Friday, May 25, 2012

Cherry Blossoms at Nanzen-ji

Sanmon, Nanzen-ji
At the southern part of the Philosopher's Path, you can find one of the great zen temples in Kyoto, the Nanzen-ji or Southern Zen Temple. Established in 1291 by Emperor Kameyama as a villa and later converted into a temple. As one of the most important Rinzai temple in Japan, it attracts a lot of people for its scenic beauty and calm atmosphere.

The San-mon (Triple Gate), a massive gateless gate which symbolizes the entrance, is the most sacred part of the temple. Visitors may climb up to its top balcony and have a great view of the temple and city of Kyoto for Y300.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Toji Temple Flea Market

Every 21st of the month, Toji Temple host a huge outdoor market known as Kobo-san, named after the founder of the temple, Kobo Daishi who died on the 21st of March. From 9am - 4:30pm, stalls are set up and sells variety of items in the spacious ground of the temple. From antiques, pottery, plants, crafts, clothes likes used kimono, foods and even bicycles!

There are so many to choose from and each stall sells unique items from one to another at a good price. Some items can be negotiate to lower the price too. This flea market is not only popular to Japanese but also to foreigners where they can buy good souvenir items. Wasn't it nice to shop while sightseeing? 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Temple of Golden Pavilion

Yearly, almost 30 million tourist from all over the world visit the city of Kyoto for its magnificent temples, shrines, castles and gardens which have been preserved for many years. One of the most famous destination not only in Kyoto but in whole Japan is the Temple of the Golden Pavilion. I believe that your travel in Japan is not complete without visiting this place which should not be miss by every tourist in Japan.

As you enter the main gate, you cannot avoid the number of people wanted to get inside the temple grounds. Most of the visitors are elementary students in Japan having a school trip or a large group of foreigners which makes the place very crowded. But still, entering inside is very easy and organized. Admission fee is worth Y400. 
Golden Pavilion reflecting wonderfully in its pond.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Daitoku-ji, The Zen Temple

While I was strolling in the northwest of Kyoto, I found this large Buddhist temple complex known as Daitoku-ji Temple also called as Ryuho-zan which means "dragon treasure mountain". Established in the year 1319 by Shoho Myocho, Daitokuji is one of the best place to experience the Zen culture architecture including gardens and tea ceremony rooms. Like many temples in Kyoto, the temple was burned down during the Onin war and rebuilt in the 15th century.


Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Nijo Castle, Home of the Shoguns

I have been to Japan so many times but it was actually my first time to have a tour in the Nijo Castle, a historical landmark in Kyoto. At first I was expecting that the castle would be look like the other huge castle in Japan. However, this one is different but it didn't disappoint me and I was quite impress.

Ninomaru Palace of Nijo Castle  

Monday, May 14, 2012

A Thousand Shinto Shrines

One of the most important shrines in Kyoto along with Heian Shrine, Kamigamo Shrine, Shimagamo Shrine and Yasaka Jinja, is the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Famous for its stunning thousand vermilion torii or shrine gates which forms a pathway up to top of Inari Mountain where you can a decent view of the city of Kyoto. The shrine honors the deity of rice, sake and prosperity called Inari which draw business people for the success of their enterprise.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

The Kyoto Aquarium

While I was watching TV, I saw the advertisement of the newest attraction in Kyoto called "Kyoto Aquarium" which opened last March 12, 2012. This large scale aquarium exhibits various  marine wildlife and offers interaction with the aquatic life. At the very next day, I check it out with my mom and my little brother since he doesn't have school and it's the last day of Golden Week, the longest vacation period in Japan. It is just one train ride from our home and 15 minutes walk from the Kyoto Station or you can take a bus to get there faster.