Monday, November 3, 2008

Kyoto - day 2

Hi Hi sisters ..... thank you for taking interest in my little Kyoto trip. After a good night sleep, we were recharged again on the 2nd day to continue our quest for historic temples and gardens. The city of Kyoto is surrounded by mountains and hundreds of temples were built in almost every street corner. All of the large temples are recognized as World Cultural Heritage Site by UNESCO - meaning that they have to be preserved and protected. Of course the rich and famous will be pampered in chauffeured limousines and by their own private guides, like our handsome prince in Kamakura.

But for an average folk like me, with so many places to see, we would have to depend on our very own reliable 2 legs and 2 feet. We find the best way to get around is by the 2 N-S & E-W running subway lines and the 3 dedicated sightseeing bus routes (Raku bus) stopping at all major subway stations and attractions. We bought a 2-day pass for 2000 yen so we could hop on & off places without figuring how much to pay. For sisters who have been to Seoul, this is similar to the operation of Seoul City Tour Bus.

1st stop – Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺 (or better known as the Golden Pavilion)

It was constructed in 1397 for Shogun Yoshimitsu as a retirement villa and later converted to a Zen temple. It is famous for its pure gold-leafed pavilion and its clear reflection with the surrounding landscapes in the mirror pond. Hehe, as cloudnine puts it so eloquently – a Kodak moment. Isn’t it breathtakingly beautiful?

Aiyo, don’t be fooled by the tranquility shown in this picture. There were hundreds of eager tourists and noisy students all elbowing each other to fight for that perfect angle!
The back side

A hint of fall colour

Surrounding structures with its artsy horticulture

Stairways leading down

2nd stop - Ryoan-ji 龍安寺 (Temple of Peaceful Dragon)

This was originally the Fujiwara family estate and later willed as a Zen temple. It is the burial place of 7 imperial emperors. The huge lotus pond behind the main entrance :

This temple is synonymous with its famous dry landscape rock garden. This rock garden is thought to have been built in the late 1400s, consisting of raked gravel and fifteen moss-covered boulders. The boulder formation are placed so that when looking from any angle (of course other than from above), only fourteen of the boulders are visible at one time. The tradition said that only through attaining enlightenment would one be able to view the fifteenth boulder.

Now it all makes sense why these people's eyes were all frozen on these mossed rocks for so long. For a moment, this 'Mr. Dumb & Mrs. Dumber' were wondering if these people were hypnotized or their minds have been kidnapped to Mars or something??

OK my turn, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 ...... 7 rocks ONLY! Gosh, I couldn't even get 14 rocks, let alone 15! I am soooo 'under-enlightened' :(

I'd better retreat to my own little palace and sob :(

3rd stop - Ninna-ji 仁和寺

A Buddhist temple founded in AS 888 by Emperor Uda. This is by far the most enjoyable temple moment in Kyoto I had because of its beautiful rooms, winding corridors and serene gardens.

The impressive grand entrance

The stunning architecture of the 5-tier pagoda

this red temple structure is quite cute, huh? Resembles the arcitecture of the 'destroyed' Namdaemun in Seoul
Maybe because Ninanji is less well-known than Kinkaku-ji and others, there were much less traffic so we were able to truly enjoy the serenity and spirit of the temple.

We could sit on the corridor looking out to the garden and listened to the blowing sound of soft wind

Looking at these empty tatami rooms, my mind couldn't help but transported to old times when life was a lot more simpler, purer and disciplined.
Tea ceremonial room

You know these temples all close their doors at 4pm, so we have to start our sightseeing quite early. But it doesn’t mean the city closes down at night. While looking for the Nishiki Fish market (hehe, have craving for sushi again) in downtown Kyoto, we discovered this covered shopping arcade called Shinkyogoku. It spans several long streets and is filled with shops, pachinkos, restaurants and temples. There are young hip shops selling anime models & games (which in my son's eyes is the only sightseeing worthy place in Kyoto :) and traditional shops selling kimonos, crafts, old scrolls and prints. A real find!

Doesn't this place look like when Yujin saw MinHyung walking in 'choum' snow on her engagement night. A few nights later she was frantically looking for him in the same area, then sat on a stone ledge and cried? (boy, I think I am missing him too much?) Well, I blame this handsome guy kept popping up everywhere and reminded me of him. Hehe, my fatigue was all gone when I saw his smile :)


Anonymous said...

Dearest Jaime and Bae sisters:
Thank you very much for your immediate response to my questions. Indeed, it has proven that the Bae sisters are a nurturing loving caring people -- following the footsteps of Bae Yong Joon, who has always thought of the "other" rather than the self. I feel fortunate to know you and to be accepted into your group. I have taken down notes of all your suggestions and I will follow them. Thank you very much, specially to Jaime.
The Golden and Silver temples in Kyoto speak of your inner treasure, much more than the fifteenth boulder, which is really in your third eye.
Sarang hamnida,
josephine pasricha

jaime said...

Hi Josephine,

I am glad you don't mind my response in the last post. After I published my comment and looked at it, I gasped to myself, "Gosh! I am reeeeeally longwinded!", worse than a grandma! Hehe, I am sure you'll find your very comfortable way of keeping warm soon. Please take care in the cold weather!

love .. jaime

Jenny said...

Hi Jaime

I really fall in love for kyoto already with your so detail journal and beautiful pictures. Now I have feel like going there already. As what sis Josephine say I have to jot down all the beautiful place of japan first so that is easier for me, if I have the chance to travel there in future. Really appreciate your writing so as to BB as well. We can know and see a lot of picture of places all over the world from all of your blogs. Thanks alot.



jaime said...

Hi Jenny,

Thank you for writing a comment to me. I am happy that you enjoy it. Hehe, I am not as well-travelled as bb, but I try to record it for memory sake. Before digital camera and internet become so popular, I used to create a separate photo album/scrap book to collect all my wonderful memorabilia & photos for every trip or major events in my life.

I thank bb, camille, liezle and other sisters who have travelled to Korea and Japan before for writing their trip journals. I actually relied on their writeups more than the travel guides when I went to Seoul and they are so helpful.

I hope you will have the opportunity to visit Japan in the near future :)

regards .. jaime