Thursday, June 20, 2013

Kyoto Temples

Tropical storm Leepi is slowly moving next to Japan and Kyoto is kind of at the edge so we had fairly steady rain all day. But that didn't really put a damper on our walking the town. There is supposedly 1000 steps from the bottom of the hill to the temple and I, for one, was happy that it wasn't hot and humid. Cool and rainy was just fine. In spite of the weather, there were lots of people visiting the temple including crowds of school kids.

We paid the 300¥ to walk through the Kiyomizu-dera (which means clear water) temple and there were some spectacular views of the city below and of the lush vegetation. I was amazed at the construction of the temples as it was all beams and wedges. There isn't a single metal fastener used in the entire structure. There were several buildings still under restoration within the complex. To the right is a large bell outside one of the temples.

Below is another small structure sitting across the valley and the color really helped it stand out from the surrounding trees. The trail we were on eventually worked its way around to its base. There was quite a bit of restoration work going on there as well.

This is the main temple building near the top of the hill. As you can see, there is quite a crowd out there. Here, I am on the trail working my way towards the other temple building.

Along the trail, there were some beautiful flowers and I'm sure that they appreciated the rainfall.

It is some sort of tradition that women make the trek dressed up in traditional garb. There were quite a few on the trail this day. Here they were filling up the cups and taking a sip (then putting the cup under the "traditional" ultraviolet sanitizing light). This is water from a waterfall that flows through the temple further up the hill.

This bamboo fence looks a bit deadly to me and I liked the way it was all just tied together. Again, no metal fasteners.

As we worked our down the hill, the rain was making the walkways pretty slippery. Here, there were troughs on each side of the stairs with lots of water pouring down. I don't know the total rainfall today but it was pretty steady all day long. I ended the day still feeling dry but it may have just been a good selection of clothes. All this stuff that I used on my riding trip last summer in hot weather. All quick drying and comfortable.

For lunch, some nice soba with mackerel and veggies. It'll take quite a while for me to get tires of this food. There has been a huge selection everywhere we've been. At the bottom of the stairs, there was a small shop serving green tea treats. I We had a couple of green tea, and the bowl had green tea ice cream, green tea jello, and some small rice cakes. Not overly sweet like a many western desserts.

I ended up taking a lot of photos but after a while, all of the temples start to look alike.


Trobairitz said...

1000 steps, you are getting your exercise.

The scenery sure looks beautiful and the blue hydrangea flowers are pretty as well.

The work that goes into the temples and engineering for no metal fasteners is awe inspiring. Especially when you think how long most have been there.

Conchscooter said...

I spent twenty four hours in Japan once and never felt quite like such an outsider, looking into a world filled with wild contradictions and extraordinary conformity and amazing contrasts - bento boxes and high speed trains, obis and high speed Internet and so many wildly intricate temples they start to blur in a way they never would in our world of pre fab and quick returns. Makes your head spin, even from this far away.
Keep it up.

Unknown said...


Steady rain isn't so bad when walking (riding is a different story) just make sure to have waterproof hats and jackets.

but, the 1,000 steps would kill me

Riding the Wet Coast

RichardM said...

Getting plenty of exercise. Not only from the hills but also distance. The last two days totaled over 40,000 steps on the pedometer. Another surprise was all the green everywhere. Even in town, if there is even a tiny plot of ground, there is usually a meticulously maintained garden there. In these temple areas, there are a lot of gardens.

RichardM said...

That is a great way to phrase it. Contradictions and conformity. And yes, I really feel like an outsider here as well. Even more so when someone starts talking.

RichardM said...

We were a little concerned about my mom with all of the steps but she didn't have much difficulty going up but it was a little more challenging going down. I think going down the stairs is much more difficult than going up. My brother in-law was really good at finding ramps instead of stairs.

Martha said...

What a treat this post is! And I bet you will lose a ton of weight!

I have several books on Japanese gardening, landscaping, architecture, etc. I love it all. I love the way fences are put together, sturdy structures made their way, not our way. So much is so simple and looks less sturdy, but is often superior to what we make.

You reminded me that I used to get green tea ice cream someplace and I can't recall when or where.

From what I've read and seen and heard about Japan, "wild contradictions" is correct!

I hope there's a good Japanese/Asian grocery store in Alaska!

Martha said...

Those are blue hydrangeas, by the way. I don't know your hardiness zone, but hydrangeas go to zone 3.

SonjaM said...

Wow, I am just trying to catch up on your postings. What lovely sights you've seen. The world is so different from our western world. And so pretty. I want to go there and see what you've seen. One more thing for the bucket list. The green tea offerings look so tasty! I would want to try that, too. Please keep sharing your experience. It is so exciting to read from exotic travels.

RichardM said...

I like the fences as well. And even the fences you see at individual homes are usually done in a similar style. Bamboo is still a popular building material not just for accents but structures as well.

There are a couple of decent asian grocery stores but not with a lot of variety.

RichardM said...

There are little signs near many of the plants but I can't read any of them.

RichardM said...

All of the food has been pretty tasty and even a simple meal such as spaghetti has eggplant and garnished with little slivers of seaweed instead of cheese.

I wasn't prepared for all of the "greenenss" but that's probably because I've been in barren grey for so long. Not just green but bright green. I've wanted to visit here for quite a while and was glad that my sister and her family gave us the opportunity.