For our first full day in Kyoto we hired a private Guide to show us some of his favorite places in Kyoto. We started bright and early in order to beat the tourists and the heat. First up on the list was:
This temple is famous for it’s Zen garden containing 15 rocks that are said to be perfectly placed. Our tour guide Masa practices Zen gave us a little insight to what it’s about.
- Zen is a form of Buddhism
- It’s a kind of philosophy
- There’s a lot of meditation involved
- It’s an idea that everything belongs as it should be in perfect harmony
From here we walked about 20 minutes to the next temple.
The infamous Kinkaku-Ji– Aka the Golden Pavilion- We laid our eyes on this gold foiled pavilion that was built in the 11th century.
Believe it or not by the time we were finished with these two stops we were ready for lunch! We had a great lunch at Cafe du Mond. The highlight of our lunch was when the waitress gave us our very first Origami lesson.
After some much needed coffee we made our way to the Philosopher’s path which is a charming 2km path along a canal. There were many artists selling paintings and musicians along the way which added to the atmosphere.
Somewhere along the path we stopped at Ginkaku-Ji which has been dubbed the “silver pavilion” except its not silver. I’m still confused about it. However, the highlight here was the sand garden or rock garden which has a stunning “Wabi Sabi” elegance to it. To the untrained eye like myself it looked like a massive meticulously shaped sand castle.
We ended the day at Nanzen-Ji which is a cluster of temples where many Buddhists go to practice the art of Zen.
In all it was a lovely day that was very aesthetically pleasing!