Glittering glorious temple

Next on our tourist hit list is the shimmering, glittering glory of The Temple of the Golden Pavillion.

This beautiful slice of golden glory is known as Kinkaku-ji meaning the “Temple of the Golden Pavilion” but it is officially named Rokuon-ji “Deer Garden Temple”

It is a Zen Buddhist temple in Kyoto and is a glorious sight when the sunlight reflects off its gilded surfaces.

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The present building dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt after the original was burnt to the ground.

It’s three stories high, approximately 12.5 meters in height and functions as a shariden, a building that houses important relics of the Buddha.

The use of lots of gold is important because of its underlying meaning.

The gold is used to mitigate and purify any pollution or negative thoughts and feelings towards death

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The Pavilion is set in a beautiful garden which uses the idea of borrowing of scenery (“shakkei”)

Shakkei is a traditional East Asian garden design principle which incorporates background landscape into the composition of a garden.

The pavilion extends over Kyōko-chi, the Mirror Pond, that reflects the building giving you a double hit of its shiny wonderfulness.

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The temple is a must see on the sightseeing itinerary, which means that it does get very busy with other temple baggers.

But if you like bling and if you like temples, then it’s definitely worth braving the hordes!

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Kiyomizu-dera Temple

Kiyomizu-dera Temple is a brightly coloured, busy temple in the heart of Kyoto’s tourist district. It’s one of the most visited temples in the city so prepare for crowds!

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This orange and green beacon of worship is thronged with visitors who swarm up its steps from the neighbouring shopping streets.

Over 1200 years have passed since the foundation of Kiyomizu-dera Temple and it is sited halfway up Mt. Otowa, one of the peaks in Kyoto’s Higashiyama mountain range.

Visitors and locals alike come to pay their respects to Kannon, a deity of great mercy and compassion.

It takes its name from the waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water.

As we arrive late in the day we don’t enter the actual main temple, we have a snoot around the exterior and enjoy the sun setting with hundreds of other folk.

We’ll return later on in the trip to enter the main complex and enjoy the main hall that juts out over a sheer drop with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.

 

Purification and Ema

Heading back in the Senso-ji temple grounds for one final snoot around we find more delightful details.

A Tori gate leads the way to Asakusa Shrine also known as Sanja-sama “Shrine of the Three gods”.

The shrine honours the three men who founded the Sensō-ji.

Another of my favourite new photo subjects are the multitude of wooden plaques found at temples.

Known as Ema (絵馬) Shinto worshippers write their prayers or wishes on them and leave them hanging up at the shrine. Here the kami (spirits or gods) are believed to receive them. They have various pictures – often animals or other Shinto imagery.

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Fantastical glided beasts adorn and guard Asakusa shrine from the tourist hoards.

All shrines have a purification fountain usually found the entrance and visitors follow a strict ritual.

The purification ritual is usually as shown above – take one of the ladles provided, fill it with fresh water and rinse both hands. Then transfer  water into your cupped hand, rinse your mouth and spit the water beside the fountain.

The man follows the rules to the letter!

Above are the vibrant flags at Zenizuka Jizo Hall, a part of Senso-ji Temple, often visited by those who want to pray for their business to prosper.

Next up we encounter the bizarre raccoon dog that plays an key role in Japanese culture and has an “interesting” physical attribute . .