Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Japan Winter Trip - 21st Jan 2007

Day 2 : Kyoto - Hirashimaya area & Path of Philosophy
We went to Kyoto from Osaka using Keihan Electric Line at about 10am. At about 11am, we arrived at Shichijo Station and headed to Sanjosangen-do Temple. As we walked down Shichi-jo (7th road), it is immediately apparent to me that Kyoto is huge and well-organized city. The road towards Sanjosangen-do Temple is facing the hilly part of Kyoto where all the gems of Japanese temples are located. Having the list of world heritage sites that I wish to cover in mind, I know that today I am going to be presented with the best of Japan. In fact, it is said that Japanese have two extremes (strength) - cultural & technologically. Contrary to the nature of my work, this visit to the Land of The Rising Sun is more concentrated on her cultural and arts side. If your purpose of visit is like mine, you must not miss Kyoto. In fact, if you have limited time, you should even allocate more of your time in Kansai area (Kyoto, Nara, Himeji, Osaka).

Sanjosangen-do (1200-1230 / 600Yen / ~30 minutes)
Sanjosangen-do (a hall of thirty-three bays) temple, a National Treasure, is founded in 1164 AD during the era of Emperor Goshirakawa who was a pious devotee to Kannon Bodhisattva (Buddha). As soon as I entered the hall, the voice of Japanese monk chanting filled the hall. The hightlight of this hall is the vast altar where 1001 golden kannons are arranged in lines. The altar spans across 33 bays hence the name of this hall. One marvellous fact that I notice is each of the Kannons has different faces despite they deceitfully look the same. In the middle of the altar sits the huge golden buddha where Japanese devotees will knee down with their two hands closed together to pray. I must admit that this hall is spectacular and I highly recommend you to visit it although it is not listed in the walking tour map of Hirashimaya area provided by JNTO.

Outside the long hall is a simple Japanese garden with huge bell, archways and trees. This winter morning is pleasantly bright and my buddy Stanley took a paranomic view of the hall outside as shared below. Also, the long range beside the hall was used for archery practice in the past. In fact during the Toh-shiya Contest of Japanese Archery, this place still host some 2000 visitors to view the young women dressed in beautiful kimono participate in the contest.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple (1300-1330pm/ 300Yen)

Sannenzaka Slope and Ninenzake Slope

Kodaiji Temple ()

Chion-in Temple (1400-1420)

Heian Shrine (1500-1530)

Nanzenji Temple (1600-1630)

Nyakuoji Shrine (1645-1700) & Path of Philosophy (1700-1730)

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