Sunday, September 4, 2011
Kyoto final day - Temples and A Closed Garden - Typhoon!
My last day in Kyoto began with a breakfast with Shuichi Nakamura a native of the area, who took his day to show me some of Kyoto. One of his favorite temple complexes is north of the downtown,Daitokuji Temple . where he took this photo of me on the serene entry way.
Here we are entering the quiet of one of the temples. So nice and green. In the background we become aware of the rain and comes and goes with typhoon Talas, locally numbered #12
Suichi helped me identify several plants including one here that is a Cornus, in English common language, a dogwood.
Also of interest he pointed out this is a bodhi tree, the same species where Buddha achieved enlightenment.
I found interesting that family temples are here on the larger grounds. So here Shuichi and I had a chance to sit and drink green tea on a red carpet. Very green and serene to learn about the history here in Kyoto in context to the modern Japan.
This is the family temple where we had the tea and sweet rice ball treat while enjoying the bamboo forest. We did notice the wind in the bamboos and the forestry workers at the temple cleaning up the ones that had fallen.
View of the temple garden where we sat for some time. Very few people out and about!
This is the family graveyard behind the family temple. Interesting to fit my size 15 feet into the slip on sandals provided to walk on the wet stones! Now I see why Asian folks don't have many tied shoes! Slipping shoes on and off so frequently entering and leaving buildings. :-)
Shuichi was kind enough to support me in carrying my luggage back to the main train station from my downtown Hotel and then suggested we see a garden (Koen) and big temple nearby. Here is the neat dragon that we found to wash our hands before entering. Now starting to understand the process of intention and purification at these temples.
This is a very large temple near to the train station that one sign says is the largest wooden building in the world and was build in 1895. I think I read that about the Buddhist temple in Nara as well. O well, a good story.
After sitting on the tatami mats inside the temple for a while, I decided to give some money for the earthquake relief up in Fukashima Prefecture. March 11, 2011, also known as 3-11 is in the background of most peoples minds here.
As most signs are in Japanese congi (characters) I found the English Signs like this one quite refreshing. Shuichi had been here in this park before and recommended it. Sadly when we rounded the corner into the quietness, we were met with the "Closed" body langauge here. Because of the typhoon! We are a long way from where the typhoon center is and it is just a little windy
So here is the sign in Japanese. Suichi says the two characters above the 12 (Talas is the 12th typhoon or tropical storm of the season) is about tyhoon! So, in what was to become a theme of acceptance, the weather started to have an impact on what I was able to visit.
Suichi was the perfect guide as we walked back to the station in time for my bullet train. Here is the bitter melon plant with fruit he says is a popular addition to cuisine from places like Okinawa. I remember trying it and the bitterness is something new to my western palate.