[Ki-Yan Experience.] Strolling Kyoto Art16 October 2016 - Local topics
Kyoto's Four Seasons Blooming, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto
Kyoto Municipal Museum of Art and the Torii gate of Heian Jingu Shrine stand beyond the terrace which is overlooking a canal. As you walk up the stairs through the verdant and tranquil ambience in the Okazaki-area style, and enter the glass doors at the entrance, you are welcomed by a mural of large-flowered peonies that seem to embrace you. Mural designer Hideki Kimura, known as Ki-Yan, said, "The concept is that the flowers in Heian Jingu Shrine's divine garden reach here through the Torii gate. I want to welcome tourists from all over the world with the flowers of Kyoto." He painted the walls and ceilings using gorgeous colors with the motif of Kyoto's flowers throughout the four seasons, such as peonies of spring, Confederate roses of summer, Itogiku chrysanthemums of autumn and camellias of winter. Izumi Nakagawa, the inn's president, said, "Ki-Yan's murals are also very positively admired by overseas guests who are attracted to traditional Japanese culture."
A chance encounter triggered the creation of the murals. Due to the unexpected death of her father, Nakagawa returned to Japan from San Francisco, USA, where she had lived for 18 years, and took over the business in 2009. She said that in those days she received an increasing number of inquiries such as, "Is it also possible to stay at the inn alone if I use a wheelchair?" Therefore, in 2014 she renovated the inn, including installing wheelchair-accessible, barrier-free restrooms and so on, the white walls on the first floor emerged due to the layout preferences. Thinking, "The inn is in Okazaki, where there are many museums. So, why not make the wall artistic?" she commissioned this art because, when passing through Kyoto City, she had come across Ki-Yan's murals and fallen in love with them. In addition to team Ki-Yan, her friends and acquaintances also participated in the art production. The work was completed within the short period of roughly five days.
Nakagawa's biography is quite as eclectic as Ki-Yan's murals. After graduating from Doshisha University, she moved to San Francisco and learned the basics of art and interior design along with students aspiring to art careers from all over the world at Academy of Art University, reputedly one of the largest art universities in the USA. Following her graduation, she gained experience at "Neiman Marcus," one of the United States' most upscale department stores, as a personal shopper, which corresponds to "Gaisho" or out-of-store sales in Japan, for celebrities, including Hollywood actors, and others. She said, "Learning art in the United States made me realize profoundly that Japanese kimono, obi, stencil patterns have had quite a powerful effect on the world's art, including the Arts and Crafts movement, Art Nouveau and so on. I'm sure the artist Ki-Yan's murals continue in that line."
Along with the number of tourists visiting Kyoto from home and abroad continually increasing, the Okazaki area has also begun changing, including the remodeling of ROHM Theatre Kyoto, or the former Kyoto Kaikan, and other projects. Kyoto Traveler's Inn is said to be also planning the production of a new Ki-Yan mural. "Everyday life in Okazaki is surrounded by tradition, nature and art, including gardens and art museums, as well as shrines and temples. We would like to continue changing in the future so that guests can experience daily life in Okazaki," said Nakagawa.
Kyoto Traveler's Inn
91-2 Enshojicho, Okazaki, Sakyo Ward, Kyoto City 606-8344
Kyoto Traveler's Inn website ==> http://www.k-travelersinn.com/
Ki-Yan's mural is drawn in the café Green Box on the first floor. The café is also open to non-hotel guests.(translated by Galileo, Inc.)