Archive for Zen gardens

around Kyoto [a wandering tourist]

Posted in Books, Mountains, pictures, Running, Travel with tags , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2012 by xi'an

As I could not fight sleep staying at my desk, despite the terrific view of Kyoto from a 16th floor, I went for a long walk to a complex of temples, Daitoku-ji, which is a sort of enclave of Zen temples and Zen gardens, with hardly anyone around, except for people walking their dog and the occasional cyclist… This was about 6-7k away from my hotel and on the way there I passed (on purpose) the Kyoto Imperial Palace (closed except for guided tours), and two other complexes of (Buddhist) temples, Shokoku-ji and Myokaku-ji…

Each time, the area was very peaceful and somehow mysterious as there was no explanation whatsoever in English as to the purpose of the buildings and of the shrines.  I alas arrived too late for the special Koto-in garden, but saw the surrounding bamboo grove and the (very Zen) guardian cats.

Beside the beauty of those places, I appreciated walking around this part of the city, because the temples felt so integrated within the life of the city despite their history. It felts as if the houses had grown around them in a fairly natural fashion, without excluding those temples as empty remnants. (I actually liked it so much that I mistakenly added an extra 4k to my walk by going the wrong direction!) [If this sounds too much like cheap lyricism, blame sleep deprived neurons, not me!]

Wile I fear I will not have time to visit the Temple of the Golden Pavillon, or Kinkaku-ji, that I hoped to see if only because of Mishima’s novel, or even the Fushini-Inari shrine I posted a few days ago, I plan to go running tomorrow morning to see the temples of Higashimaya and maybe even run to the top of Daimon-ji Yama, weather and time permitting…