Kyoto Shrines & Temples
I began the route in Kyoto with the walk in the World Heritage site, Kiyomizu-dera Temple. Most if not all tourist coming to Kyoto will make this trip. I must say visiting this in my previous trip during Autumn was a lot more attractive. This time round, fighting with the hordes of visitors buzzing through its corridors in the thick of the late summer heat was exhausting!
I must admit I didn’t hang round as long as I should, but I was quite eager to check out the narrow streets of the Higashiyama district on the outskirts of this temple. Making this journey on foot was definitely the best decision ever, as along the way, there were several other stops I made.
The Chion-in Temple was one such discovery. Although the main hall was closed for renovation, the trip up (then down) the long staircase was an experience in itself. Located just a little distance away from the famous Maruyama Park, its temple houses the largest bell in all of Japan – which regrettably, I did not get to see.
Still within the East side of Kyoto, the Ginkaku-ji Temple (Temple of the Silver Pavilion) was probably my favourite destination. The grounds of the temple was simply stunning. I was actually looking for the silver in the pavilion, but only realized after walking around, that the temple pavilion was never silver. In fact, it was a modest brown. The temple was originally built for Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa as a retirement villa in the Muromachi Period (1338 – 1573).
My evening ended with the Heian-Jingu Shrine. Its impressive gateway and complex is easily recognizable by its bright orange structures contrasted with their green roofs. The shrine was built in 1895 to commemorate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Heian Kyo (Kyoto). Dedicated to the Emperors Kammu and Komei, the first and last Emperors to rule Kyoto, the buildings are a partial replica of the Imperial Palace of the Heian Period (794-1185).
Its attached garden was a picture of calm and beauty. If it wasn’t so icky hot, I could have stayed all evening enjoying the silence of nature.
It was a fruitful day indeed!!! More of Kyoto’s shrine in the next post.