Day Nine: Last Day in Kyoto

After another Natto-filled breakfast, we headed out to see Ginkakuji Temple, also known as the Silver Pavilion.  Ginkakuji Temple was built by the grandson of the Golden Pavilion’s builder.  Although the pavilion itself was quite impressive, the garden surrounding it was more so.  I took so many photos here, but I managed to refrain from posting all of them, limiting it to only a select few.  It was very very green everywhere. 

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The Silver Pavilion.

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A pond in the garden of the Silver Pavilion._DSC0913

Another pond in the garden.

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A stairway leading up to more of the beautiful garden.

 

After leaving the Silver Pavilion, we headed over to the Philosopher’s Road.  On the way, we discovered something of great importance in the most unlikely of places… a popsicle stand.

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An International landmark.

 

I was very excited about seeing this road as I enjoy philosophy and it also came very recommended to us.  We would be walking this two kilometer road to our next stop, Kiyomizu-dera, the water temple.

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A small section of the Philosopher’s Road and the canal that parallels it.

 

At the end of the road we came across a small house that had been turned into an okonomiyaki shop.  We obviously had to stop, and I’m sure glad we did.  That was some of the best okonomiyaki I’ve ever had and the owner of the shop talked to us for most of the time we were there.  She was a very sweet woman who talked our ears off but we didn’t mind.  With Em translating for us the language barrier wasn’t too difficult, but I’m sure she’s getting tired of talking for us.  After a fantastic lunch, we headed on to the long climb that would take us to Kiyomizu Temple.  The road leading up to the mountain was filled with shops and people.

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I smell a tourist trap!

 

Kiyomizu Temple is known for its water, as it is the water temple.  It is said that anyone who drinks from the temple’s fountain can make a wish and it will be granted.  Every time we’ve found a fountain in any temple/shrine, we were told not to drink the water.  This place is the exception and there was a long line to the fountain.  This temple was a lot bigger than I imagined as it was comprised of multiple buildings and towers spanning across the side of a mountain. 

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Kiyomizu Temple’s front gate.

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A small place for worship within Kiyomizu.

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This place is huge!

 

After passing multiple shrines, gift shops, photo ops, and other cool things to see within the temple, we finally made it to the fountain.  Em and I made our way through the line to the fountain so we could make our wishes and drink the holy water.  They use an ultra-violet cleaning system to clean the cups they use to drink from, certainly an addition to the original temple design.  And if you’re wondering, the water tasted great :D  On our way out we ran into some young ladies wearing yukata.

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The main fountain in Kiyomizu where many travel far to drink the sacred water.

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Some girls pose in front of Kiyomizu in their yukata.

 

Today was a short day but we covered a lot of ground and had a really good time.  Ginkakuji was beautiful, the road was philosophical, okonomiyaki was superb as usual, and Kiyomizu-dera was enlightening.  We ended the night by going to an English Pub where they had Guinness and Fish and Chips, so my inner Englishman was pleased.  Tomorrow we leave Kyoto for Koya-san.

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Kyoto Station at night.  This is only the 5th or 6th floor; escalators go up to an 11th.

 

Originally a mountaintop monastery, Koya-san soon grew into a town featuring a university for religious studies and over one hundred shrines and temples  and is considered the heart of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. Koya-san, or Mt. Koya, actually has eight peaks. It’s located in the Wakayama prefecture, south of Osaka.

Still on the island of Honshu, it will be a quick skip and a hop to get there. Unfortunately, we’re only going to be spending the night there and then leaving the next day. With all the monasteries and temples, it’s common for pilgrims and tourists like us to lodge with the monks for the night. At the monastery, guests will be treated to the monks’ famous vegetable cuisine known to please even the most savage of carnivores. Guests are also welcome to explore other parts of Buddhist monk life such as meditation and prayer sessions.

This is one of the places I’m most excited about visiting! Perhaps I’ll drop my worldly possessions off at the gate and stay with the monks. Especially with all the good cooking, onsen, and not to mention a beautiful mountainous landscape, this will be the perfect place to stay, even if we’re staying right next to the largest graveyard in Japan. I hope it’s not haunted!

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