Inktober 2019 Japan

During the month of October 2019 I took part in a challenge named Inktober, which let artists hone both their art skills, and in some cases their imagination. There is an official prompt list, but 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.

Below are some of my favourite images painted during Inktober 2020, but I have created a separate page where you can see all of the paintings, which are also posted in chronological order. Another thing I did was to film the process of the paintings. All these 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.
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 gorge is only 3 meters across at its narrowest point, and the cliff sides measure up to 100 meters high.

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, and is on the UNESCO world heritage site for Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto. The structure is called The Niōmon, a Deva Gate, which marks the entrance to the temple complex.

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, both in the form of torii gates, but also as lanterns. Yasaka shrine’s stage is often decorated with lanterns which are lit at night, creating beautiful imagery.

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.

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. The village’s traditional houses with thatched roofs have been preserved, and is located in Shimogō, Fukushima Prefecture. Every year the village hosts a snow festival, which is what I wanted to capture in this illustration.

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 includes lakes, islands and Mount Hokkaidō Koma-ga-take, an active volcano. The park offers various seasonal activities, such as mountain climbing, canoeing, skiing and walking.

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

Gujo Hachiman, in Gifu prefecture, is a small, riverside town known for its pristine waterways. Its streams of fast-running, clean water have been built into little channels, some of which contain koi carps. The town’s fountains, streams and canals are still used for washing rice, vegetables and laundry. Townspeople work together to keep; as a result of their efforts, Gujo’s drinking water is a source of local pride.

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, located in in Fukushima prefecture, is a hexagonal Buddhist pagoda which was built in 1796 and is one of the oldest wooden structures of its kind. The pagoda contains a double helix staircase, 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.

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. The building was featured in “James Bond: You Only Live Twice”, as a Ninja training centre.

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 possibly best know for its torii gate which is appears to be floating in water.