I had hoped to pick up a tour bus and start by getting a driven tour, but the next bus didn't leave for 90 minutes and I wasn't willing to hang around that long, so I started walking.
First stop was Higashi Hogen-ji Temple. An amazing, all wooden temple complex. Like all my things, I was there bright and early and the monks were finishing up their morning prayers. An excellent time to be there as I could see into the main temple, while I was there they started to close up the building, so most of the tourists miss out on seeing inside
Next stop was the Shosei-en Gardens. I had this place to myself. The woman in the ticket booth was at first surprised I was there, then enthusiastic that I was by myself, pointing out things to see. I really liked it, sort of like the garden of a stately home in the middle of a city somewhere.
I then faced a long walk through the city to get to the temples on the side mountains. In retrospect a bus would have been better, but I was glad I walked it, it was very wet, but had that interesting personal touch looking down the backstreets.
I approached the Kiyomizu-dera Temple from the side via a cemetery which was fascinating. I'm not sure I should have been enthused over so many dead people, but it was so different from a western styled one and had been carved into the side of the hill. Admittedly, when I got to the temple, I had no idea what was going on. I went into the cellar of one of the buildings, its a pitch black maze that represents something deep and meaningful. If you do it (and you should) walk slowly with your arms in front of you. Hitting the wall does hurt.
Then I walked along the streets, visiting Maruyama Park which is apparently famous for its cherry blossoms. I wasn't there in that season, so the place was deserted and a little shabby, but still nice to walk around in. There were more temples, some more gardens, all of which were very spectacular and very different. Next time I shall read the guide books before I visit because I missed the nighting gale floor, but I did see the builder's umbrella. Apparently that's a miracle, but I think a builder leaving his umbrella behind is just forgetfulness.
I caught the underground back to town, but got out at the wrong stop. What I thought was a ten minute walk to the main station turned into a two hour slog, but it still managed to keep my interest dispite, but this time I had walked 14km and felt like my feet were about to fall off. Next time more comfortable shoes too.
Images and content © Ryan McConigley, 2011
Not to be used without permission, for profit, etc.
Last modified: May 27 2012 02:24:39.