Monday, April 8, 2013

A sunny day in Kyoto

 Started out on a walk to Nijo Castle- our taxi ride back at the end of that part of our day showed how far we had walked to the castle.
We walked around the gardens first and then did the unorthodox thing of going back to look through the palace.
Nijo - jo Castle was constructed in 1603 as the residence of Tokugawa Ieyasu. Ninomaru Palace (a National Treasure), built in the shoin-zukuri (library-style) of samurai of the Momoyama Period, contains gorgeous paintings on the walls and sliding doors. It was here that the last shogun, Tokugawa Yoshinobu, restored the emperor to his ancient seat of power in 1867. Located at the site of the former Honmaru Palace, destroyed by fire in the 18th century, is the actual Honmaru Palace (an Important Cultural Property), which was moved from the former Katsura-no-Miya Palace of the Imperial Palace, preserving the dignity of the original detached palace.

 It has "nightingale floors. The Nightingale floor was laid in Nijo Castle for added security.  To guard against intrusion into the Castle by suspicious and dangerous persons like ninja, the floor was designed to sing like a nightingale.  The sound is different from that heard in older houses, because of the different way the floor was laid.  By suspending the floor above the frame using special iron clamps, the floor can move up and down over the fixing nails when walked upon.  This causes the nails to rub against the wood and create a sound similar to the cheeping of a nightingale.  All the floors in the castle, from the entrance to Ohiroma, are this type of floor.  Nick said he could walk on it without it making a squeak or chirp- brought out his inner Ninja.

 We caught a taxi to Kinkakuji. Known as ...the Golden Pavilion ... Rokuon - ji Temple was originally built as a villa by Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, who had taken possession of a mountain villa of Saionji Temple in 1397. It was converted into a temple after Yoshimitsu's death. Officially named Rokuonji Temple, this temple is famous both in Japan and abroad as a symbol of Kitayama culture. 

The Kinkaku, or "Golden Pavilion," was built as the Shariden. Covered with gold, the image of the pavilion, which stands at the edge of Kyokochi pond, is reflected in the water. Major repair work performed in 1987 has further enhanced its brilliance.

Walking back through the grounds past the tea room people were taking advantage of the golden sunlight- such a change from yesterday. And these charming young women helped enhance the atmosphere of the experience.

  A walk to find lunch (soba noodles) and a bit more of a walk to Ryoanji Temple and rock garden. My favourite.
The Rinzai Zen temple Ryoanji -- Temple of the Peaceful Dragon -- was built in Kyoto in the late 1400s, and the garden may be nearly as old. Its fifteen moss-covered boulders are placed so that, viewed from any point, only fourteen of the boulders are visible. Tradition says only the enlightened see all fifteen boulders.
The garden invites us to contemplate imperfection and limitation. We may know there are fifteen stones, yet in the imperfect world we do not see them all.

Home now for an LLD- little lie down before a final shop for the day/ least until we get to the airport tomorrow.

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