Kyoto 2 – Temples and Gardens

Kyoto 2 – Temples and Gardens

With 17 Unesco World Heritage Sites, 1600 Buddhist temples and over 400 Shinto shrines, Kyoto offers too much. With just two and a half days here, it was frustrating having to choose only a few sites to see.

Kyoto though has wonderful public transport, so we managed to get around this appealing city fairly easily, despite the fact it was a key holiday weekend with everywhere swarming with visitors, and we were so tired after the Mount Fuji climb.

No wonder Kyoto is such a tourist draw. If you imagine swapping the walled temples for colleges, and the River Kano for the Thames, we could sense a cultural similarity between Kyoto and Oxford, England.

At Fushimi Imari-Taisha we trekked up the hill through the thousands of Shinto shrine gates (torri) which date from the 8th Century. We were astonished by the scale, only managing  to get half-way before joint pains from Mount Fuji defeated us
We loved this intimate temple and garden, part of the Nansen-ji complex. Dating from the 13th century, it has been designated as one of the three scenic historical gardens of Kyoto. On a Sunday morning, without so many tourists, we found here our zen-like calm
The Main Hall (Hondo) at the blockbuster Kiyomizu-dera buddhist temple was undergoing external restoration, so the classic photography views weren’t possible. However, we enjoyed our time strolling around the site’s many features, especially the subterranean walk into the “womb”
On our second evening in Kyoto, we sat by the side of the River Kano drinking Japanese beer. Around us young couples were chatting away and taking selfies. Behind us, on the restaurant terraces, older couples were enjoying rāmen and kane-yo donburi

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