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VagabondsUSA "TRAVEL IS FATAL TO PREJUDICE, BIGOTRY AND NARROW MINDEDNESS." MARK TWAIN

Sayonara Kyoto

JAPAN | Friday, 26 April 2024 | Views [43]

Gion poster

Gion poster

IT’S EASY FOR “GAIJIN” LIKE US to confuse Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji—SpellCheck is having problems, too. We fondly remember autumn reflections of the Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji, from our visit ten years ago, not even realizing that the temple was rebuilt in 1950 after being destroyed by arson. 

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               Kinkaku-ji, Golden Palace from 2014 visit     

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                     No silver in Ginkaku-ji

So instead of re-visiting Kinkaku-ji we trekked four miles from our hotel to its cousin, Ginkaku-ji, aka Silver Pavilion and the sprawling Nazen-ji Temple just down the Philosopher’s Trail. Ginkaku-ji is the original 15th Century temple, having withstood centuries of fires and earthquakes. Ginkaku-ji was never clad in silver—it was probably called the Silver Pavilion in contrast to Kinkaku-ji. For non-Buddhists like us the main attraction is the trail that begins at the traditional Sand Garden and winds up the hillside past a Moss Garden, the only one we’ve ever seen.

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                   Garden of Sand, Ginkaku-ji

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                       Moss Garden of Ginka

Nanzen-ji has been at the center of Buddhism in Kyoto since 1386 when the Emperor converted to Zen Buddhism and turned his retirement villa into a Zen temple. I’m sure there is a special connection for Buddhists that was lost on us but we enjoyed the tranquility as kimono’d  couples posed for photos near the 19th Century aqueduct.

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        Nanzen-ji Temple

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                   "Abbey Road"—Buddhist style

We said “Sayonara” to Kyoto and took the 13:01 Shinkansen Bullet Train to Yokohama. It took less than two hours to cover the 450 kilometers to Shin-Yokohama station and I had only seconds to get a photo of Mount Fuji as we sped past at 140 mph. 

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                     Just one look, Mt. Fuji

 

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