Inktober 2019 Japan all images

During the month of October a lot of artists to hone their inking skills and partake in a drawing challenge named Inktober. There is even an official prompt list for the month, but anyone are able to use their own prompts, or even stray from the traditional medium and choose a medium they’d like to get better at.

This year, I chose to make my own prompt list, which revolved around places and scenery of Japan, a place where I am dreaming of going. My research into the country, and watching the YouTube videos about the places to go has been a driving force of this month.

The images are posted in the order they were drawn.

I actually also filmed the process of these paintings. All the videos can be found on my Patreon, and a majority of them are also being uploaded to my YouTube account, though some of the videos are only available on Patreon for my backers.

Media: Ink.
Ink painting of Itsukushima shrine painted in bright purples, blue and red.

Itsukushima shrine

Itsukushima shrine is located in Hiroshima prefecture, and is a boat trip from Hiroshima city itself. This Shinto shrine is probably best know for its torii gate which is appears to be floating in water.

Another version of Itsukushima shrine, this time painted with muted purples, red and black, with much more whitespace.

Itsukushima shrine - image 2

I decided to have another pass at this theme. Mostly because I wasn’t certain which style I wanted to go for just yet. This image is much more airy than the previous image, as it uses light ink washes, rather than saturated colours. As I was unable to choose between them I ended up counting both as part of my Inktober images.

A painting with a bridge with water being expelled from its highest part, painted with blue, grey and green ink washes.

Tsujunkyo Bridge

While we call it a bridge Tsujunkyu bridge is actually Japan’s largest aqueduct bridge, which is located in Kumamoto prefecture. The aqueduct used to bring water to the rice fields further up the mountain, and it will occasionally release water from the bridge in order to remove sand and silt build-up.

An ink painting of Takachiho Gorge during autumn.

Takachiho Gorge

Takachiho Gorge is a narrow chasm cut through the rock by the Gokase River in Miyazaki prefecture. The cliff sides measure up to 100 meters high, and the gorge itself is only 3 meters across at its narrowest point.

Himeji Castle in spring, painted with pinks, black and shades of grey.

Himeji Castle

Himeji Castle in Hyōgo prefecture is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was also featured in “James Bond: You Only Live Twice”, where it was depicted as a Ninja training centre.

Hotoke-ga-ura rock formation, painted with greys, blues and greens.

Hotoke-ga-ura rock formation

The Hotoke-ga-ura is a series of rock formations located on the sea cliffs Shimokita Peninsula in the Aomori prefecture. The rock formation go on for almost 2 kilometers along the coast, and the site was made National Natural Monument in 1941.

A painting of a hexagonal temple, Aizu Sazaedo Temple to be exact, painted in browns and greens, with lots of white space to account for the snow, as it's a winter scene.

Aizu Sazaedo Temple

Aizu Sazaedo Temple in Fukushima prefecture is a hexagonal Buddhist pagoda contains a double helix staircase. The temple was built in 1796, and is one of the oldest wooden structures of its kind. The stair case, which is based on the designs by Leonardo Da Vinci for Château de Chambord, allow visitors to follow one path up and down without encountering anyone going the opposite direction.

A row of red torii gates leading through a slight bend, painted with red, black and accents of green.

Fushimi Inari Shrine

One of the best known Shinto shrines in the world must be Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. The shrine is famous for its rows of red torii gates, known as Senbon Torii. Each of the torii gates which line the hiking trail were donated by people and businesses, and their names and date of the donation are carved on the back of each gate.

A painting of a bright red bridge briging a river, in the background a waterfall coming down from a tall mountain, all framed with autumn clad trees.

Meiji no Mori Minō Quasi-National Park

This park is located on Mount Minō in Ōsaka prefecture, which is located about 30 minutes away from Osaka city. This image also features the Minō Waterfall, which is the park’s main attraction.

The red Deva gate of Kiyomizu-dera temple stands out against the snow, drawn in red and black inks.

Kiyomizu-dera temple

This Buddhist temple is one of Japan’s most celebrated temples and was founded in 778. The temple is on the UNESCO world heritage site for Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. Pictured is the The Niōmon, a Deva Gate, which marks the entrance to the temple complex.

Painting of the view of the shared outside bath of Tsuro no yu Onsen in autumn, painted in greens, browns, orange and yellows.

Tsuru no yu Onsen

Tsuru no yu Onsen in Akita prefecture, which is one of eight hot-spring baths that belong to Nyutou Onsenkyo which is located near the foot of Nyutou san. An onsen is a bath house by a hot spring, the water in this one is opaque because of the mineral rich water.

A five story illuminated pagoda standing in the middle of a dark forest, painted in shades of grey.

Dewa Sanzan

Translated as “The three mountains of Dewa”, referring to the three sacred mountains of the ancient province Dewa, modern day Yamagata Prefecture. The three mountains are Mount Haguro, Mount Gassan and Mount Yudono, are holy to the Shinto religion and popular pilgrimage sites. There’s a shrine on, or near, the peak of each mountain, pictured is a pagoda near the base of Mount Haguro, which is in the middle of a forest.

View of Mount Fuij from a nearby lake, painted in hues of pink, purple and grey.

Mount Fuji

Mount Fuji, is a well known land mark of Japan, and is actually a volcano, which last erupted in the early 1700s. While it lies 100 kilometres south-west is Tokyo, it can be seen from the city on a clear day.

The dance hall of Yasaka shrine filled with lit lanterns at night, painted with black and yellow inks.

Yasaka shrine

Yaksaka Shrine in Kyoto is one of the most popular shrines of the city. Like many Shinto shrines, it takes donations, in the form of torii gates, but also as lanterns. The shrine’s stage is decorated with lanterns with the names of businesses and people who have donated money, and at night they are lit up, creating beautiful imagery.

An ink painting of Suizenji garden, which features a lake and many perfectly pruned trees and bushes.

Suizenji garden

Suizenji garden in Kumamoto prefecture. The garden is also a miniature version of the Tokaido and its 53 post stations/towns, a road which connected Edo and Kyoto.

Another painting of Suizenji garden, this time of the mound which represent Mount Fuji.

Suizenji garden - image 2

The garden also features a miniature miniature Mount Fuji, though obviously not as an actual volcano.

A view of the Motonosumi Inari Shrine's torii gates winding down towards the sea, painted in red, blues and greens.

Motonosumi Inari Shrine

In Yamaguchi prefecture we find Motonosumi Inari Shrine. It is actually a newer Shinto shrine, and was built in 1955. The shrine has 123 vermillion torii gates, which leads to a cliff edge overlooking the Sea of Japan.

A Japanese garden, with a bridge crossing a water, painted with the spring months in mind, with pum blossoms in the foreground. Painted in hues of pink, green, brown and grey.

Kairaku-en Garden

Kairaku-en Garden in Mito, Ibaraki prefecture, is one of Japan’s top 3 gardens. While Japan is well known for Sakura (cherry blossoms), this garden is more know for Ume (plum blossoms), as it hosts The Mito Ume festival each spring.

An eerie image with a stone or concrete torii gate in the middle of a forest, with stairs leading up through the mountains, painted in hues of green, grey and brown.

Taki Shrine

Taki Shrine in Gifu prefecture and it’s torii gate and path which is covered in moss. I had no idea this place existed until I saw this awesome video by Tokyo Lens, and I knew i needed to add this place to my promp list for Inktober. I really loved the eerie atmosphere, which I hope I captured.

The main building of Rinnō-Ji temple, painted in bright reds, green, with gold accents.

Rinnō-Ji temple

This Buddhist temple was built in the 8th century, and is located in Nikko, Tochigi prefecture. A decade long renovation of the temple’s main building, Sanbutsudo, was completed in 2019.‬

A painting of Geibikei Gorge during autumn, trees are clad in orange and yellow, and on the water itself is a boat with tourists.

Geibikei Gorge

In the south of Iwate prefecture we find Geibikei Gorge. The gorge is formed by Satetsu River and is 2 km long, surrounded by cliffs over 50 meters tall. It’s a popular sightseeing spot, where you can take a 90 minute boat trip to take in the scenery.

A bridge spanning part of the the lake, with Mount Hokkaidō Koma-ga-take in the background, painted in blues, greens and greys.

Ōnuma Quazi-National Park

Located on the Oshima peninsula in south west Hokkaidō, we find Ōnuma Quazi-National Park. The landscape consists of an active volcano, Mount Hokkaidō Koma-ga-take, lakes and islands. The park offers various seasonal activities, such as mountain climbing, canoeing, skiing and walking.

A view of the ruins of the Atomic Bomb Dome at night, with the building partially lit up, painted in blues, greys and yellows.

Atomic Bomb Dome

In Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park we find the Atomic Bomb Dome, which used to be the Hiroshima Prefectural Products Exhibition Hall. The A-Bomb went off almost directly over the building, and is the only structure left standing near the bomb’s epicentre. In 1996 the building as designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

A view from the canal of Kurashiki, with the store buildings on one side, and willow tress on the other, in the middle of the canal there's a boat with tourists. Painted in grey, yellow and greens.


In Okayama prefecture, not far from Okayama city, we find Kurashiki, a historic city. Kurashiki has a preserved canal area that dates back to the Edo Period (1603-1867), when the city served as an important rice distribution center.

A yellow little building on a little peninsula, the lake is otherwise surrounded by trees, painted with greens, yellows and browns.


Oyaku-en, a medicinal herb garden in Aizu-Wakamatsu, Fukushima prefecture. The garden was established in the 1380s, and many of the herbs were cultivated from 1670, when also private citizens were encouraged to grow herbs in the garden. The garden features several buildings, including the Rakujutei, a tea ceremony cottage, pictured in this painting.

Buildings line a narrow passage which also features a stream with koi carps and willow trees, painted in hues of red, green and brown.

Gujo Hachiman

In Gifu prefecture we find Gujo Hachiman, a small, riverside town known for its pristine waterways. The town has streams of clean, fast-running water which have been built into little channels, some of which with koi carps. The fountains, streams and canals are still used for washing rice, vegetables and laundry. Townspeople cooperate to keep t he canals clean and the water fresh; as a result of their efforts, Gujo’s drinking water is a source of local pride.

Lanterns light up a tiny path leading to one of the temple buildings, the trees are also illuminated, painted in yellows, reds, blue and black.

Entsūin Temple gardens

During the autumn the Entsūin Temple gardens, in Matsushima, Miyagi prefecture, hosts the Matsushima fall light up festival, which is held during peak fall colour season, where the the temple gardens are lit up, highlighting the beauty of the autumn leaves.‬ It is regarded as one of the most beautiful evening illuminations in Tohoku.

Kenroku-en garden in winter, painted in black and grey inks.

Kenroku-en garden

Located in Kanazawa, Ishikawa prefecture, Kenroku-en garden is one of Japan’s three most beautiful gardens. The garden is massive, covering over 11 hectares, it has an artificial pond, and several houses are dotted around the garden.

An ink pen drawing, using cross hatching techniques, to portray Ichijo Falls.

Ichijo Falls

In the upper reaches of Ichijodani River in Fukui City, Fukui Prefecture, we find the waterfall Ichijo Falls. This is where the famous sword master Sasaki Kojiro mastered his secret sword technique, known as Tsubame Gaeshi. It’s a popular spot for tourists who can witness the large mass of water crashing down the 12 meter high rock face. There is a statue of Sasaki Kojiro at the entrance to the waterfall and there are also some walking paths in the area.

An ink painting of the main building of Iwaya-ji temple, also showing the ladder and the platform in the cliff, where pilgrims pray.

Iwaya-ji temple

Iwaya-ji temple, in Ehime prefecture, is the 45th temple on the Shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage. The temple is situated in the mountains, partially carved into the rock face and is considered one of the more difficult temples to reach. Beside the main hall, climb the wooden ladder up to the platform in the indentation in the cliff where pilgrims ascend to pray.

A painting of three sika deer grazing under the trees clad in yellow and orange leaves of autumn.

Nara Park

Nara Park, in Nara, is about 502 hectares with over 1200 wild sika deer roaming freely. In 2019 it was reported that several deer in the park died after consuming plastic.

Houses covered with snow line the street, some of which have large snow lanterns built in front of them, painted in hues blue, purple, brown and yellow.


Ōuchi-juku was a post town along the Aizu-Nishi Kaido trade route, which connected Aizu with Nikko during the Edo Period. It is now located in the town of Shimogō Town in Fukushima Prefecture. The village is lined with old, traditional houses with thatched roofs, and every year it hosts a snow festival.

Rocks and greenery surround a brilliant blue pond which has a lot of steam emanating from it, painted in greys, blues and greens.


We find the hot spring Jigoku, in Beppu, Ōita prefecture. The name of this hot spring translates to “Sea Hell”. The blue water may resemble the sea, but the it’s temperature is around 98 degrees Celsius.