Field trip to Kyoto
Read about Day 1 >>here<<
The next day, we wanted to cycle the city and explore the temples via bike.
But as I’m an “Ame-on’na”, a woman who attracts rain, I cancelled the bikes in the morning and we went by foot with huge umbrellas.
The first station was Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen temple of Kyoto, which was founded in 1202 by Yōsai.
There are some very attractive gardens at Kennin-ji’s grounds, as the Chō-on-tei, which’s building-process was supervised by garden designer and restaurator Yasuo Kitayama.
Then there is the famous “○△□” Garden. Where I still try to figure out if I got the △ right..
The design of this special garden was inspired by a famous calligraphic work of Sengai Gibon.
Of course you will also find Zen gardens in Karesansui style in Kennin-ji and a tea house with tea garden.
Except the gardens, there are also the famous “Wind and Thunder Gods” and the “Twin Dragons” in Kennin-ji.
As the temple complex is quite huge, it might be a problem to find the right entrance.
If you come from Gion, it’s the first building on the right side after entering!
I love to take pictures, so it got quite late during our visit to the first temple, and we decided to go to a lunch destination I wished for.
But while waiting for our private taxi (the garden designer from the evening before), I got the chance to visit Yasaka Shrine and got a glimpse of Maruyama park, where I could take a picture of a korean model in Kimono..
But actually, I was more attracted by the weeping willow at the other pond.
Did you know that there are often ghosts living under weeping willows?
We had one in the garden when I was young.. I love weeping willows..
The Maruyama park was built in 1886 and is a popular spot for Hanami, the cherry blossom viewing season.
My lunch destination was “Tenkaippin” by the way.. A famous Ramen chain. But the store I wanted to visit was the first Tenkaippin ever. And it was delicious!
It’s quite near to Kyoto Daigaku, the second prestige university in Japan after Tokyo Daigaku.
After this very appealing meal, we went to a “secret” temple up in the mountains.
It is actually quite famous by autumn tours for older japanese ladies, so we had the temple not for us alone.
It is called Jisso-in and is a monzeki temple.
Monzeki temples have a strong relation to the Imperial Family or families of high rank.
Traditionally, the head monk or nun is of one of these families.
Jisso-in has a bond to the Imperial Family.
It was founded in 1229 and the buildings were given the temple around 280 years ago by the Imperial Palace.
The backyard garden is a small pond garden, totally covered by moss and surrounded by japanese maples.
The garden in the front is a Karesansui garden, re-designed by the famous garden design family known as Ueji in 2013 (Ogawa Katsuaki, who might become 12th generation of Ogawa).
The garden was first built by 7th generation of Ueji.
This was the last garden we visited with our garden design friend today, but he brought us to Reikan-ji by car.
Reikan-ji was one of the temples with a special opening. It’s only open during autumn season (end of November) and camellia season (early April).
It was founded in 1654 by Emperor Gomizuno’o, who made his daughter abbess.
This became a tradition until the Meiji restoration.
If you are lucky to come to a special opening, you will also be able to watch some very bright sliding doors. They are still shining in wonderful colours, because the doors are shut almost all time and no light comes in.
The garden in front of the buildings was designed in Edo period style, as the temple was moved in 1687 to it’s final location. The small depression was used to filled with water, but the water supply through a small rivulet dried out.
We were lucky to see it filled with water though, because.. you can guess it.. it rained all day..
Lucky as we were, it stopped in the afternoon and we had a walk at the Philosopher’s Path up to Hōnen-in.
The garden was closed, but I could get a glimpse.
There are also some other great attractions at the Philosopher’s Path like Ginkaku-ji or Anraku-ji.
Anraku-ji we watched from the outside but went down the path until we arrived at Nanzen-ji without entering it.
At Nanzen-ji, I only climbed the giant gate and had a great view over the city before going to the Westinn hotel to search for Aoi-den and Kasui-en, the hotel’s gardens, which were also built by Ueji. Unfortunately it was already dark when we arrived so I could not take good pictures, what was a little bit sad, because we miss good pictures in our stock.
So of course we arrived at Kōdai-ji also after dark…
And saw a female foreign gardener, I already know through FB and my senpai Jenny, heading home.
Next time we will hopefully meet and visiting Kōdai-ji during daytime.
The light-up event was totally crowded and I went straight for the garden and did not take the route through the buildings.
I also did not like this years’s installation at the gravel area and urged for watching the pond garden and bamboo grove. It was really nice!
And I really want to visit it once more with more light!
The temple was founded by Kita-no-mandokoro, shorter known as “Nene”, in 1606 in memory of her husband Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
She also became a priestess of Kōdai-ji later and gained the title Kodaiin Kogetsuni.
The garden is said to be built by Kobori Enshū.
After a long day of wandering through the city, I still did not had enough. I heard from friends of some iron sticks in Kiyomizu-dera, which can be lifted by really strong persons.
They told me, those sticks were in front of Kiyomizu-dera, but when we arrived, I noticed, that they must be in the area, where one has to pay for.
But so we did and I could see the Kiyomizu-dera light-up event as well and the most beautiful moon over Kyoto!
The garden of Kiyomizu-dera is not open all time during the year, but has also special opening times during spring and autumn and one has to pay 600yen extra.
Because it was dark and late, we didn’t.
We met our designer friend once again for a late dinner in a spanish restaurant near my hotel and I was happy when I could get some sleep.
The walking tour was a little bit exhausting and I had to wake up early the next morning to go to Arashiyama by train.