Saturday, February 5, 2011

Go Go Kyoto- December 9, 2010

Our taxi adventure ended and we arrived at Ginkakuji 銀閣寺 (not Kinkakuji  金閣寺) ready to take on the hordes of school children on tours.  And hordes there were.  Unlike Kenninji, which was relatively quiet, Ginkakuji was full of beautiful sights which we saw on an assembly line.  You are directed to go one way only up the hill to the top to get an overview of the temple.  We were followed by a couple of American men who breathed heavily every time I stopped to take a picture.  But they were not alone in their race through the grounds.  Young teenage boys and girls ran up and down the hill as if on a chase, shouting and giggling salaciously only as children that age can.  We also were followed by a screaming newborn baby belonging to a young French speaking couple, who tried everything to stop the crying.  Oh typical tourist experiences, I missed you so! (Apparently if you go early in the morning, you miss the school kids. And, we heard Kinkakuji was even more crowded, despite being a 1955 reconstruction of the original golden pavilion rather than the real thing)

Notwithstanding all of the clamor,  Ginkakuji was a gorgeous place and well worth the time, particularly for the view from the top and the famous sand gardens. It is another World Heritage site and two of the buildings, the Togudo Hall and the Silver Pavilion date from the 15th century.

Hordes of Japanese students on their way to Ginkakuji

sand garden at Ginkakuji
sand tower (Moon viewing Platform) at Ginkakuji
Sea of Silver Sand (Ginshadan) & Moon-viewing Platform (Kogetsudai)
Another view of Sea of Silver Sand 

The Hondo (left ) and Togudo Hall (right) at Ginkakuji
going up the hill at Ginkakuji
Silver Pavilion to the left- view from top of hill
sand garden with sand tower to left behind tree
Silver Pavilion
After a noodle lunch in a nearby restaurant full of chaperoned students, we headed down the Philosopher's Path toward Nanzenji. The Philosopher's Path was under construction in some places but generally runs right along a canal for a little over a mile.  We were treated to autumn colors but in the spring the Path is popping with cherry blossoms.  It is reportedly named after 20th century philosopher Nishida Kitaro, who used the walk along the path to Kyoto University to meditate and think philosophical thoughts.  We stopped for homemade cake and coffee at Pomme along the Path, and I spent a good deal of the walk thereafter thinking about the pleasure of eating coffee cake.  We also saw a cute shop along the way with a wonderful boy's kimono on display and some antique women's kimonos.  At the end of the Path, we came upon a herd of cats.  Go figure! Most philosophical creatures I know.

The head of the Path

Antique Kimono Store near Path
Boy's Kimono near Philosopher's Path

Cats on the Philosopher's Path
It started raining so we skipped a further tour of Nanzenji and headed back to our hotel to spend the evening poking around the shops at the Kyoto station for our last evening there.

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