Sunday, June 19, 2011

Fourteen: More Kyoto

The doors of the entrance to Higashi Hongan-ji temple, captured by Matt.

A street in Downtown Kyoto, also taken by Matt.

More from the streets of Downtown.

As I said in my last post, after we found Nanzen-ji Temple on our first day in Kyoto, we knew we had to return once more, and so Thursday morning, we did.

These are photos of the gate at the entrance to the temple grounds. The deep wood of both the gate and the temple were beautiful. And these columns were massive.

Matt took both of these photos of the Nanzen-ji gate, and I think they're fantastic.

As we walked through the gate up to the temple, I noticed workers on the grounds meticulously grooming the gardens with tiny scissors and a lot of patience.

Worshipers who were visiting the temple first made an offering (to "purchase" an incense stick), and lighted the incense before they bowed to pray near the temple entrance before approaching the temple doors.

Surprisingly (to us, at least), we were definitely in the ethnic minority while touring Kyoto's sites. Occasionally, we saw other Westerners at major tourist sites, on trains, etc., but for the most part, we saw other Japanese tourists who seemed to be visiting the temples and shrines to worship. It provided ample opportunity for us to watch these "tourists" worship at these sites and pay their respects. What a wonderful glimpse of life to catch!

Most of the temples we visited had beautifully pained fabric panels behind the altars that, unfortunately, I was unable to capture with my camera since most temples did not allow photography inside the buildings. However, one of the buildings on the Nanzen-ji temple complex had it's doors open wide as we explored the outside garden. Perfect.

Also in this garden was a little waterfall both Matt & I found quite picturesque. (First photo taken by Matt.)

We visited a small shrine on the Nanzen-ji complex grounds, which included a cool marker

and geishas!

These two geishas were part of what looked like a photo shoot at the shrine entrance. I snapped on my zoom lens and started photographing them from another entrance, hoping to get a good photograph. One of the geishas noticed me through the trees, and they both turned and gladly allowed me to snap a few straight on shots.

There were also some buddhas at the shrine worth photographing.

Having already posted way too many photos today, I'll stop here (this was just the morning of our day!) and post more in a couple of days. I think it's quite clear that Nanzen-ji was our favorite site we visited in Kyoto. This complex was incredibly beautiful, peaceful, and seemed to be a world away from the modern city it sat in.

Also, look for my "week fifteen" post tomorrow night!


  1. I'm loving all of your pictures, Amanda (and Matt)! It's nice to see that you got in one too ;)