Jann Williams

Tasmanian Jann Williams finds a room with a view – in a Kyoto Starbucks

Writing in Kyoto

Jann Williams, May 24th, 2016

As I sit writing I can see the south-western turret and grounds of Nijo Castle through my apartment balcony door. The research for my book ‘Elemental Japan’ has been rich and rewarding in the two weeks I have been based in Kyoto. For half of that time I have been further afield using one of my JR Rail Passes. I took the opportunity to visit Miyajima and climb Mt Misen, to take a tour of the Temples and Shrines around Murou and Sakarai, and practice taiko with friends near Nagahama on Lake Biwa.

Back in Kyoto I have visited Toji Temple and Kamigamo Shrine, been to the Miho Museum for the day, seen the Zen exhibition before it closed, and walked the local streets to get a sense of daily life in the city. To share some of these experiences along the way I have created a blog called, not unexpectedly, Elemental Japan (see elementaljapan.com). Good fortune has smiled on me in many ways, including meeting and re-meeting some remarkable people during my time in Japan so far. I look forward to making more connections before I head home to Australia in the third week of July. That is why I am sitting here writing in Kyoto – to experience the elemental life and soul of this remarkable city, and beyond from time to time.

Nijo Castle


My Kyoto apartment provides a window to the elements – to behold water, mountains, sky, wind, earth and trees as I sit and write is a real pleasure. Nijo Castle, and the joggers who run around its perimeter, add the human element. All are interconnected and part of the story of elemental Japan.


For Jann’s fascinating blog on aspects of elements worldwide, see Fire Up Water Down.