Kinkaku-ji, Ginkaku-ji and Trail of Philosophy

Today we went to see the Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavilion. It is maybe the best known temple in Kyoto. It is always packed, so today was no exception. We were still lucky to find that it could have been much worse. The three storey, gold-pleated pavilion is impressive. But one should also take some time wandering through the garden and enjoying the fabulous landscaping. Especially as momiji (the flaming red maple leaves) season is drawing near. Near the abbots house is an old pine tree, which is shaped like a boat.It points in the direction of the Kinkaku-ji, as if sailing over to the temple.

Like all other temple areas, Kinkaku-ji consists of several shrines and temples, the golden pavillion is just one. While walking through the hilly garden, we visited these others, too. After days of nice and dry weather, it had to rain. Not just a little, it came pouring down. So we decided to visit the special exhibition in the abbots house. At first the cashier thought we wanted to see the temple, but we could persuade him that we really wanted to see the abbots house. We thought, that maybe, this wouldn’t be such a good idea, but everyone got a tour. And although our guide’s English wasn’t all that good, he really tried hard and explained everything to us. It was really fun.

Then we went to visit Ginkaku-ji and to walk down the philosopers path. The Ginkaku-ji shares some history with the Kinkaku-ji. Both were originally villas and turned into temples after the deaths of their owners. Originally the Ginkaku-ji was to be plated silver, but that was never done. The garden around the temple was very beautiful with formed gravel and paths winding up and down the hills. The mossy ground was very clean – because it is swept! we actually saw gardeners sweeping the mossy ground of the forest!

Then we wlaked down the Path of philosophy. This short walkway is probably a stunning sight when the cherry trees bloom, but in autumn it was rather boring. Still it was very different from the loud crowds and for that we liked it quite a lot.

Tonight we had Japanese Wagyu – it was really delicious. And I think I ate faaaaar to much.


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