Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Very Temple-ish day

Well day three of my little trip is done with and I am bushed. But the show must go on as they say, and I got to visit some pretty interesting places today, a few off the beaten path as well, which is nice in tourist heavy Kyoto.

My first stop this morning, after unsuccessfully looking for a place to have breakfast and settling on a sandwich from Lawson's, was To-ji temple, to check out the monthly market being held there today. The ground of the temple were definitely the highlight of the day, with beautiful gardens presided over by the tallest Pagoda in Japan.

And with all the action happening outside the inner temple area, I was free to roam in relative peace.

The market, while interesting to walk around in, didn't hold anything I was interested in... so after touring for a bit, I made my way back out into the streets of Kyoto.

One sight which followed me around today was this blimp flying over the city. I assume one can pay an exorbitant of money and be ferried around over the city for a while aboard the vehicle... such a nice contrast with the roofline of To-ji.

I came to the realization today that I have a new "signature" shot. I used to take many photos of Torii gates, but what I've been doing on this trip is more of these types of "roofline against the sky" kind of shots.

Now, I visited so many temples today (10? 15?) that I can't put a name to each picture, but here's a couple.

Ooh ooh! This one I have a name for... this is Eikan-do and it's mountain-side pagoda.

On the grounds of Eikan-do, I found this little waterfall nestled between a cemetary and a nursery school... go figure... I put the G9's electronic ND filter (which allows longer shutter speeds without blowing out the image with too much light) with some nice results.

These are some of the buildings at Nanzen-in, which has some quite extensive grounds, all shaded with lovely trees. A great place to take a rest.

Hidden up the mountainside behind Nanzen-in and known only to the local worshipers (and whoever has a guidebook) is Nanzen-ji Oku no-in, a small shrine built around a waterfall which worshipers pray under. On the climb up the mountain path, I encountered exactly 1 person who was coming back down... and he was still wet so I assume he was praying under the waterfall.

After puttering around the same temple area much of the afternoon, I decided to go a bit further afield and check out Ginkaku-ji, one of the more "famous" of all the famous Kyoto temples. Unfortunatly the temple itself is in the midst of a major restoration project and is thus under wraps, but it's beautifully manicured gardens were certainly worth the trip.

And that was that for temples for the day. I headed on back to the hotel to rest a bit and grab a shower before hitting up some Ramen for dinner. Tomorrow, Nijo castle, Fushimi-Inari-Taisha and then off to Nara!


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