Thursday, November 13, 2014

Kyoto Day 4

After the previous day's laziness we decided to get up early and get moving.  We headed towards some lesser traveled temples again.  The day started out with a train ride and then a walk through a bamboo forest.  There were quite a few people at the beginning of the walk but they thinned out rather quickly.  We came across a pond there there was a heron that seemed content to pose while I took his picture.

We went to Gioji Temple at the recommendation from our friends the previous night at dinner.  It was great.  It was off the beaten path and beautiful.   Unfortunately, my lack of knowledge on my new camera showed with these pictures and I'm not really happy with the lighting on them.  It was dim and green and serene and many of the pictures feel over exposed for me.  Here's what I got that I feel best captures this place.

Fallen leaves on the moss.  Everything was covered with different types of mosses.  They had pots off to the side showing all the different varieties of moss, I think there were about a dozen.  

The maple trees over the mossy ground.

A small fountain.

A little old lady sweeping the leaves off of the moss.
 I apologize now for my indulgence in my love of fall leaves.

 We then headed off to Diakakuji Temple.  It was a very pleasant surprise.  We knew nothing about it prior to going but it was free admission with our ticket from Gioji so we decided to make the trek and check it out.  It was a huge complex of buildings that were linked together with covered wooden walkways.  The whole thing was shoes off.  The floors were perfectly smooth, not sock snares.  The complex was used as a vacation home for some of the emperors of Japan back when the capital was Kyoto.  The best part was the nightingale floor.  Some of you might have read some sort of historical fiction or book with ninjas in it that talks about a room or a building with nightingale floors.  They are wooden floors that are designed to make noise when walked on.  They make a small squeak or chirp.  Jeff and I waited until no one was around then took turns trying to be ninja and walk on the floors without making any noise.  Both of us managed to walk a little quieter with practice but neither of us succeeded in silence.  It was a ton of fun!

This is from our walk between temples.  It was pretty farm land.

Rooms connected by covered wooden flooring.

This long hallway is where we tried to walk quietly.  We both decided that we probably shouldn't try to change our profession to Ninja.
After exploring the inside, we got our shoes back and took a walk around the lake behind the temple and some bamboo groves.

Across the lake back towards the temple.

Bamboo.  These are about 4-6 inches across at the base.

Jeff with the bamboo curving over the path above him.
We then headed back to the train and went towards Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion.  This was one of those places that pretty much everyone sees when they go to Kyoto.  I expected large crowds but not to be overly impressed.  I was wrong, well, half wrong.  It was crowded but it really was stunning.  I think we hit the lighting just right and lucked out but the temple seemed to almost glow.  It is gold leaf that has been lacquered over.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Another heron that was feeling photogenic.
Wow!  What a day.  Sorry for the long blog, it's making me tired just remembering it all.  We headed back to our hotel, got cleaned up and went out to dinner.  We found a tiny Italian place that was great.  It actually tasted like Italian food not Japanese food with some tomatoes.  This is from our walk to dinner.  

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