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January 21 2013

Kyoto bengara red-ocher walls - via A Japan Photo per Day -

Ochaya, Gion, Kyoto

Visiting Kyoto, you will notice that some traditional buildings, especially tea-houses from the geisha district, are painted with a beautiful red-ocher color. This very special shade of red is obtained from a pigment extracted from the soil rich in iron oxide from Bengal, India, hence its Japanese name, bengara. The pigment, besides its great aesthetic role, protects the wood, making it resistant to sunlight and heat.

Today, I want to show you this bengara painted tea-house, located very close to the entrance of the Hanami-koji street from Gion, right across the famous Ichiriki Chaya (which is also painted with a shade of begara).

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