Today’s destination could not be anything other than the spectacular Japan which received with open arms our beloved Camila. This millennial country is built on layers of history. It is required to include Kyoto in your itinerary. After all, the city was founded in the first century and served as the capital of the imperial court until the 19th century, when it was transferred to Tokyo. It holds between more than two thousand precious temples. It is exactly about five of them that I will share with you today.
The Tenryu-Ji Temple – whose name means “Temple of the Dragon of Heaven” – is in the midst of a beautiful bamboo forest. This temple is part of a complex formed by many pavilions and houses. It is the largest zen buddhism temple in Kyoto and is listed as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. Its gardens are an unique delicacy and the bambuzais give a mysterious air. Of all the temples that I visited in Kyoto, this was the most farthest. The train is the best way to get to it. It is well worth the effort.
Another spectacular zen buddhist temple and therefore one of the most visited in Kyoto is the Kinkaku-Ji, also known as the Golden Flag. It was built by a xogum (commander of the army appointed by the emperor) who gave up his official duties to devote himself to the priesthood. A story quite unexpected. The Golden Temple was where he lived, but was destroyed several times by fire. Each of its floors is built in a different style, being that the walls of the second and third floors are covered by gold plates. The reflection of the temple in water is mesmerizing, you can spend hours looking at it.
The zen buddhist temple Ginkakuji, also known as Flag of silver, has its history inspired by the Golden Flag. It was made to serve as a place of retreat from xogum yoshimasa, grandson of xogum who built the Golden Flag. The intention was that the two temples were the same but one covered with gold plates and the other with silver plates. However, it started a war and the dream of xogum was to follow in the footsteps of his grandfather which he did not have the chance to achieve. The result can be seen today in a temple with each floor in a different style, but all in dark colors. Currently, the major stars of this temple is it’s zen garden. A work of art. There is even a replica of Mount Fuji in sand. It is Spectacular!
Considered the second oldest buddhist temple of Kyoto, the Kiyomizu-dera receives pilgrims who offer prayers to Goddess Kannon over a thousand years ago. The most curious thing is that it formerly had a macabre ritual and people would jump off from the balcony of the main temple to make a promise that those who survived would have their claims made. I don’t even need to say that this practice was prohibited. The temple is today protected by UNESCO, it is part of the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto and was chosen by the Japanese to compete as one of the New Wonders of the Modern World.
Lastly, I cannot fail to mention the shintoist shrine Fushimi Inari, the main post card of Kyoto, with thousands of red columns, dedicated to Inari and where they filmed scenes from Memoirs of a Geisha. It is a place that has to be visited with time so you can enjoy it’s energy. The japanese that circulate through the temple go in search of prosperity in business. As part of the ritual prayers, they hang thousands of prayer boards and talismans. This is my favorite temple in Kyoto. I have already mentioned it earlier, remember?
I’ve listed just five temples, but there are many more. You spend a full year in Kyoto and even then it is likely that you don’t get to see everything.
I wish you all a week full of joy and good spirits and and until next Tuesday with a trip to the land of Bob Marley.