Our first day walking we managed 9 miles not bad for being up around 36 hours!! What we noticed walking around there was very few westerners and no Chinese (normally millions of them!) but lots of Japanese tourists so 99% Japanese 1% westerners and we did not come across any English tourists! So, on that note we decided to go back to the Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion hoping it would be fairly quiet regarding the crowds being there.
After a good night’s sleep no jet lag we set off catching the direct bus to the Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion, which is about a 45minute bus ride. It was a lovely sunny morning about 16c shorts and tee shirt weather! well for us as everyone else had their winter coats on!!
On arrival to the Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion it was noticeably quieter than the last time we visited in 2019 so it did not take long to get that perfect shot with no one in the frame. As we walked into the grounds and got our first glimpse of the Pavilion it was still as impressive even though we have been lucky enough to have saw it before…Its simply stunning! The grounds and landscape the Pavilion is set in all adds to its attraction. If you ever visit Kyoto this is a must see.
Kinkakuji is a Zen Temple and is situated in the north of Kyoto, and receives it’s golden colour from the gold leaf that covers it’s top two floors. Before being a Zen Temple, Kinkakuji was a retirement villa for the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and had the different name of Rokuonji. After his death in 1408 it became a Zen Temple.
From a horticulturist point of view and in particular the Black, Red pines and Acer trees, it’s fantastic how they maintain these trees with this garden having a lake with black pines on small islands they use a little boat to go out to them. The black pines would have been candle cut in June to allow back budding and to keep the branches short. They also remove all the old needles around now in the Autumn leaving about 5 pairs remaining. Interesting to see the difference in the maintenance between the black and red pines.
After a lunch break we had a 15 minute walk to our next item on our itinerary, which was the Imamiya Jinja Shrine and the Daitoku-ji Temple. These are fantastic religious (Buddhism) historic buildings, which are very impressive to see. They are still being used for worship today in fact there was an actual wedding taking place with all the tourists watching on as the ceremony walked into the grounds to the Shrine. Again, within the grounds there are some meticulously maintained Black and Red Pine trees, which we photographed for reference to shape and style our Niwaki (ornamental) Pine trees.
We moved on and carried on walking to our next location, The Kamo Shrines, which are the Shimogamo and Kawigamo Shrines, taking about 30 minutes through interesting streets full of architecture. These Shrines were set within a heavy tree lined area consisting of Black and Red Pines, loads of mature Acer trees and a few large Juniper trees. Interestingly on the way out there was a very large local fair with stalls either side of a long road this was packed with local people and Japanese tourists. Walking out we had to cross over a small stream and I noticed a fish `topping` the surface on looking closer being a fly fisherman expecting to sea a trout! To our amazement we saw two Kojaku’s. We’ve spotted Koi in rivers before but to see two solitary Kujaku`s and in not too bad of a condition and quality was amazing!
After a few pictures we headed back to our hotel catching a bus back to our hotel, which was about a 20 minute bus ride back. Quick freshen up and we were off out again for a meal, tonight we revisited an Okonomiyaki restaurant we had been to before as the food is so delicious!
In total we walked just over 7 miles.
Stephen & Anthony
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