We arrived back in Tokyo from Nagano on 14 October. Next day we spent much time at the wonderful, if not well known, Idemitsu Museum, a must in our opinion for any visitors. It was founded in 1966 by Sazo Idemitsu, a wealthy industrialist and collector. His aim was to expand Japan’s collection of art masterpieces for the benefit of future generations. The main feature on this day was an exhibition of calligraphy and ink paintings by the Zen Buddhist monk Sengai (1750-1837), who was at the Shofuku-ji temple in Fukuoka and a devotee of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. He used his talent to unravel Zen doctrines, often using simple ink brushstrokes plus calligraphy (which we un fortunately couldn’t understand). Some pictures showed great flair and sense of humour (such as his “ailments of old age”). In the final room of the museum is a shard collection put together by archaeologists specialising in pottery, taken from many kilns in Japan (and a range of other places in the world). One large room has lovely views over the Imperial Palace and its gardens (which we had visited on an earlier trip).
That evening a typhoon hit the area, suspending the metro lines, causing 17 deaths and 54 missing, and cutting off the airport for a while. We were largely oblivious to it in our hotel, and next day dawned clear. [to be continued].