Major Attractions and Events
An American artist paints in a traditional Japanese style in his Yanaka studio
Yanaka is located in the Taito district of eastern Tokyo.
Old townscape with buildings from the Edo, Meiji, and Taisho era.
Allan has his own workshop and studio in Yanaka. He converted it from an old car maintenance workshop thirteen years ago.
He first encountered Nihonga painting thirty years ago.
He has lived in the Yanaka area for twenty-eight years ever since, painting there as a Nihonga artist.
The landscape provides a perfect setting for paintings
We reach the compounds of the Gyokurinji temple.
This temple was founded in 1591.
It is a portable ink and brush writing set – a yatate in Japanese. Allan makes a point of taking it with him wherever he goes. This way, whenever he comes across a particularly fine scene, he can sketch it right away.
“This is Gyokurinji, one of my favorite places in the neighborhood. It’s like standing in the middle of the provinces, the mountains in the back."
Vivid colors are the specialty of Japanese paintings
A store specialized in tools for Japanese paintings.
Inside, the shop is crammed full with flasks of Nihonga pigments. It currently stocks one thousand six hundred colors.
Nihonga painters use powdered rock and other pigments to produce countless colors according to the mineral types and grain sizes.
Keiko Sugita,Nihonga art shop owner:
"Many people are motivated to paint in the Nihonga style because they like the rock pigments, they like the colors.”
Locals gathering for a daily chat
We find the traditional, two-storied house at the corner of a junction. Kayaba Kohi is quite an old building, erected in 1916.
Aside from being a place to relax in the middle of town, it is also a hub for exchanging information and sometimes a tourist information center as well.
Popular ginger drinks warm up the body and soul. Ginger is one of Yanaka's specialties.
To reach Yanaka, it takes thirty-six minutes by express train from Narita Airport to Ueno and a further ten minute or so walk from there.