Saturday, June 30, 2007

Kyoto Summary

So.... I just updated a LOT of posts! To keep it all straight, this is what I saw in Kyoto:
  • Kiyomizudera
  • Heian Jingu
  • Sanjusan Gendo
  • Gosho (imperial palace) I didn't go in, and it was rainy, so no pictures!
  • Kinkakuji
  • Shisendou
  • Nanzenji
  • Nijou Jou (castle)
  • Nijou Jinya (the inn where Daimyo would stay when visiting the castle, had trap doors etc., no pictures allowed)
  • Gion
  • Fushimi Inari

Shisendou Garden

One of my favorite sights in Kyoto! It is north from Kyoto station, at the base of the Higashiyama hills. It is soto-zen buddhism.

I really liked the temple (or whatever you call it). Very quiet and peaceful. And beautiful views from the tatami rooms!

Heian Jingu Garden

Typical of the Meiji period, this garden is spectacular. I really enjoyed it, hadn't realized it would be such a good investment of 500yen! It is right inside the Heian Jingu complex.

LEFT: they had cool stepping stones (and you know I love stepping stones) in the lilly pond!

By the lilly pond!

LEFT: The sign says something like the first train car in Japan... ?

BELOW: a spectacular bridge/pagoda... something I had only seen in books!!!

A quiet pathway around the garden.

Heian Jingu 平安神官

This is a really cool Shinto Shrine in the middle of Kyoto, close to the Kyoto Kaikan Bijutsukan Mae bus stop.

There are several buildings that look pretty much like the rest of them...

LEFT: the turret-like things on the roof

BELOW: the grass circle thing that you walk through... I see this alot... but don't know what it means.

Nanzneji: grounds and gates

I didn't actually go in the temple (seen enough of them already!), but the grounds around the temple were beautiful! Lots of nature, which reminded me of home. Oh how I missed the smell of trees!

BELOW: a large wooden gate leading up to the temple.

Nanzenji: Hojo Hall

Also in Nanzenji, this is the Hojo Hall(or 大ほじょ), which is the "large living quaters ofr a master priest". It was moved from the Imperial Palace, and was originally built in 1585. Apparently it is shinden-zukuri style architecture, and is a National Treasure. (info from a pamphlet they gave me)

LEFT and BELOW: the mossy gardens... and the cutely peculiar display of each variety.

Part of the house... with a really neat deck!

LEFT and BELOW: the nice sliding doors (fusuma) between the outer hallway and the deck. I like them a lot, it'd be cool to see them in western architecture!

LEFT: here you see the view from a tatami room out the doors into the garden. Beautiful!

BELOW: the preist's dinning room... the lighting was gorgeously green reflecting from the garden!

Nanzenji Brick Arches

Also in the same area of Nanzenji, these are brick arches... probably for a railroad a long time ago? I can only guess...

Nanzenji: Hojo Garden

Nanzenji has lots to do... this is the Hojo Garden. It is a famous zen garden (says the pamphlet) and is supposedly character istic of gardesn in Edo period 1600s.

I met and talked to a nice japanese couple wearing kimono, and we swapped taking pictures!

This particular garden is right outside a nice temple filled with tatami mats, but I was not allowed to take photos facing the shrine.

Nijo Castle二条城

This castle is really awesome!! I've been to maybe 3 castles in Japan, but they always gut out the insides and make it into a museum... but not at Nijo Jo! I was really excited to see the tatami rooms, and walk on the "nightingale floors" that were constructed such that they make a high pitch bird call of sorts when you walk on the floor. The castle was huge, but I think mostly only one story, which sort of surprised me. The main rooms are surrounded by a porch/walkway which opens out to the garden when you open the thin doors. Most rooms had cabinets/doors where bodyguards would hide.

Sorry I wasn't allowed to take pictures inside, but you can see it from the outside!

The stone walls are quite impressive, huge stones that are arranged seemingly perfectly... I don't know how one would go about creating such a wall!!!

LEFT: a castle is not complete without a moat.... and a way to cross!

The garden was beautiful too!

I paid a few hundred yen to sit in the teahouse (from LEFT), drink matcha (special green tea made b dissolving powder in water) and eat a Japanese sweet.
It was gorgeous... I love how the room really opens up to the garden on several sides, very comfortable and still nature-y.