Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion, Part 2

Kyoto’s Golden Pavilion, Part 2

The Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji, ranks among Kyoto’s most popular attractions, though many visitors know little about the temple’s history or architecture. On Wednesday I blogged a little about the Golden Pavilion’s history (to read it, click here), so today I thought I’d share a little about the architectural details.

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Ninja Architecture, Part 3: Moving Panels & Secret Lofts

My research trip to the Iga Ninja Museum involved a tour of the “ninja house,” a recreation which features some of the secret panels and hiding places common in medieval shinobi (ninja) homes.   (The “headless woman” is our guide, who asked the little ninja to demonstrate the panel–to his delight, and his pink-ninja sister’s obvious envy.)  These rotating panels added to the shinobi’s mystique, and fueled the legends that said a master ninja could “turn to smoke” or “vanish” at will. The ninjas really did disappear in an instant…but through a rotating panel or trapdoor, not by turning into smoke. (Would have gotten away with it,

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Hidden Architecture in the Ninja’s Home (Part 1)

Ninjas (in Japanese, shinobi) were more than assassins. They were also the spies and undercover agents of medieval Japan.  When working for others, ninjas were masters of infiltration, stealth, and disguise, but shinobi didn’t employ these techniques only in the service of others. Stealth and concealment were a way of life in shinobi villages, and made their way into the design of ninja homes as well. During my trip to the Iga Ninja Museum last June, I had the opportunity to tour a replica ninja house, and to see a demonstration of its unique architectural features. Today, I’m sharing a little about the technique of concealed

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