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A Few Temples in Kyoto
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Silver and Golden Pavillions and Ryoan-ji

On previous trips, Mark and I had visited a number of temples in Kyoto.  This was Andrea and David's first time to Kyoto so we set aside a day to see some of the highlights of the city.

The Silver Pavilion (Ginkaku-ji)

From our hotel we walked up Path of Philosophy (no fall colours yet) and up to  Ginkaku-ji.  This temple has two claims to fame - first, its large sand sculptures, and second, its moss gardens.  The large sand sculptures give the Silver name to this temple - they are designed to mimic the sea and the pile (Kogetsudai) is designed for moon viewing.  It was softly raining while we were there so I was surprised to see how crisp the sculptures were.

Sand Sea In FrontSea of Silver SandKogetsudai

Once you've seen the sand sculptures, you are directed to the back, to tour the moss gardens.  The gardens are very well maintained - there are over 30 recognized species of moss present.

Boxes Of MossMossy Hill

The Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)

Real Golden
We took the bus to the eastern side of town, picked up lunch and then visited the Golden Pavilion.  The Golden Pavilion is one of the most famous sites in Kyoto.  Everyone knows it - there is a large viewing area where people gather to take photos of their friends, themselves, and the Temple. 

Side Of Golden Pavillion

There are also gardens behind the Golden Pavilion, but they aren't as good as the Silver Pavilion and they are very crowded, with tour groups pushing through every few minutes.

Golden PavillionAnother Angle Of GoldenGolden Pavilion From Shore

The Golden Pavilion is well worth seeing, but be prepared for the crowds.


Roof at Entrance to Ryoan-ji
I think my favorite attraction in Kyoto is the gardens of Ryoan-ji.  It's believed that this garden was designed in the 1400's, but it wasn't an attraction until the 1930's.  The stones are laid out in such a way that only 14 (or fewer) of the 15 stones are visible, regardless of where you stand or sit on the viewing platform.

The far wall isn't even close to level and gives you a sense of depth from the forced perspective. The trees behind the back wall all have seasonal versions (Cherry blossoms, or fall colors, evergreen or deciduous.). The garden runs roughly east to west and the viewing platform is on the north side so the shadows change over the course of the day.

Rock GardenStones In Temple

On the backside of the viewing platform is a stone water basin.  On the top is inscribed "I learn only to be contented."  On the way out is another extensive moss garden and a pond.
Mossy Garden Behind Ryoan-ji

The day was running out and we wanted to do some errands around the bus terminal, so we caught the bus and returned to the world of the normal.

Next: Festivals in Kyoto

Another Angle Of Golden
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Golden Pavilion From Shore
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Roof at Entrance to Ryoan-ji
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Mossy Garden Behind Ryoan-ji
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Mossy Hill
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Real Golden
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Rock Garden
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Stones In Temple
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Boxes Of Moss
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Sand Sea In Front
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Tags: garden, Japan, sand
Side Of Golden Pavillion
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Golden Pavillion
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Sea of Silver Sand
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Tags: Japan(10), garden(8), gold(5), moss(3), temple(3), sand(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Second Trip to Japan > Kyoto Temples
From: John Harvey Photo > Trips out of the Country > A Fourth Trip to Japan > Kyoto > Kyoto Temples
From: John Harvey Photo > A Fourth Trip to Japan > Kyoto > Kyoto Temples

the golden pavilion is so beautiful. Japan must be a beautiful place to go and visit.
Tuesday, November 10th, 2009 at 18:47:18

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