Archive for March, 2011

Spiritual kyoto

Something makes me want to go back again and again to kyoto. Perhaps it is the beauty of the shrines, maybe it is the lure of all that is old Edo, maybe it is the magical stillness of it’s zen temples, I am still trying to figure out why I take the time to visit this beautiful city again and again.
My favorite temple is Ginkakuji, also known as the silver temple. It is set on a small hill and has a lovely view of the city. What is more exciting though is the walk that runs just outside the temple, also called the philosophers walk, because in the old days, poets and philosophers ruminated about life as they walked there. Particularly beautiful in the sakura season, the philosophers walk is definitely a special experience.

Kiyomizudera or the water temple is another Buddhist  gem in kyoto.”kiyomizu” means clear water in Japanese and the temple has water coming in from 3 mountain streams which are said to confer wisdom , health and longevity to the drinker.

The picture shows you a view from the temple on an autumn day, a very cold one in kyoto!

Kiyomizudera’s pagoda and gate are particularly impressive, and in the height of autumn there is an unparalleled beauty that can be captured with even a basic camera. A panoramic view is what would be best.

The temple complex had several shrines and the more popular one is dedicated to the goddess of love and is called the Jishu shrine.

The beautiful pagoda at the entrance.

Heian Jingu is another spectacular shrine. You cannot miss Heian Jingu as you get close to it’s rather giant tori(or gate) bright orange in color. The shrine itself is also orange and has a peaceful stillness about it as the case with most shinto shrines. If you are lucky, you may see a bride and groom posing for photos or a geisha coming by to seek blessings, but you are more likely to see a geisha in “Gion” kyoto’s  now surviving geisha district.

So many shrines so little time… more on shrines later!

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