Painting of a steep flight of steps going up to a Japanese shrine

Watercolor painting of a steep flight of steps going up to a Japanese shrine
“Visiting the shrine with grandfather”

I think this place is in or near Wasada.

Wasada is a region on the outskirts of Oita city.

In this region, the urban landscape starts to disappear and farmhouses and fields begin to appear.

I found this place by chance during one of my cycling adventures.

This steep flight of steps was a good subject for a painting as it is not too high and it has that interesting bend in the middle. 

This is not always the case.

On several occasions in the Japanese countryside I have seen similar steep flights of steps going up a hill side. 

But the ones I can remember were often completely straight and furthermore they were very long as they went up very high hills. 

Although they were interesting to look at I don’t think they would have made for a good painting because of the sheer scale.

And I couldn’t help thinking that it would have been exhausting to climb up them.

I read that in Kumamoto, the prefecture next to Oita, which is where I live, there is one shrine that has a flight of 3333 stone steps and the distance is just over 2 kilometers. 

It is the longest flight of steps to a shrine in Japan. 

It takes about 90 minutes to climb to the top.

Anyway, at the beginning of the flights of steps there is a distinctive stone gate, called Torii in Japanese, that tells you this is the entrance to a Shinto shrine.

This gate also marks the passage from the mundane world to the sacred.

I added the figures from my imagination. 

I thought it would be a nice image to show a boy and his grandfather visiting the shrine together. 

I’m quite happy with how I painted these figures.

I am not so happy though with the trees in the background at the top of the hill.

They are a bit faint and need to be a bit stronger. 

And perhaps the foliage could be simplified a little more because it looks a little scrappy.

But overall I think this is an interesting and good painting.

That’s all,