Tag Archives: shrines

Kyoto- Temples and Shrines (Part 2)

Part one of our Kyoto day tour consisted of Nijo Castle and the Golden Pavillion. For the second part of our tour, we visited the Heian Shrine and the Kiyomizu Temple.

Heian Shrine:

The Heian Shrine is a Shinto shrine in Kyoto. You can identify these shrines by their red-orange color. The Heian shrine was located in a very large complex.

DSC05684Main Entrance 

DSC05688Corner Building 

DSC05689The Heian Shrine

DSC05690Tiger Hand-washing Basin 

DSC05694Prayer Tree- Tie your prayers onto the tree 

Heian Shrine Garden:

As I said before, the Heian Shrine is located in a very large complex. Behind the shrine is a large, peaceful garden.

DSC05699Walking across the lake

 DSC05704Bridge over the lake 

DSC05706Bridge Entrance

DSC05708View of gardens from the bridge

Kiyomizu Temple:

The Kiyomizu Temple is a Buddhist temple on a hillside. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and is quite interesting. To get there, you have to walk up a pedestrian alley of shops. Once the shops end, you will see a three-tiered pagoda and can follow the stairs to the top.

DSC05731Pagoda in front of Kiyomizu Temple

 DSC05738View of Kiyomizu Temple 

DSC05743View of the temple from below 

DSC05748Purchased some green tea KitKats at one of the shops

Kyoto- Shrines and Temples (Part 1)

To give you a super-brief history lesson, Kyoto is the old imperial capital of Japan. If you came to Japan to see temples and shrines, you would do yourself a disservice by not coming to Kyoto. There are so many wonderful old buildings to see here, and most of the temples that you see in postcards were taken around this area, and not in Tokyo.

Kyoto is very different from Tokyo. The buildings are much older, and obviously it is a smaller town. Being in Kyoto makes you feel like you are walking through history. In fact, I was on a bus with a few pretentious Americans who complained that it felt “dingy” and “like a developing country”, when they obviously have never seen the true definition of either! While Kyoto is older, that also gives it some character. Don’t judge it. And don’t expect people to speak English here. It is a nice surprise if they do, but for the most part, English is not well-spoken in Kyoto. Even the hotel staff speaks limited English compared to Tokyo.

Alex and I went on a day tour in Kyoto, which took us around to the various temples and shrines in the area. While there are many to see, we had a brief two day stay in Kyoto and needed to see the “essentials”. So without further ado, here they are:

Nijo Castle

Nijo Castle was built in the 17th Century, by the Tokugawa Shoguns. The main building is famous for the nightingale floors, which were made to creak when walked on. They did this so that residents could be warned of any assassins who snuck into the building. DSC05631Nijo Castle DSC05632Gardens at Nijo Castle

Golden Pavillion

The Golden Pavillion is a Zen Buddhist Temple covered in gold leaf. It is a well-visited tourist spot, and definitely the busiest stop on our day tour. It can be viewed from several different angles, and also seen up-close. This picturesque temple is located in the midst of garden, making it a great spot for photos.

DSC05641Golden Pavillion

DSC05645Up-close view of gold leafing

DSC05650Amidst a sea of umbrellas

DSC05653Close-up of the Pavillion