Saturday, June 23, 2012

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) & Heian Jingu (平安神宮) Kyoto, Japan

Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺 Temple of the Golden Pavilion), also known as Rokuon-ji (鹿苑寺 Deer Garden Temple), is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto
The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai, belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune
It is one of the most popular buildings in Japan, attracting a large number of visitors annually
The still water offers many opportunities to delight in reflections
On July 2, 1950, at 2:30 am, the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk, Hayashi Yoken, who then attempted suicide on the Daimon-ji hill behind the building
Kinkaku-ji stands facing Kyoko-chi (mirror lake) pond
Walking round the lake to the other side of the Temple
The top two storeys of the pavilion are covered with pure gold leaf
The gold employed was to mitigate and purify any pollution or negative thoughts and feelings towards death
The bridge that leads to the Heian Shrine
A giant torii gate marks the approach to the shrine
The Heian Shrine is a Shinto shrine located in Sakyō-ku, Kyoto, Japan. The Shrine is ranked as a Beppyou Jinja (the top rank for Shrines) by the Association of Shinto Shrines
The architecture of the main palace mirrors the style and features of the Kyoto Imperial Palace
This lady, as you will see later, is rushing to prepare herself for a wedding
The Shrine has a relatively short history, dating back just over a hundred years to 1895
Always lovely to see the Kimono. The word "kimono", which literally means a "thing to wear" (ki "wear" and mono "thing")
We suddenly heard the sound of music as a wedding procession appeared
Everyone rushed over to take photographs
Traditional Japanese instruments were being played
This is the lady (on the right) that we saw earlier rushing to get ready
And here is the bride dressed in a traditional wedding kimono, but no hat. The family must have high ranking in Kyoto society to be able to get married in this wonderful shrine
A young, traditional couple at a wishing tree
As we were walking away from the temple. Perhaps there will be another wedding soon!

Sunday, June 03, 2012

Kiyomizudera (清水寺), Kyoto, Japan

Welcome to Kyoto!. Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally "Pure Water Temple") is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan
Just outside the entrance to the temple a lady monk or pilgrim, stands completely still holding her bowl
The niōmon (deva gate) and three-storied pavilion
Kiyomizudera was founded in the early Heian period.The temple was founded in 798, and its present buildings were constructed in 1633. Since its foundation, the temple has burned down many times
We saw many young women at the temple in traditional dress
So colourful!
The gate and pagoda are a beautiful introduction to the rest of the temple
Framed in the doorway, reviewing a photo
A moment of reflection
Pretty as a picture
Traditional clothing of the Edo period (1600-1868) included the kimono and obi. The Edo period is when the present buildings were constructed
Steps leading to the Jishu Shrine, a shrine dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. In front of the shrine are two stones, placed 18 meters apart. Successfully finding your way from one to the other with your eyes closed is said to bring luck in finding love
Japanese and couples from other countries who have visited the shrine. I don't understand what the banners say but I guess it's about love!
Making a happy wish for love, and a husband?
Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below
Most of the stage was full of school boys, who were clearly enjoying their day out. Kiyomizu Stage was built using a special method; huge 12-meter high keyaki (Japanese Zelkova) pillars were assembled without using a single nail and the floor was installed using more than 410 cypress boards
The popular expression "to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu" is the Japanese equivalent of the English expression "to take the plunge". This refers to an Edo period tradition that held that, if one were to survive a 13m jump from the stage, one's wish would be granted. Two hundred thirty-four jumps were recorded in the Edo period and, of those, 85.4% survived.The practice is now prohibited
The pagoda and to the left in the distance is the centre of Kyoto
A rest and a cup of sencha restores the body
Kiyomizudera (the temple of pure water) was named after Otowa Waterfall. Water from a spring in the mountain has been falling there since its foundation
Visitors drink from the sacred water which is believed to have wish-granting powers
There are 3 channels of water that fall into a pond below
Each channel of water is said to have a different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life
However, drinking from all three streams is considered greedy
The Otowa Waterfall is located at the base of Kiyomizudera's main hall
A fully-costumed Geisha makes her way to the temple
Others take an easier option to arrive there. The road leading to the temple is uphill and the rickshaw-man was struggling to pull it
More photo viewing
This is a photography studio. Many thanks to this lady for graciously allowing to me to gatecrash and take my own photo