*118* postcards from Japan, Kyoto (part 3)

Monday morning, second week of school. No 3 has already destroyed his school shoes, admittedly they weren’t new, but I’d only bought them in May last year.

Sigh.

Also he thought that telling me on the Monday morning 5 minuted before we’re due to leave was a better option than owning up on Friday after school. I have a feeling he was opting for a ‘confess and run’ scenario rather than the ‘we have the weekend to sort it out’ one. Bad choice, dude. I threatened to buy him steel cap shoes next.

Sigh.

To console myself I’m making myself a Japanese inspired breakfast, rice, miso soup and eggs. Such a gentle way to start the day/week… and then let’s get back to Kyoto…

For our last full day we took a long taxi ride to the Golden Pavillion. While most of the big sites are walking distance from each other (I consider walking distance up to 30 min…) there are others that require buses or taxi, which are obviously more expensive but save you lots of time when you’re running low on that. In Tokyo we used the subway all the time, in Kyoto we walked or took a taxi, it was also unfathomably hot and humid that the idea of waiting for a bus in the sun… just didn’t click for us!)

The Golden Pavillion – or Kinkaku-ji – is quite an amazing sight: the building is really pretty and in a idyllic location in a perfectly manicured pond… but then they went and cover it with gold leaf and it’s just amazing. It is actually a pagoda made to house the sacred relics of the Buddha, and this is sadly an exact replica of the original which was burnt down by a monk who was obsessed by it. On the website you can read its long history but what I like the most about the place is that the principle that the buildings and gardens of Japanese temples reflect the Buddhist worldview. Simply by visiting a temple and experiencing its environment, one comes into contact with the teachings of Buddhism in a form even more convincing than sermons or lectures on Buddhist doctrine.

rustic tea room in the grounds of the temple

In for a temple… in for another, right?

Back in town we visited the Daitoku-ji temple complex… only a few were open to the public, but the whole area was refreshingly non busy, so you could really feel the zen tranquillity in the air (hot/humid air…)

At sunset we walked back through the Gion area hoping to see Maikos heading to work, no such luck, but we were rewarded nonetheless by a golden sunset

Glorious ending to our last day in Kyoto

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