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Posts Tagged ‘Saisho-in’

Sunday, December 14

This is my last full day in Japan. I have mixed feelings about leaving, but I am sure it’s the right thing to do. As each day ends I think I’ve really seen everything I need to see and there is no reason to remain. Then the next day I find something new and wonderful. A small part of me wants to remain, but I know it is really time to go home. So this will be my last post from Japan. There will be more posts and pictures after I return to Pittsburgh and have the use of my Mac instead of this toy I’ve been working on. I want to thank Mage in particular, and all of you who have commented on my photographs. Because of the size of this computer screen I really have only a poor idea of what I’ve been posting. I can’t wait to see the photos on my big monitor.

I found a good way to get to that mythical temple, and this morning I did it. Taking the subway, instead of a bus I was able to get to within five minutes walk of the temple entrance. There were many English directional signs in the subway station. Just outside the station the sign had an arrow indicating walk straight then turn right. The first possible right turn takes you through a little tunnel with no additional signage; another path to take on faith.

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The temple, Nanzenji, is one of those large complexes with many sub-temples. It’s in a beautiful area next to the mountains on the east side of Kyoto. There were relatively few tourists when I arrived before ten this morning. The weather was somewhat threatening and considerably cooler than yesterday. I entered the complex and walked past all of the sub-temples until I reached Nanzenji itself, where I went through the Hojo (abbot’s living quarters) and viewed the garden, again only from the building.

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This is such a wonderful location. No matter where you look there is something beautiful—the mountains frame everything you see. The next place I went, Nanzen-in, had no English signs, but I had memorized the location from the large sight-seeing map as you enter. Before you enter the garden you go under this amazing Roman-style aqueduct, part of the Biwako Canal.

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This was a wonderful stroll garden. As I walk through these gardens I am just overwhelmed by their beauty.

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Leaving Nanzen-in I noticed the aqueduct seemed to end just up a nearby slope. I walked up to see it; the water comes from the ground and is carried across a valley.

End of the aqueduct

End of the aqueduct

Then I found another garden, Saisho-in. This little sign in the garden tells a lot about these gardens and Japanese culture.

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Back down in the valley I found another garden: Tenjuan, also very special.

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The last garden was part of the Konchi-in sub-temple. This one really required more thought and contemplation than I was willing to give. It is lovely, but I can’t say I fully understood it.

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I was getting very cold and had enough garden for the day. I got back on the subway and went to find lunch and do a little more shopping.

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