Fusuma Doors and Art Work in Kyoto

By Denis Plamondon
Photos: Sandra D'Sylva & Denis Plamondon

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Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Marvel an Untold Story?

Kyoto Imperial Palace, Golden Marvel - an Untold Story?

Before we enter a temple in Japan, we take our shoes off and we open our eyes and soul all together hoping to grasp a new dimension of the human creativity. We all know about the existence of the Japanese sliding doors, but we are barely able to distinguish between the Fusuma door and the Shoji door.
When you visit old temples in Kyoto,   palaces of the imperial family or any castle of a shogun that is open to the public, the functionality of these two types of door is revealed to you in its ingenuity and its aesthetic as they both play the role of a door and a wall. In this short article, I will focus on the drawings and the paintings of the fusuma. If you want to go further on this topic, please use the links provided along the way. Here, I’m publishing two kinds of photos, and overview of fusuma art work and specific features of a temple, bridge or a detail to indicate the location.
The first places you could find these incredible “chef-d’oeuvres” are the facilities that come under the management of the Imperial Palace Household Agency, such as The Kyoto Imperial Palace, the impressive Shugaku-In Imperial Villa and Katsura Imperial Villa . If you want to visit these locations, bear in mind that you must get a reservation before entering. Click on this link to get the information. There are also beautiful works of art at the Tenryu-Ji (1) (2) in Arashiyama; the gardens and temples of Chishaku-In (2) are worth a detour, and Yamashina temple are surprises you can’t miss. I have not published photos on the beautiful fusuma doors in the Nijo Castle (shogun), the Ryoan-Ji rock garden and the famous Nishi Hongwan-Ji temple, but they shouldn’t be missed either.  (The latter is the headquarters of all Shin Buddhist affiliated temples in Japan and in globally. The Taimensho-Stork Chamber is particularly amazing). Follow the links to Byodo-In (2) in Uji; since no photography is permitted inside the precinct, you will have to see this breathtaking temple with your own eyes. The architecture of here is a true definition of beauty. Uji is famous all over Japan for its tea products.  Why not include a visit to a “macha” factory and taste the velvet flavor of traditional green tea?

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Detail of Kyoto Imperial Palace with Outside painted Fusuma

Detail of Kyoto Imperial Palace with Outer Fusuma

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Detail of Fusuma Doors Kyoto Imperial Palace

Detail of Fusuma Doors Kyoto Imperial Palace

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A Roof from the Kyoto Imperial Palace

A Roof from the Kyoto Imperial Palace

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Bridge in the gardens of Shugaku-In Imperial Villa

Bridge in the gardens of Shugaku-In Imperial Villa

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Inside rooms Shugaku-In Imperial Villa

Inner Rooms of Shugaku-In Imperial Villa

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Wisdon painted on Fusuma Doors in Shugaku-In Imperial Villa

Wisdom Painted on Fusuma Doors in Shugaku-In Imperial Villa

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Detail Fusuma Doors in Shugaku-In Imperial Villa

Details of Fusuma Doors at Shugaku-In Imperial Villa

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Open Shoji on the Katsura Garden Imperial Villa

Open Shoji at Katsura Garden Imperial Villa

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Bridge in the Katsura Imperial Villa

Bridge at Katsura Imperial Villa

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Chishaku-In Kyoto Beautiful painting on Walls and Fusuma

Chishaku-In Kyoto - Beautiful Wall and Fusuma Paintings

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Chishaku-In Kyoto Painting on Fusuma Doors

Chishaku-In Kyoto

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Chishaku-In Kyoto, Admiring a Garden Peacefully

Chishaku-In Kyoto, Admiring a Garden Peacefully

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Drawings on Fusuma Chishaku-In Kyoto

Fusuma Drawings at Chishaku-In Kyoto

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Detail Tenryu-Ji (Heavenly Dragon Temple) Arashiyama, West of Kyoto

Details at Tenryu-Ji (Heavenly Dragon Temple) in Arashiyama, West of Kyoto

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Glass protected Art Tenryu-Ji Arashiyama

Glass-protected Art at Tenryu-Ji Arashiyama

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Inside the Tenryu-Ji facilities in Arashiyama, west of Kyoto

Inside the Tenryu-Ji Temple in Arashiyama, West of Kyoto

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Yamashina Temple East of Kyoto Drawing on Fusuma

Yamashina Temple East of Kyoto - Fusuma Drawings

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View on Garden in Yamashina Temple East Kyoto

View on Garden in Yamashina Temple, East Kyoto

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Painting on Wall Yamashina Temple East Kyoto

Wall Paintings at Yamashina Temple, East Kyoto

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Wooden Bridge In Yamashina Temple East Kyoto

Wooden Bridge at Yamashina Temple, East Kyoto

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A view of Beautiful Byodo-In in Uji near Kyoto World Heritage

A View of Beautiful Byodo-In in Uji, a World Heritage Site Just South of Kyoto

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