sorry it took me some time to publish this new post but I spent my last days visiting the temples in Kyoto and they don’t have Wifi in there. I suppose it s because Buddha is not using Whatsapp 🙂
Everybody who already visited Kyoto knows that sightseeing there means running a temple marathon.
I won’t detail each visit but in 4 days, I visited a total of 9 temples:
Nishi honganji Temple
Higashi Honganji Temple
Nazenji temple followed by a walk on the philosophers’path to the Ginkakuji temple (silver pavillon)
In the arashiyama area: Daikakuji temple, Tenryuji temple
Then a short visit at the impressive Kinkakuji temple (golden pavillon)
followed by a visit of the Nijojo Castle and a walk in Imperial Palace Garden, where I could watch different teams playing baseball.
In some temples, I remember some elements of one book series I am reading at the moment and that I fully recommend: Tales of the Otory. The story is about the war between several clan in the feudal japan and the life of a young assassin involved in the different games of power.
One of the element is the nightingale floor. It is wooden floor made in a way that steps while walking on it makes a noise similar to the song of a nightingale bird. It was supposed to allow to hear enemies coming during the night.
Another one is the low ceiling in the meeting rooms and the corridors that were made to avoid swords to be drawn.
Believers have different ways to send their prayers to Buddha. One example is to write some lines on a paper and tie it to a tree. Another one is to write a wish on a small piece of wood and hang it on a board. I saw someting quite funny in one temple. A kid didn’t forget that christmas was coming soon and wrote a very special wish for himself 🙂
Kyoto has a lot more to offer than just temples. The city has a very relaxed atmosphere and some streets are full of small art gallery of cool fashion shops.
I took some time for cultural activities to get out of the sightseeing routine.
The first evening, I went to a show called Gear (http://www.gear.ac/en/). The story was about some androids that are reactivated after centuries to operate a robot doll factory. The show was a mix a dance,juggling and magic.
My geek side really appreciated it 🙂
On the second day, I had the chance to watch a free Noh theater play performed by students. It is a traditional japanese form of musical drama.
It was quite interesting to see the different costumes, masks, dance and musical instruments but difficult to follow without understanding any word 🙂
On the third day, after a whole day fighting with the crowd in the temples, I had once again the chance to watch a concert for free. This time it was a Koto concert. A koto is a traditional stringed instrument.
According to Wikipedia it is similar to the Chinese zheng, the Mongolian yatga, the Korean gayageum, and the Vietnamese đàn tranh. Ok I wrote this for fun, as I absolutely have no clue what those instruments are. However you can check on the pictures to see how a koto looks like 🙂
I really enjoyed my stay in Kyoto. The city has a human size (1.5 millions inhabitants) and is very “art” oriented. This already starts at the train station, where the whole building is an architecture masterpiece. During my stay, it was decorated with christmas lights and a huge tree.
It also has some similarities with Munich, like the huge number of bikes on the streets and the easy to use public transportation network.