Samurai healing~To heart’s allegiance bearing alms~swords hushed for peace

Imari Platter_17th Century

When visitors come to Japan they usually focus their itineraries on two places, Tokyo and Kyoto. This makes good sense. Tokyo offers unlimited options for a traveler, with more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other city in the world, and Kyoto is the cultural soul of Japan, the home of no fewer than 17 UNESCO world heritage sites.

In day trips from Tokyo, tourists include Nikko, a UNESCO world heritage site whose Toshogu Shrine is dedicated to the first shogun of the Tokugawa period. I’ve often chosen Nikko for moderate-paced hiking in Nikko National Park. Or they journey to Kamakura, sometimes referred to as the Kyoto of southeast Japan, with several important Zen temples and shrines.

Often overlooked by overseas visitors is Atami, just 30-40 minutes from Tokyo on a Hikari or Kodama Shinkansen “bullet train.” There you can bask in the sun of a nice beach, soak in one of the city’s many natural hot springs, and marvel at the Japanese arts and crafts collected in the Museum of Atami (MOA). These include 3 national treasures and 65 pieces designated as important cultural properties.

newborn plum blossoms~a cascade of spring’s rejoice~plumage of the soul

National Treasure, MOA_Red and White Plum Blossoms 17th C

The golden tea house~microcosmic ritual~of life’s quintessence

Tea House in Museum of Atami
Noh Theater in Museum of Atami
MOA: A summer recital of Mozart

MOA was founded by Okada Mokichi, an art student who had to give up his dream because of an eye ailment. He became a successful businessman and patron of the arts, dedicating his life to the model of art as esthetic and spiritual base. It is said that Okada once sold his house to acquire a single Japanese work of art.

mandarin orange~let me nestle with you~in the tree of life

MOA_Nabeshima Plate 17th Century

Within the tea jar~convent whispers in the night~of coming rebirth

MOA: Tea Jar_Wisteria design 17th C

The museum was opened in 1982. To preserve the natural forest and mountainside, engineers installed a dazzling series of escalators to transport visitors from the museum entrance way to the main building above, and garden overlooking the sea, which includes Henry Moore’s sculpture, “King and Queen.”

MOA: Henry Moore's "King and Queen"

Take a tour inside a Japanese hot springs resort and spa below , and on your next trip to Japan, consider the seaside jewel of Atami.

Entranceway to the Ryokan
A stroll through the garden at the Ryokan
Green tea and a Japanese sweet to refresh on arrival
Japanese flower arrangement to delight
One of several natural hot springs in which to relax
A multi-course Japanese "Kaiseki" dinner to indulge

Time for some shut eye
Japanese breakfast

All the best,

Warren J. Devalier

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