Today's plan was to take a taxi to the Kinkaku Jinja, a Zen Buddhist temple & World Heritage Site whose main feature is the Golden Pavilion, an iconic Kyoto historic site. Ironically, although the temple was founded in the late 1300's, it was burned nearly to the ground in 1950 by a mentally-ill novice monk. The restored temple was rebuilt in 1955 in all it's shining glory.
And so, we hopped a taxi in front of the hotel & took about a 10-minute ride to the temple complex. Being a popular site, it was pretty mobbed. There were lots of groups of school kids:
The others are general good luck charms. The bottom one has the kanji for gold woven in the brocade, "kin" which is where the name of the temple, Kinkaku-Ji, comes from.
After passing a few more picturesque buildings we came to the main temple where you can say a prayer.
I was rather amused that we had to wait for a group of Japanese Catholic nuns to stop chatting in the entrance so we could step up, toss our go-en into the box & say our prayers :)
|You can see the nuns in this picture :)|
(It was so hot that, not once but twice, while visiting public restrooms, I left with toilet paper stuck to my leg. Good grief!!!)
The Ryouan-Ji (it means "Temple of the Sleeping Dragon" :) is another Zen Buddhist temple that dates from the late 1400's. It's famous for it's rock gardens, which are also a World Heritage Site. Although the gardens are famous, it was much less mobbed, which was a relief. The buildings are a bit more nondescript at Ryouan-ji, since the focus is on the gardens, but everything is situated around a large pond with gorgeous water lilies:
You had to remove your shoes at the door, & then ring a doorbell to let them know you're there. We explained that we had a reservation & the lovely hostess/waitress led us to our table on the tatami floor. There was a charcoal brazier in the middle of the table & zabuton pillows on the floor to sit on. Whee! At the best of times I don't do well sitting on the floor, but it was still so much fun to try something new!
The waitress showed us a menu in English & we chose 2 yu-dofu meals with rice & one special with side dishes we could share. The guys had cokes, & when I said that I loved the cold tea served when we arrived, she showed us where we could get refills from a thermos. She then brought some bowls with grated daikon radish in them & a pitcher of sauce & mimed pouring the sauce over the bowls, into which we'd add the yu-dofu. Pretty soon, the nabe (ceramic cooking pot) with the yu-dofu arrived!
Yu-dofu is blocks of silken tofu that have been simmered in a broth with vegetables & herbs. There were little pink mochi flowers floating among the greenery & tofu, along with shitake mushrooms & other veggies. Here's the tray with side-dishes:
So we poured the broth- soy sauce-based with a hint of vinegar- into our bowls & ladled blocks of tofu & veggies & broth into it:
After we ate, Charlie got a picture of Brendan & I under the noren curtains to the restaurant:
After a couple hours rest, Charlie & I took the shuttle bus to the subway station, & then the subway back to Kyoto Station to look for dinner & breakfast food. I knew I had to take a look at the floor devoted just to sweets & omiyage (food gifts). We did not leave empty-handed either...
For dinner we found some inari sushi, some corokke, & some futomaki sushi for me. Got an assortment of beverages, hit the bakery, & we headed back to the subway & home. Round-trip it took about 1 1/2 hours, but it's just so much fun to see the sights & just be in Kyoto :)
After dinner we indulged in:
And so we settled-in for the evening, watching a bit of wacky Japanese tv & taking turns in the shower & ofuro after our really hot day out.
Tomorrow: Nishijin Textile Center!!