was opened up for trade with Europe and America. The glory to have breached the system of isolation from foreign trade inaugurated by Ieyasu and enlarged by his nephew Iemitsu belongs to the Americans and especially to Commodore Perry’s expedition in 1854 that ended with the opening of the ports of Shimoda and Hakodate for American trade. Since then Kobe, Osaka, Nagasaki, Hakodate, Niigata and Yokohama have been opened overall as treaty ports and for settlement by foreigners so that the latter settle here in specially designated city quarters and are allowed to travel in the surrounding area of nearly 40 km without special permits.

Instead of Yokohama, by the way, at first Kanagawa, a bit to the North, had been designated as a treaty port but was replaced by Yokohama because of Kanagawa’s location on the Tokaido and thus the thereby always threatening conflicts between the foreigners and the samurai entourage of the traveling daimyos. Yokohama today plays the principal part among the treaty ports as the junction of all steam ship lines that connect Japan to Europe on the one hand and America on the other hand, as a destination for nearly all warships that enter Japan and numerous trading ships and coastal vessels of all kind.

Yokohama, counting 143.000 inhabitants, is quite rightly the point of contact of Japan with the West and the East, the point of entry and departure of trade. This is the reason for the international character of the city which is expressed both externally and in its population.

A quay road built at considerable cost runs alongside the harbor. Custom houses and other mercantile establishments like depots and loading docks serve trade. Nearly 3 km wide extends the foreign settlement in the harbor which has been rebuilt after a fire in 1866 larger and more beautiful, criss-crossed by broad well tended streets and containing residential houses, banks, offices, clubs, hotels and consulates. Numerous foreigners, by the way, only have set up their business location in Yokohama while they have built their residences in a crescent-shaped hill range called Bluff to the West of the city in order to breathe sylvan air and enjoy the beautiful view upon the harbor.

The predominant population are naturally the Japanese but the colony of foreigners, mostly Englishmen and Americans. is large enough to be noticeable in the streets as a leading factor of urban life, so that during a stroll through the city one meets foreigners everywhere, not in the least the sailors landing from the warships who look for relief from the deprivations of long sea voyages.

Even though I had requested to spend my time in Yokohama Incognito and thus to forgo the Japanese entourage, the rickshaw I used to wander through Yokohama and do some shopping was followed immediately by he police prefect, a police official and two reporters which caused understandable commotions in the streets. After other attempts to get rid of this entourage had been in vain, I sought help by using a ruse by going to the Grand Hotel, breakfast there and then leave by the small rear door and take another rickshaw. But the pleasure of the liberty won did not last long. The police soon had been on my tracks and finally arrived at full pace, so that I could only call Sannomiya on the phone. He was soon on the spot and freed me from the undesired entourage. Barely a quarter of an hour later, the procession had again assembled like shadows following my heels. I even believe to have observed that one among the entourage was writing down carefully every object that I bought. Finally I rushed on board not without enjoying the company of a police official following me in a barge.

For the acquisition of those objects I was looking for, Yokohama was not quite an enjoyable place. Even though the number of shops is legion, it was quite difficult to find something matching my tastes which had apparently been developed and refined by the stay in the actual factories of the Japanese art industry, namely in Kyoto. Yokohama’s shops are filled with curiosities in the true sense which is targeted towards the foreigners, especially the Americans who are only seeking to buy some characteristic objects of the country and whose demands have apparently not been quite so beneficial for the local production.

When I offered my opinion to some merchants, they admitted the correctness of the observation but added that it was precisely the mediocre goods if they are only large, colorful even loud and quite baroque that made them bestsellers for America and also for England, while the stylish, discrete and tasteful and thus more valuable objects are little sought.

In the evening I had invited some of the gentlemen of our embassy as well as the Japanese entourage to a dinner on board where songs from home made all guests merry.


  • Location: Yokohama, Japan
  • ANNO – on 22.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Der fliegende Holländer“.

Tokyo — Nikko, 20 August 1893

In front of the small Catholic mission church where I attended mass the pupils of its nuns assembled for me. The nuns provide excellent service for the education of the children but reasonably keep the Japanese costumes, the usual Japanese greetings and other external traditions. The small musumes are all dressed alike and look very cute. The mother superior, Mater Domitilla, a dignified old lady has been staying for a long time in Japan doing her pious and useful job.

At the visit I paid to the archbishop of Tokyo, a kind Frenchman, I learned from him and a missionary also present many interesting details about the country and its people, but unfortunately also that the propagation of the Christian religion was not showing the desired progress in Japan as the Japanese did not possess much religious sense and are mostly very apathetic in terms of matters of believing.

Until now the number of festivities was so compact that I had not yet found the opportunity to visit the shops of Tokyo. This was to be made up today, the first free day. During my stroll I saw a good part of the city whose enormous extent only now became clear to me but the first impression did not change that the city is behind the other visited Japanese cities as far as originality is concerned. Everywhere pieces of Europe pushed out in a not very stylistic and inharmonious way. The streets one of which measures more than 7 km are too long and have a tiring effect.

Tokyo`s shops, namely the Curio Shops, offer a great variety of objects and thus a rich selection. One believes that all original treasures have already been discovered and bought and still finds new forms and totally unknown objects once more.

In bronze, lacquer, porcelain, wood and paper all the holy animals appeared and especially frequently the dragon that is predominant in Japanese myth, symbolism and art. We also frequently encountered the country`s coat of arms too, namely the schematic flower of the Chrysanthemum, Kiku, and the coast of arms of the house of the Mikado that is formed by the leaves and flowers of Paulownia imperialis, Kiri.

In one of the shops I noticed a wavelike moment of the floor, the walls trembled and the water in the aquariums splashed upwards high into the sky — apparently I lived through one of those earthquakes that strike Tokyo so often and I thought that the underground forces did not want me to leave before they had shown their terrible powers but only at a moderate level thus causing interest but not having a devastating effect. In a distant part of the city one of my gentlemen also noticed the movement of the earth.

Unfortunately I did not have time to buy silk of which it was said that Tokyo was especially rich, as I wanted to pay a visit to our ambassador Baron Biegeleben in the Tokyo Hotel before my departure. It is a first class hotel that is owned by a Japanese and managed by Japanese but still was worthy to be placed in a line with any hotel in England or Switzerland.

The short time that I still had left in Tokyo I used to visit a Japanese theater that is laid out somewhat like our great singing halls. Opposite the entrance is the great stage. The space for the audience is divided into boxes, floor and galleries whereas the first two are divided by half-a-meter high boards in square fields each of which offers space for four to six persons. Banks and chairs don`t exist, everyone is sitting on the floor. The occupants of the boxes, whole families or groups install themselves comfortably in view of the length of the performances —  they last from noon to 10 o’clock in the evening — and bring food and drink.

The theater offers room for ca. 3000 people, and all of them smoke, without any distinction among the sexes. Everywhere there are fireboxes with glowing coals and the matches are only thrown on the ground. The orders of the fire police did not seem to be very demanding which should be the case given that the buildings are made only out of wood, straw and paper. Instead of almond milk, lemonade or similar refreshments that are common at home, here they sell rice, fruit and sake. The continuous rustle of the fans, crying children and the beating of the pipes creates ongoing and varied noise that has quite a negative impact on the art enjoyment.

The quite spacious state is very primitive in matters of changing the scene as it only involves the turning of a disc that has various decorations. The orchestra consisting of only a few musicians sits at the height of the first floor next to the stage in a cage-like space out of which now and then unmelodious sounds reach our ears. To the right and left of the floor and along the full length of it are two board runways called flower paths that lead to the stage. These are used for the entrance and exit of armed groups but also serve for the movements of the actors who act and speak from these runways. During the long breaks, the elegant part of the audience moves to the surrounding tea houses and only return when the play continues to the theater.

The themes of the pieces played in the Japanese theater are mostly taken from the national history which offers inexhaustible themes in the continuous wars among the daimyos. Heated fights, murder, killings and harakiri, that has now gone out of practice, are the climax of most dramatic development. But the presentation of popular life and moral plays are not missing if one may call them thus. Is a piece too long or too tragic in its conclusion, then arbitrary cuts are made and individual acts from other plays inserted. Only men perform as actors but are very good at playing the female parts in voice, posture, gestures and dress. It is not necessary to highlight that we did not understand much about the plot of the piece that was played. It was a piece of the category of a jealousy drama and resulted in an intense fall-out of the lovers according to the gestures and the looks of the actors. Apparently the action was very sad as the audience was visibly moved. Namely the female part of the audience was drenched in tears and at times loud sobbing was heard. But soon we had to tear ourselves away from the play in order to drive to the distant station of Uyeno where the Imperial princes and the ministers had assembled to say good-bye to me.

The railway forms an arc in a Northern direction crossing well tended land until Utsunomiya, where it turns towards the Northwest to reach the for Japanese holy grounds of Nikko. From the shores of the Tone-gawa to just up to Nikko there was an alley of Japanese cedars that was in a class of its own and made a great impression in the darkness of the night, covered in shadows. A pious man who was to poor to pay for a bronze lantern at the sanctuaries of Nikko is said to have planted the alley. Where we today quickly rolled on railtracks, under the Tokugawa shoguns the Reiheishi moved on the road named after him, the envoy of the Mikado who had to present offerings in the mausoleum of Ieyasu at Nikko.

At 11 o’clock in the night we arrived in Nikko where despite the advanced hour there were curious people in great numbers who watched the nearly endless line of djinn rickshaws that winded liked a snake from the station to the Nikko hotel more than 2 km away which is situated in the gully outside of the temple city, close to a temple grove and provided a fitting place to rest for us.


  • Location: Nikko, Japan
  • ANNO – on 20.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing a ballet and Viennese waltzes.

Tokyo, 19 August 1893

Before I drove to the parade set for today on the great exercise ground in the West of the city, I was photographed with my Japanese entourage in various poses.

In a gala carriage accompanied by a cavalry escort I covered a quite long distance to the parade ground where I was expected by the Emperor in a richly decorated tent with gold brocade and first the usual cigarettes were smoked. The troops, 7530 men, were not formed into units but a square whose one side was kept open for the Imperial tent and the diplomatic corps, the court servants and the off-duty officers.

The Emperor and I mounted the horses held ready and rode at a walk, followed by the princes, the war minister, the military attaches and multiple higher officers, to the reception flank and then along the front. The infantry stood in battalion masses with developed companies, the cavalry, artillery and the train in developed line. The higher commanders reported the status of the formed troops and then rode along with the entourage.

As at Kumamoto, I had the opportunity here too of being astonished about the performance achieved by the Japanese army administration in a short time. This is in part due to the fruitful studies that the government had had made abroad by military agents who in their quiet, modest and not as impertinent manner as that of some other power know to recognize the positive and learn it. With a rare skill the army administration has managed to adapt foreign practices to the local situation without thoughtless imitation and thus knew to create something truly genuine. It is characteristic that one can recognize without difficulties from the posture of the officers educated abroad where they have been educated as a tautly marching officer must have been the product of German training while others revealed a lighter touch and thus of being a pupil of France.

Riding alongside the front was followed by a march that was performed exceedingly well but made me suspicious about a mistake in the exercise regulations as in my view the order for turning the front was given too late so that those in charge of the wings were involuntarily forced in advance which resulted in an ugly crescent form of the developed companies. The marching, alternating to the sounds of a Japanese march and the Austrian Radetzky march, was executed freely and filling the space. Remarkable is the excellent material which the higher infantry officers are riding even if they are not quite as skilled in the art of riding. Artillery and cavalry — one squadron led by a very small prince on a very tall horse — marched past in a short trot. The batteries were very well aligned, the cavalry however became a bit disordered which can be accounted for by the large number of stallions among the troopers`horses. When the horse of the Emperor became disturbed during the parade, the chief equerry jumped out of the saddle, grabbed a handful of earth and rubbed it into the mouth and nostrils of the horse — a equine calming method that was totally new to me.

As soon as the last battalion of the train had marched past, we dismounted. The Emperor took his leave and I drove in the gala carriage back to our palace where I, after a short rest, set out to attend breakfast at Prince Komatsu Akihito’s.

The princes and their families among the the very pretty daughter in law of the prince apart there were about 15 guests present. My host asked vividly about the health of my father with whom he had dined occasionally during his stay in Vienna and overall, spoke many words about our Imperial city. The whole family was very kind to me so that the breakfast took place in a very casual joyous mood.

In the afternoon I was surprised by Sannomiya in the palace`s garden with a production of the pupils of the Imperial fencing school which offered me an insight into the way of the ancient Japanese art of fencing to my satisfaction. The demonstration showed fights between sword against sword, sword against two swords, lance against sword, finally lance against lance. The swords and lances had been cut out of strong bamboo. Wire head masks, black and red lacquered plastrons as well as greaves protected the fencers. Arms and knees remained uncovered and showed many wounds from heavy hits. Allowed hits were to the head, body, lower arm and neck. The fencers performed quite well and one noticed that they were schooled and exercised in it. Feints and parades seemed unknown as the hits were evaded only by moving the body to the side, forward and backward. What is not missing is the inciting shouts common to al Oriental peoples. An entertaining intermezzo occurred when my Japanese lifeguard put on the mask and started bravely fencing. After the end of each attack whose points were noted by a judge, the fencers greeted each other by kneeling down and bowing their upper body towards the earth.

This production was followed by fishing in the pond of the palace garden. The pond is connected with the sea. The result was however mediocre as only a single fish was caught. As I heard,  the Empress is said to fish with a fishing rod at times but in such cases, the catch would not be splendid too, given today`s results.

In the mean time the hour of the gala dinner had arrived that had been set at 4 o`clock at Their Majesties. The dinner took place according to the same protocol as during the breakfast. Fortunately the temperature in the great festive hall was not as elevated as the day before thanks to the advanced hour of the afternoon. As guests attended the same personalities as those at the breakfast. Emperor Mutsu Hito proposed a toast, translated by the interpreter, then our anthem was played and I replied with a toast to the health of Their Majesties as well as the Imperial house. Naturally then the Japanese anthem was heard. After the dinner I said good-bye to the Empress, the princes and princesses. The Emperor paid me a visit in the Hama palace, in contrast to his customs, and spoke at this occasion about his satisfaction about the favorable impressions I had received in Japan. As a souvenir he gave me a model of a repeating rifle, the invention of a Japanese, that was soon to be introduced in the Japanese army.

The last meal of the day, the supper in our pleasure castle, was flavored with the display of a gorgeous garden illumination and a firework. The garden, by far the greatest ornament of the Hama palaces, already due to its view upon the sea with its myriad of sailing boats, was very favorable put on display by the bright light of the countless lampions that were reflected multiple times in the pond and by the fire of the rockets.

During the supper a fast modeller performed who could form only with his fingers incredibly quickly any imaginable object out of sticky multi-colored rice that looked like wax. First we had the artist model all kinds of animals, then a Japanese woman and finally a gentleman out of the audience — tasks that were perfectly completed.


  • Location: Tokyo, Japan
  • ANNO – on 19.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Die goldene Märchenwelt“.

Tokyo, 18 August 1893

A day of great joy for every loyal subject — the birthday of our much beloved most gracious Emperor and Lord! The heart of everyone was beating higher today, as even though we are separated by many thousand miles from our dear home, we still enjoyed the good fortune to spend this day of festivity on home ground. The first time in my life I was outside Austria on the birthday of His Majesty — all the more moved I thought about our all venerated ruler and with me all subject of His Majesty united on „Elisabeth“ whose deeply felt sentiment of  devotion to the beloved lord which is moving every son of the fatherland wherever he may be and results in the intense wish of „God preserve, God protect Our Emperor, our country!“

In the morning at 8 o’clock we hoisted the grand flag gala and on the grand topmast the standard while firing 21 shots, which was answered by all Japanese, English, American and German warships in the harbor with a salute to the standard. The festive mass, in which our naval chaplain gave a warm speech appropriate for the day`s festivities, was attended, besides me and my entourage, also by our appointed minister with the embassy personel, the consul general, ship staff and the whole crew. When the Te Deum was sung, another 21 shots were fired.

After the holy mass a reception of all present as well as the commanders of the foreign warships was given. They presented their felicitations about the birthday of Our Majesty. The landing of the dinghies of the commanders proved quite difficult as a very tough wind made the sea turbulent even in the harbor.

Just after the noon signal had been given, cannon thunder was heard again with which the warships and land batteries greeted our day of festivity.

At 2 o`clock in the afternoon there should have taken place a festive dinner on the iron deck that had been transformed into a garden with flags, flowers and garlands to which I had invited not only the ship staff but also the gentlemen of the embassy. Unfortunately just before the dinner an intense stormy rainstorm poured down that partially destroyed the decoration within minutes and inundated the set table and the iron deck. Overall there was bad weather during the day caused by a strong typhoon passing in the North of Yokohama that had caused quite some damage. When I wanted to send my most devoted telegraphic greetings to His Majesty, I was informed that the telegraph line had been destroyed by the typhoon. While the sea in the harbor was quite turbulent, the storm raged with full might on the open sea, piling up mountains of waves.

Finally the dinner could take place after the table had been set up as well as possible in the narrow but storm-safe rooms of the officer carré. With a one hour delay the dinner started. When I proposed a toast for His Majesty Our Emperor and three roaring Hurrahs were reverberating through the rooms of the ship and the guns joined in to the sounds of the anthem, there was nobody among us who was not deeply moved. We spent two comfortable hours together until it was time to go to Tokyo where I was to attend a dinner hosted by our ambassador and afterwards a soiree.

The wind`s strength had grown to a 6 and 7 and an intense rainstorm was pouring down when we set out from „Elisabeth“. Our barge was the last to still land, then the traffic in the harbor was closed down, so that the officers of the other ships could not arrive to the soiree later in the evening. Completely wet, as the water entered also into the barge, we landed at the mole and an hour later we were in Tokyo.

The dinner taking place in the large rooms of a club was attended, besides members of the court, also by foreign diplomats and high dignitaries. Prince Arisugawa gave a speech after the champaign had been tasted in honor of Our Majesty the Emperor in Japanese and offered a toast which war translated for us. In reply, I offered a toast to the health of the Mikado which was translated into Japanese by Coudenhove.

Right after the dinner followed a grand soiree to which the guests assembled on the first floor of the club building. On this occasion I was introduced to numerous personalities among the agents and attaches. Understandably I concentrated my interest on the Korean embassy party whose members had come in a very original national costume. It consisted of a kind of priest dress in colorful brocade and a headdress reminding me of one of our Tyrolean hats, made out of fine white horse hair, that the Koreans did not remove from their heads.

Despite the August heat a dance was organized during the feast to which the music invited the dancers. I however was unable to join this entertainment, being dressed in full gala dress and decorated with all grand crosses, and made do with a honor quadrille in which the princesses and some ladies of the diplomatic circle joined in. Especially worth a view was Sannomiya who with a tricornered hat in hand was constantly in motion and performed some kind of solo minuet  by his incessant bowing to all sides. The dance called for supper and thus the feast continued until late into the night.


  • Location: Yokohama, Japan
  • ANNO – on 18.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Das goldene Kreuz“.

Miyanoshita, 16 August 1893

This day was completely dedicated to rest, to the dolce far niente, as there were no temples to visit nor was the weather suitable for excursions. The morning I filled with shopping where I bought countless quite useless and valueless objects of various kind, feeding the goldfishes and watching the creation of a Japanese hairdo of a Japanese lady who despite wearing a negligee was not inconvenienced by our presence. Then we all put on kimonos and had ourselves photographed in the local dress which caused hilarity many American ladies especially our chief doctor who is blessed with a bit heavier body.

Especially well did one photograph turn out that showed me in the midst of my entourage who were all kneeling in the Japanese manner and covering the ground with their heads. As we were already enjoying the local customs, I undertook the quite painful procedure of getting a tattoo that required in a four hour session no fewer than 52.000 pinpricks and resulted in a resplendent dragon on my left arm — a joke I will probably come to regret due to its inextinguishable marks. A stroll and an excellent dinner completed this no very useful but quiet day of rest.


  • Location: Miyanoshita, Japan
  • ANNO – on 16.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Königin von Saba“.

Kyoto, 14 August 1893

As I had expressed the vivid desire to see the much praised Lake Biwa, we moved with the Tokaido railway there. After a short drive through the inevitable rice paddies when — we had just passed through a tunnel and made a sharp turn to the North-east — the lovely lake lay in front of us shined upon by the rays of the morning sun. At Baba Station Baba the railway car was exchanged for a court carriage that took us to the city of Otsu at the lake shore, the capital of the prefecture of Shiga and the province of Omi, which was already part of the landscape of Tosando, that is the East mountain road. This city has become notorious quite to its own dislike for the wicked assassination attempt in 1891 that was made in one of the streets we were passing through, on the Tsesarevich. This circumstance accounted for the fact that here there were even more police guide lines and instructions to follow. The place was teaming with policemen everywhere.

Lake Biwa is said to owe its name to its form that resembles the instrument named „biwa“. Numerous myths are connected to this lake that plays an important role in Japanese tales and is said to owe its existence like Fuji mountain to an earthquake. With its blueish glittering surface the lake is lovely embedded between green hills and groves. Small villages enclose the shores as the pleasure-seeking Japanese knew how to appreciate the scenic magic of this jewel. An idyll lies in front of us and in the spectator the desire grows to stay and dream here for some time. If one discounts the style of the houses, one might think to be transferred to the shore of Lake Starnberg. Numerous steamers and sailing boats drive to and fro, exchanging the traffic between the different points on the lake shore.

We embarked on a small steamboat that split the blue waves puffing and groaning — it perhaps had never been driven so fast —  but the enjoyment of the trip was unfortunately lessened by incessant use of the steam whistle which seemed to be a bad quality of our vehicle or more precisely that of our commander who by the way was only following the ruling custom: Every encounter, every greeting, every signal is accompanied by the shrill whistle.

At Karasaki, not quite 6 km West of Otsu, at the lake shore we stopped.  The point of attraction here is the famous pine that is said to have already been planted before the birth of Christ. In any case, it dates back to ancient times and justly has become over centuries if not millennia a venerated holy tree. The height of the trunk however is only 27 m, as the tree has been pruned probably in its youth, an early victim of the ideas of Japanese gardening. The circumference of the trunk however is more than 22 m and the diameter of the ends of the branches extends to about 300 m. The branches extend partly far like a fan and are turned down so that one can in some spots only pass under them in a crouching posture, partly they are wound in snake-like coils supported by formal wooden scaffolding and stone bases. Below the branches of the impressive giant and dignified tree is hidden a complete Shinto temple. Where there are holes in the trunk they have been carefully glued closed. Also at the top there is a small roof to protect the tree against the rain as it is said to be very sensitive to it. Still despite all this care, the tree seems to be a bit ill surmised by its look and this year too, caterpillars have inflicted quite some damage on the old man.

Hiroshige - The evening rain at Karasaki (Source: Wikimedia commons)

Hiroshige – The evening rain at Karasaki (Source: Wikimedia commons)

Near the giant pine we witnessed the local fishing: In the lake are namely installed labyrinth-like paths made out of bamboo latices in conjunction with fish traps so that the entering fish find themselves finally confined to a relatively small space of a few meters in diameter out of which there is no escape. In front of our eyes such a space was emptied which resulted in a catch of multiple hundred kilograms of fish, among them especially carp of respectable sizes. Apparently the fishing is quite profitable here as the lake like all Japanese inland waters is very rich in fish. The steamboats driven without taking the slightest regard over the bamboo lattices extending out of the water so that one thinks that they would be crushed and torn. Far from it  — the elastic material bends below the fore and body of the ships and rises again unharmed behind the aft of the steamer.

Back in Otsu I climbed the numerous steps of a stone stairs to the heights covered with conifers and crowned by a Buddha sanctuary called Mii-dera, which is said to have been built already in the 7th century but has been adapted numerous times. From here one has a gorgeous panoramic view on the lake and the landscape surrounding it. Less charming were the sight of the public buildings constructed in European style that self-confidently if not pretentiously stand out in their brazen white painted exteriors from the surrounding areas.

With great appreciation one has to mention a masterwork of modern technology, namely the canal that connects by the Kamo-gawa canal, Kamo-gawa and Jodo-gawa to Lake Biwa and the Japanese inland sea. The highly remarkable installation built from 1885 to 1890 consists of a 11 km long shipping canal that enters into Kamo-gawa to the West of Kyoto and a  8 km long secondary canal that serves irrigation purposes and supplies water power for the various industrial establishments.

The difficulties of this structure were to route the canal through the hard rock of the ridge between the lake and Kamo-gawa and then cover the level difference of 44 m. The former obstacle was removed by building three tunnels, the latter by introducing a system of skewed plains on which the vehicles are moved up and down with strong steel cables powered by the hydraulic energy of the secondary canal. The design of this installation was created by Tanabe Sakuro, a student of Tokyo’s school of engineering who has executed the plans and drafts — by the way — with his left hand. While I enjoyed the sight and had myself informed about the canal, a gorgeous daylight firework was ignited so that around us colorful balloons, ribbons and bands  were flying through the air.

Above a newly built clean barracks occupied by an infantry regiment, an officers‘ casino has been situated on a height. Its location and surrounding makes this the probably most advantageous casino that I have known. It is built out of wood and equipped in the local manner. On the walls hang photographs showing war scenes from the Satsuma uprising as well as dedication tablets with memorial inscriptions and signatures of princely personalities, generals and other dignitaries. I had some of the inscriptions translated to me, some of which apparently are connected to certain events and relations or can not truly be understood by a third party, while others have a roguish air such as for instance the words of Prince Arisugawa: „We will entertain the peasant girls.“ A dinner we ate here tasted very well thanks to the agreeable coolness supplied by mighty blocks of ice and the charming landscape.

The departure from Otsu took place at half past 2 o’clock. At Maibara the train turned East towards Gifu. A place that will be commemorated forever in Japan’s history as today one of its railway stations is Sekigahara, where Ieyasu in 1600 at the head of 75.000 men won a decisive victory over the 130.000 men army of the league against him and thus brought the shogunate into the Tokugawa family. After a three hour journey we arrived in Gifu, not without me enjoying a little rest, as I was overwhelmed by the heat on the journey and tired,  to which purpose I had dressed as a Japanese wearing only my Kimono which caused much hilarity to the cabin attendants.

At the station I was greeted by captain Yamaguchi upon the order of the Emperor. He was the director of the Imperial hunting office called Shurio Kyoku and a chamberlain, both clad in neat green uniforms. Then followed the customary festive entrance into the city. As the people had formed huge crowds, the policemen formed an advance in djinn rickshaws to create space for us. The curious harmless bystanders were hit and run down in a rather rough manner without however any swear words by the victims whose calm found my admiration. The Japanese remain polite in all situations. Notable were the great number of attractive faces that the female part of the population contributed to the embellishment of the entrance.

Gifu, the capital of the prefecture of the same name and the province of Mino, has been completely rebuilt as an earthquake in 1891 and the resulting fire had fully destroyed it. It therefore makes a new, very clean and tidy impression.

A hill in the East of the city the great Nobunaga had in his time selected as a suitable spot for a fortified castle. The province of Mino is known for its fertility and the industry of its people that reveals itself in the production of silk, silk weaving, crepe, pottery and the paper industry.  Mino paper is especially popular for windows. Lampions, sun and rain umbrellas as well as paper napkins are desired articles. In a club house all the mentioned goods were offered for sale and also various honor presents for me by the city  were put on display.

The purpose of our visit to Gifu was to see fishing by the trained cormorants. Thus we went soon in djinn rickshaws to the fishing location about one hour of journey outside the city near Nagara-gawa. The journey followed the main road of Gifu, crossed a pretty bridge over the Nagara and continued on the right shore upstream past charming small houses surrounded by tiny gardens as well as bamboo bushes. The lampions for the evening activity were already visible and increased the expectations of a splendid illumination. At the place where we were asked to embark a covered and richly decorated and illuminated boat was already waiting. In it an excellent dinner was served when we had reached the middle of the river as the fishing would only start at dusk. The Japanese court cookinng merits special appreciation as they did everything but let us die from hunger. All the time there was something readily prepared for us, a constant  „Tischlein deck‘ dich“ (Grimm’s fairy tale „The wishing table“).

Both river shores were densely packed with people who had come to watch the spectacle and numerous boats filled with Gifu’s dignitaries and multiple reporters some of which were always accompanying us were dancing on the waves of the river. It is here 30 to 40 m wide, with a strong current, and forms rapids in the upper part where granite blocks constrain its path similar to those at Katsura-gawa. It reveals its character as a mountain river especially by the extended inundated areas that points to devastating activities of the river in spring.

When it had turned completely dark our vehicle was pushed a few hundred meters upstream until at a rocket signal 12 boats of 6 m length each emerged out of the turn of the river. A mighty chip of pinewood fire was burning in a iron basket at the fore of each ship in order to attract fish. There too stood a fisherman who held eight cormorants on strings ready while on both sides a fisherman each held two cormorants on two strings and a fourth man steered the boat, I was told that the cormorant is captured young and only tamed so far that he is tame to the hand that is eat out of the hand and allows to be touched. As soon as this achieved, it is used to catch fish and namely in the manner that a sling around its neck prevents its flight when it is sent into the water to catch fish and store them in its craw. The bird does this eagerly out of his instinct. To prevent the fish from going from the craw to the stomach the string is tightly wound around the neck. If the cormorant has caught a number of fish and stored in its craw, the bird is lifted back on board and deprived of its catch by the owner applying pressure to its neck.

Thus it happened here too. When the shine of the flames had attracted a sufficient number of fishes, the fleet started moving. At the same time the strings holding the cormorant were eased and the prey-seeking birds started diving without interruption and incited by our beats on the boat’s walls or our shouts in their murderous hunt.

A night time view of a strange charm developed in front of us. The boats drifting towards us, the up and down diving cormorants in front of the boats of which soon one or another was lifted into the boat in order to get its catch and release it back into the water. The exciting shouts  and noises of the fishermen and the crackle of the fire illuminating the darkness of the night over a wide area. The numerous vehicles mingling on the river and the crowds pushing on the shore in the red shine of the flames.

When the boats arrived near us, taking our vehicle into the middle and drifting further downstream we could closely observe the cormorants at their work. The fires illuminated the water to the ground of the river bed. Terrified schools of fish hurried around always pursued by the cormorants. There was especially vivid action under water if two cormorants started to chase the same fish so that a true competition began until one of the birds emerged victorious. We too started to get excited and took sides in the fishing so that we encouraged the cormorants by shouting what actually was not necessary at all as the brave animals caught in the hunting fever rushed back head first into the water having barely been lifted on board. Captain Yamaguchi was very happy about our interest which was not lessened when I standing up and due to the pitch of the boat poured a cup of black coffee into the lap of this brave man.

Recognition is due to the skill of the fishermen in performing their job in steering their boats in the strong current and how they manage the cormorants so that they can dive in all directions without messing up the long strings. With a one hour time period the 144 cormorants had caught 3000 fishes some of which were so large that the diving birds were unable to get them without a struggle. Under our own eyes one cormorant had no fewer than 16 fishes in his craw — a number that stands out of all proportion to the size of the bird.

The caught fish were all salmonidae that are all treasured and a favorite dish of the Mikado on whose table they apparently were never missing. At the dinner in the boat I had the opportunity to taste fishes of this species. We found them tasty but not as exquisite as our trout. The fishing grounds where we had fished is owned by the Emperor while other places are owned by the city or private persons. For the nearly fantastic wealth of this river and probably other waters in fish speaks the circumstance that this fishing method we witnessed today is used during five months every night with the exception of clear moon nights and the average daily catch is 5000 to 10.000 pieces of fish that are immediately put on ice and then sent into all parts of the country. Despite this robbery — the cormorant is one of the most ruthless predators that catches everything that comes near it without distinction — the fish stock always replenishes itself again. This can only be due to the very favorable circumstances for the fish fauna in Japan as there are neither close seasons nor other measures to improve the fishing. One clear explanation is that the pollution of the fishing waters by industrial establishments has not yet happened or not in the same amount as at home.

Both river shores were packed with humans near the bridge. The people even ran into the water to be able to see us, the water reaching up to their chests. The crowd there was buzzing and humming like a bee hive, soon there and soon here, clear laughter was heard and vivid shouts of approval reached our ears — all these sounds and noises combined with the gushing and roaring of the river to form a strange harmony.

The city of lampions seemed to want to surpass its fame. They said good-bye with an illumination that surpassed all expectations. Alongside the river shore as well as on the bridge thousands of red lampions had been lighted. Above the roads audacious arches were formed from which hung garlands of lampions gleaming in light red. The bizarre forms of the temple roofs as well as the fronts of the houses fiery lines made out of white lampions were formed. In the streets everywhere there were illuminated banners. Red and white glittering and gleaming out of all directions made the quarter up to the station appear to be bathed in light forming a stark contrast to the dark night sky.

Led by the mayor and followed by a huge crowd, the long caravan of djinn rickshaw moved to the station where the mayor of the city thanked me for visiting Gifu. After I had replied with a few words, the train took us on the Tokaido railway in a South-eastern direction to Nagoya. Here I was greeted by division general Katsura in fluent German that he had learned during his stay of many years in Vienna which he holds most dear in his memory.

During the entrance into the city a firework was ignited, this time a night time one that has to be counted among the most beautiful that I have seen. In spite of the advanced hour the inhabitants of Nagoya had assembled in huge crowds in front of the hotel where we would stay the night and applauded vividly when I accidentally appeared on the veranda as if I were a famous opera diva. I then bowed to thank them.


  • Location: Nagoya, Japan
  • ANNO – on 14.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the ballet „Excelsior“.

Kyoto, 13 August 1893

To celebrate the Sunday we attended the holy mass in the French missionary church and devoted the day, our last in Kyoto, nearly completely to shopping. As the shop owners seemed to know that there was no chance of me returning, they were lowering their demands if they saw us leave without having achieved a deal.

The atmosphere was clean, the weather gorgeous — so I felt inspired by Buddhism towards the evening and leaning towards spending it in calm contemplation and meditate to the sunset. Looking for a suitable spot, I selected the Yaami Hotel. The choice was a fine one as the establishment was situated on a dominant hill and its veranda offered a wide panorama. The sunset left nothing to be desired too. For a few hours I settled down for a quiet rest and my eyes enjoyed themselves on the panorama. Below us lay the earnest temple groves with their huge Japanese cedars, the extended city out of whose sea of houses the roofs of the temples rise like mighty ships in a calm sea. In the distance gleam the softly undulating mountain ranges in the light of the setting sun. I sat, thought and dreamed about Kyoto’s glorious past, from the periods of splendor of ancient Japan, from the huge battles that this island people had to heroically endure through the centuries — until my eye was caught seeing the smoking factory stacks and this bothersome sight reminded me that in Japan too the era of European civilization had arrived whose main quality is its sobriety.

We no longer looked for the ideal but at the factory stacks. Japan has already learnt to look to us. With no intention to deny the importance of these critical buildings and the respect they are due, I still feel how inside of me, if such an audacious young modern smokestack stands next to an ancient temple that has seen the centuries come and go, the opposition to such a profanation becomes active and an egoistic sentiment grows which does not want to be disturbed in enjoying the beautiful and dignified by the presence of the mere useful. Very many Japanese will justly look proudly upon all the European discoveries that his homeland has mastered in such a short time, but when the ancient founders of sects and temples would rise out of their graves and see how their Japan has changed and tell what they have seen to the old Buddha in Nara, I believe that Daibutsu would shake his head so hard that he would lose it again.


  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • ANNO – on 13.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Walküre“.

Kyoto, 12 August 1893

Through the still empty streets the path went in a Western direction out of the city to reach the Katsura falls or, more precisely, the rapids of the Katsura river which we intended to tackle with boats.

Some minutes outside the city we made a stop at Ginkakuji, a country house built by Ashikaga Yoshimasa in 1479, after he had stepped down from the office of shogun. There is now a garden in which the Mikado also tends to walk when he is visiting Kyoto. This garden is strictly following the rules of Japanese gardening so that one meets here too dwarfish trees, cut bushes, grotesque rock groups, winding paths, small ponds and streams criss-crossing the garden.

Whereas elsewhere everything is done to support the free natural development and large trees with wide-ranging branches are desired, Japanese gardening seeks quality in smallness and is intent to contain nature in the smallest space possible, to restrict growth and force it into strange forms. Thus I have seen spruces and pines that were, though I was assured that the trees were fifty and even eighty years old, only half a meter high. It can not be denied that Japanese gardening expresses their great love for nature but it seems to me as if this love fails to understand the size of nature and that the son of Japan would not want to rise up to it but only wants to reduce it to his own size. In order to bring nature closer to the humans, they aim to create everything in a cute, small, dwarfish way and impose the mark of the garden artist’s mood. Everything we see in Japanese gardens is „cute“ — hardly another word fits to well to its qualities. A strangely formed heap of white sand in the garden of the country house, once the location for the aesthetic swoons and feasts of Yoshimasa, is called „silver sand platform“; the turning small water wheel in the site is called „source in which the moon takes a bath“, a stone in a small pond is the „rock of observation“ etc.

In fifty djinn rickshaws each drawn by three runners we drove across a plain covered at first by villages where the just harvested tea leaves had been laid out to dry on cloths. Numerous transport vehicles drawn by beautiful black bulls or with stallion ponies advanced towards us, whirling up dust which inconvenienced us not to a small degree. Alongside the road there are plenty of small tea houses that offer food to the tired wanderer and also now and then a refreshing drink of water to the runners whose endurance in this heat and dust is doubly astonishing. Our path, a very well maintained mountain road, led us to the heights in the Northwest of Kyoto through a gorge-like valley and up in serpentine roads. Here we enjoyed the charms of splendid vegetation as on both sides of the romantic path rose Japanese cedars, thujas, pines, bamboo  and all kinds of trees covering the steep ledges. Finally after having passed through a very long tunnel  we reached the peak and then descended into the valley of Hiroma-ji in which the Katsura-gawa, that is here called Hosu-gawa, and arrived an hour later on a bumpy road Yumamoto and thus the rapids of the Katsura river.

Three boats awaited us there, really strange vehicles, 6 m long and 2 m wide made out of thin boards only held together by wooden studs. It did not give an appearance of being very resistant and already while boarding the boards were buckling at each step at an alarming level. The crew consisted of four strong guys, one of which sat at the rudder while two rowed and the fourth with a long bamboo pole was tasked to keep the vehicle away from rocks at the shore and in the river bed.

As soon as we were assigned to the boats, the awesome journey started and after just a few moments we had already reached the first rapid which we crossed swift as an arrow. Depending on the slop, the boats glide calmly or rushed swiftly down the valley through the spray of the turbulent water at a dizzying speed. The course could not be in a straight direction as suddenly when the boats are at high speed running straight, a granite block stands in their way and one already thinks that the slim vehicle would crash but one wiggle of the rudder, a slight touch with the bamboo pole and the vehicle shoots past the dangerous spot a hand’s width away. Often the vehicle enters into thunderous waves and whirls and pitches mightily, the bottom boards move up and down as if under the influence of an earthquake. At times one feels how the vehicle glides over stones and rocks — but the elastic material of the boat resists in the same manner both the water and the rocks.

The trip which in a few places makes one think of being in one of our wild streams at home is exciting to the highest degree but undeniably also dangerous so that it is only due to the skill and the force of the boatmen that accidents rarely happen.

To increase the charms that we could admire at higher or lower speed or just get a glimpse of it when the boat flies past. Here the green waves of the river sparkle calmly downstream, there they rush whooshing, roaring, whizzing and thundering above and against the high rising blocking rocks, Now the valley gets wider, lovelier, then it closes again and we fly through the romantic narrow passages. At each turn of the river, a new image develops in our sights, soon a steep green ledge, soon woods covering the slopes, soon ragged rocks. Now and then a side valley opens in which a hidden mill peeks out. Now and then a curious tea house looks at us out of the light green space.

One and a half hours whiled away in a most agreeable manner until the valley widened and the Katsura river that is called Oi-gawa there runs in a very calm current and soon our fleet landed at Arashiyama. Here the inhabitants of Kyoto flock to preferentially in the spring when the cherry trees are in full bloom and enjoy the charms of the scenery of this lovely place on Earth surrounded by green hills and served by a couple of tea houses. Utile cum dulci! We too went there and did the same as the brave court cooks had produced a tasteful meal in one of these tea houses.

In a court carriage that followed the djinn rickshaws at their speed, I returned from the successful excursion to Kyoto and used the afternoon to go shopping and plunder the stores.

In the evening artists put on a show in the palace by performing a wild daring dance with fantastic masks and strange costumes as if they had been stung by a tarantula until they were out of breath and took their leave. I too quickly retired then and went to my quarter.


  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • ANNO – on 12.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Freund Fritz“.

Nara, 11 August 1893

Today we started with a visit to the Imperial treasury which strangely is not located in Tokyo but here instead. The Mikado is said to usually keep the key to it in his own hands. What one might usually consider a treasure room, namely a fire and theft resistant room in which valuables, especially jewels and gems, are kept, nothing like this can be found here. We just see a wooden barn-like building standing on poles, that totally reminds me of the „hay barns“ in the wet meadows of Pinzgau and Pongau. Within this building whose purpose is more characteristic of a museum are objects of sometimes important historic and artistic value in closets. Here there are masks, brocade and silk dresses that were once used for ceremonies, furthermore swords, arrows, bows and gorgeous saddlery, then objects of daily life such as mirrors, spoons, full cutlery sets, finally jewels made out of nephrite, bringer of luck, and besides many other things, incredibly valuable Kakemonos.

Not far from the treasury is the greatest peculiarity of Nara, that is the colossal statue of Amitabha (Nara-no-daibutsu, that is the great Buddha) in the Todai-ji, zu sehen. This temple was built by Shomu-Tenno, the 46th Mikado, and completed in 750 but has a newer different form now after repeated destructions by fire. The exterior relations of the building we could not fully see as they were just making repairs for which they had erected scaffolds at the facade. The temple hall into which the visitor enters without having to remove the shoes contains the colossal statue of Buddha that surprises by its giant dimensions, an imposing proof of the Japanese skill in terms of metallurgy. The statue is the largest Buddha representation in the country at a height of 162 m and shows Buddha sitting on an open lotus flower that has been produced out of 500 t of copper-rich bronze at a width of about 2 cm. On the leaves one can still recognize the signs of engraved figures of gods. Behind the head that seems to be darker colored than the rest rises a glittering gilded wooden halo whose rays branch out far in all directions and on which six statues of Buddhist saints are balancing. To the right of the Buddha statue is one of a holy being, Kokuso Bosatsu, to the left one of the almighty Kwan-on, both 5,5 m high and nevertheless tiny in comparison to the huge Buddha. The latter had been strongly gilded too at the beginning but this decoration has been lost during its turbulent existence.

Lke the temple the Daibutsu itself owes its existence to Shomu-Tenno, who had the creation of the statue under his personal direction only undertaken after an oracle of the consulted sun goddess Amaterasu and a dream about this had calmed him that the other gods would not be jealous about the planned honoring of Buddha. In the year 749 the work was completed which is more remarkable for its height than its artistic value. About  a bit more than 100 years later the poor Buddha lost its head but received a new one a short time afterwards. A fire in 1180 melted the head and it was replaced again 15 years later only to perish once more in the fire of 1567. A private person then helped Buddha to replace his head again so that the god has since been in complete command of his more than 1100 year old body. The more than 300 year old head looks out into the world with a happy smile without having lost his good mood that he had been exposed to the full rigors of the weather for more than one and a half centuries after the last fire.

A thick dust layer covered the image which we pointed out to the senior priest who replied that this was due to the pilgrims that carried in the dust but at least declared that the god would be better kept clean in the future. This would improve all of the temple space in my view as the room was really completely deprived of its religious character.

In the temple there is a formal exhibition of the interesting objects that are presented in closets and constitute, in part, the treasure. All kinds of wooden images of the gods, valuable reliquaries, music instruments, weapons and armor, masks, ancient manuscripts and maps in scrolls etc. can be seen in a colorful variety. Merchants from Nara had assembled here in the safe presumption that I would be willing to buy various objects, so that under Buddha’s eyes a vivid trade soon developed that was continued on the exterior of the temple at the nearby shops that contained many artistic objects.

We did not miss to pay a visit to the huge bell that had been cast in 732 out of 36 t of metal that hangs in a massive tower and is a part of Todai-ji. The mammoth that is similar to the one in the Chion temple in Kyoto was beat in our honor with the bobbin and is distinguished by the purity of the deep clanging sound.

In the holy grove that has made Nara in part famous rises in the shadow of ancient Japanese cedars and cypresses one temple after the next with extended associated buildings. A pleasing silence reigns in the area of the dignified tree giants but that is not due to the earnestness of the matching style in the grove but instead it exudes an air of friendliness and hilarity.  As everywhere the light colors of the temples pierces the leaves. The temples are the opposite of dark houses of prayer. The rare understanding of the building artists for the correct location of their works is proved by the charming views upon the lovely landscape.

Shedding many drops of sweat we climbed countless steps of a long stone star to a temple situated at the highest level called Ni-gwatsu-do or temple of the second month that seems to stick to the hill on which it had been built as it seems to rise out on its poles from the hill. Built already in 751, the current building dates only back 200 years and contains an image of wonder of the goddess Kwan-on, which is said to have exuded warmth like a living body when it was found. A confusing number of metal votive lanterns hang in front of the temple and produces a strange attraction to the building.

Now we wandered in the avenues of the varied small votive temples that border the path under high dark trees and arrived at the Shinto sanctuary in red and white color called San-gwatsu-do or temple of the third month whose priests always clad in white greeted us. Currently quite desolate, this temple is remarkable by a row of original small side temples dedicated to Inari. As a quality that deserves to be mentioned is that in this holy grove priests of various cults act peacefully side by side sot that they imitate the very good understanding in which numerous gods live together in harmony.

We quickly used a break during the visit of the temple to buy sword guards whose fabrications once was very famous and had produced many master pieces of invaluable quality.

Thousands of votive pillars encase the path that the djinn rickshaws took to the other temples. The pillars resemble one another almost completely Due to their age they are mostly covered in moss and hold the name of the donor on the base and contain space in the upper part under a stone roof for the placement of a lantern. Often these marks of faith are grouped in four to five rows one behind the other and only rarely alternate with a beautiful bronze figure one of which especially caught my eye as it showed a water-spewing deer at natural size and in a very elegantly formed lines.

At a Shinto sanctuary called Kasuga-no-mija we stopped. This building rises in noble proportions and produces a very vivid effect by its gleaming red bizarrely formed metal votive lanterns whose numbers nobody has yet counted and that are in a captivating contrast to the calm green of the majestic Japanese cedars. Impressive is the rich temple treasure assembled over centuries as this Kami hall reaches back to the distant past as it is said to have been built already in 767. It is dedicated to the ancestor of the house of Fujiwara, the Shinto god Ama-no-kojane and his wife as well as two mythical creatures.

At the end of an avenue bordered by more than 3000 stone and bronze lanterns lies the Waka temple dedicated to the son of Ama-no-kojane in which an ancient dance called Kagura was performed in our honor by three priests with flutes and drums, supported by a matron who played a Koto while lying down, who produced the orchestral music. The youthful female dancers who had been especially educated for these ritual performances wore wide red pants, white overcoats and gaze-like coats. The black hair hung freely down the back , only loosely held together by a golden thread, a crest of artificial flowers decorated the front, the face was defaced by thick paint in white, the lips were glittering in a flashy red. The dance consisted of  rhythmic steps forwards and backwards. The girls accompanied this graceful swaying soon with tree twigs soon by small bells or fans but still made an impression of mechanically moving figures.

During the dinner in the clubhouse a highly skilled juggler put on a performance which ended with some clown sketches enacted in conjunction with some companions in which the Japanese version of the „dumb Auguste“ was not missing.

In the afternoon we started our return trip to Kyoto. In Osaka the nearly one hour journey from the station at Minatoku to that of Umeda offered plenty of opportunities for the huge crowds that were intent of seeing the Western strangers.

At 8 o’clock in the evening we returned to Kyoto and found our long path to our journey blocked by a densely packed crowd and festively illuminated by lampions as during our first arrival in the city.


  • Location: Kyoto, Japan
  • ANNO – on 11.08.1893 in Austria’s newspapers.
  • The k.u.k. Hof-Burgtheater is closed for summer until 15 September. The k.u.k. Hof-Operntheater is performing the opera „Die Hugenotten“.