Kyoto – Part II: Enter The Buddha (and by “Buddha” I mean “Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara”)

Standard

We spent our second day in Kyoto exploring the area of Gion on our hostel’s side of the river. Starting at Yasaka Shrine, we trekked to Ryozen Kannon, Kiyomizudera and finally Ginkaku-ji. Not sure what that means? No big deal, that’s what I’m here for! Follooow meeeeee!

Early morning departures can be fun! Look at those smiling faces!

Early morning departures can be fun! Look at those smiling faces!

IMG_6732resized

Yasaka Shrine was only about a seven minute walk from our hostel and is where our day of sightseeing began.

IMG_6744

Maruyama Park

 IMG_6748 IMG_6771IMG_6774resizedIMG_6778resizedIMG_6781resizedIMG_6782resizedIMG_6785resized IMG_6793resized IMG_6800resized

IMG_6795resized
When we arrived to the Ryōzen Kannon, it began to rain. Fitting and beautiful. The concrete statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara commemorates the Japanese soldiers that died in WWII.

IMG_6803resizedIMG_6806resized IMG_6810resized

A monk saw us wander through in the rain, and approached us. He spoke in Japanese but used the English word “present” and returned with umbrellas for Katie and me, who had been caught unprepared for the rain. It was really kind. Then we struggled to maintain a conversation with him. He admired my camera and asked about why we were in Japan and where we were from, using some English but mostly Japanese. Then he informed us that we were welcome to enter the bodhisattva statue.

IMG_6817resized

Pictures taken inside the statue, above and below.

IMG_6819resized

IMG_6826-2resized IMG_6829resized

Also located on site is a memorial hall in honor of the unknown soldier.

The engraving seen in the photo above, left, reads:

“IN MEMORIAM THE WORLD’S UNKNOWN SOLDIER KILLED IN WORLD WAR II
“All honor to him, friend or foe, / Who fought and died for his country!
“May the tragedy of his supreme / Sacrifice bring to us, the living, / Enlightenment and inspiration; / Fill us with ever-mounting zeal / For the all-compelling quest of peace, / World peace and universal brotherhood.”

The sign above the filing cabinet in the above photo, right, reads: “Individual Names of Allied Personnel Who Perished in Territory under Japanese Jurisdiction during World War II”

The sign in the photo below, right, reads  “SOIL OR SAND DEDICATED FROM THE MILITARY CEMETERIES ALL OVER THE WORLD.”

IMG_6830resized IMG_6828resized

When we’d finished at the Ryozen Kannon, we pushed through the wind, rain and cold towards our next destination and along the way, found some warmth and shelter at a small vendor of sweet buns. We shared warm sakura (cherry blossom) filled buns. Then, later in our trek, as we approached Kiyomizu-dera, we found ourselves amidst many souvenir shops. Fortunately for us, many of them provide free samples of Japanese sweets, and sometimes tea as well! Usually vendors were outside offering samples of yatsuhashi, a famous souvenir sweet of Kyoto.

IMG_6846resized On our journey through the wind and rain, we sough shelter in a small shop and warmed up by sharing some warm sakura buns. IMG_6847 IMG_6855resized

This silly little sign was disregarded by every single visitor, of course.

This silly little sign was disregarded by every single visitor, of course.

This is the entrance to Kiyomizu-dera, a truly gorgeous Buddhist temple.

This is the entrance to Kiyomizu-dera, a truly gorgeous Buddhist temple.

IMG_6878resized

Red plum blossom sighting!

IMG_6904resized

The view from Kiyomizu-dera temple overlooks an orange pagoda resting in the mountains.

IMG_6916resized IMG_6958resized

Below Kyomizu-dera is a waterfall called Otowa-no-taki. Visitors catch the water and drink it “for health, longevity, and success in studies” – wikipedia
View of Kiyomizu-dera

View of Kiyomizu-dera

IMG_6938resized

After taking in the sights at Kiyomizu-dera, we hopped on a bus and headed to Ginkokuji. After that, we headed back to the hostel for some recuperation from our epic day journey. IMG_6962resized

Ginkaku-ji, "Temple of the Silver Pavillion"

Ginkaku-ji, “Temple of the Silver Pavillion”

IMG_6974resizedIMG_6963resized IMG_6981resizedIMG_6976resizedIMG_6987resizedIMG_6992resized IMG_7004resizedIMG_6998resizedIMG_7002resized

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s