Gareth Naylor

Atmospheric paintings of Japan

Watercolor painting of the interior of a traditional Japanese restaurant.

Watercolor painting of the interior of a traditional Japanese building

Watercolor painting of the interior of a traditional Japanese restaurant.
“Beautiful traditional Japan”

This painting is of a small restaurant in a region called Kusu.

This region is a very rural and rugged part of Oita prefecture.

And I visited this restaurant with my family.

Our main purpose, though, was to see Shiramizu falls.

And next to this restaurant is a river that leads to the falls.

Alongside the river is a footpath.

It is quite a long walk along the footpath to the falls.

But it is a very pleasant and scenic walk.

And the waterfall is very high and dramatic.

After our walk to the falls and back we stopped at this small restaurant to have lunch.

I can’t remember what we ate but I’ll never forget this building.

As you can see from the painting, it’s a traditional Japanese building.

I found the interior of this building to be both beautiful and comfortable.

And the atmosphere was also very pleasant.

During lunch I took a few photos and from them later at home I painted the picture above.

There are so many things that make this interior a good subject for a painting.

There is the beauty of the wood and the wooden structure.

And the reflections within the wooden floor are beautiful.

There is the lovely design of the big sliding doors that lead to a covered verandah with a beautiful view of the surrounding natural scenery.

And then, almost like a model, there is the relaxed figure of the old man sitting on the verandah and taking in nature while having a smoke. 

Finally, there is the elegant figure of the woman sitting on the floor and eating lunch.

What a wonderful scene for a painting!

In this traditional Japanese restaurant there are no chairs.

People sit on cushions.

They are called “zabuton” in Japanese.

I personally like sitting on the floor as I find it to be far more comfortable and relaxing than sitting in a chair.

I’ve been to this place several times and I also once had a disastrous painting holiday here.

I’ll talk about that misadventure in a later blog.

That’s all,



I have to mention going to another restaurant in this area.

Although I had a simple meal at this restaurant, I think it was spaghetti bolognese with salad, it was one of the tastiest meals I’ve ever had. 

The salad in particular was so fresh and tasty.

I’m sure the salad came from the garden by the restaurant and that the salad vegetables had been picked that very day or the day before. 

It was run by a very old couple and I’ll never forget how the old man moved so slowly as he went around serving people and collecting dishes. 

And we had to wait quite a while. 

It was definitely worth the wait but I do remember wishing that he would speed up a bit while at the same time appreciating that he couldn’t. 

But I have no doubt that this old couple had lived to such a ripe old age by eating all these fresh vegetables from their own garden.

I just wish that I’d remembered the name of the place as I would have told everybody. 

And yet, the irony is that they probably don’t want more people coming – not unless they have a young person working for them who can take on the extra work.