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Japan: Path of Philosophy

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Path of Philosophy | Japan | Asia

[Visited: December 2002]

Kyoto is full of sights and one of the cities in Japan meriting a longer visit. Out of many things to see, I selected a walk on an alley running along a canal on the eastern side of the city, called Path of Philosophy by scholars. It not only leads through quiet neighbourhoods, but also allows for visits of several temples along the way. At the end, it runs into the central area of Kyoto.

Picture of Path of Philosophy (Japan): Path of Philosophy, Kyoto

I first visited the Ginkakuji Temple on the northern side of the path. This Zen temple was established in 1482, according to the Japanese it marked the beginning of modern Japanese life. More than just a temple, this is a complex, including a garden, pond, artificial landscape and several temple buildings. First thing you notice as you leave the path behind high hedges, is the Fuji-like minitiature mountain, part of a carefully created artificial landscape. It is part of the garden and the pond, on which several temple buildings are located. Especially the white sand representing waves and a mountain are peculiar in their precise patterns.

Picture of Path of Philosophy (Japan): Elkando temple complex, Kyoto

Walking further south, you come across several temples, Honen-in and Anrakuji, before reaching Eikando Temple at the end. This complex is built against a hill, and the several buildings are linked by a boardwalk. The temple was founded in 855. Its main attraction is the Mikaeri-no-Amida, or Amida Buddha looking back over his shoulder. Also here, there is a little pond and a garden down below, there is another temple towering above the complex because it is located on a higher part of the hill.

Picture of Path of Philosophy (Japan): Garden in Elkando temple complex
Picture of Path of Philosophy (Japan): Garden in Ginkakuji Temple, Kyoto
Picture of Path of Philosophy (Japan): Ginkakuji Temple: Mount Fuji-shaped mountain
Picture of Path of Philosophy (Japan): Buddhist Hall in Ginkakuji Temple
Picture of Path of Philosophy (Japan): Kannonden in Ginkakuji Temple, Kyoto
Picture of Path of Philosophy (Japan): Waterfall in Ginkakuji Temple, Kyoto

Around the World in 80 Clicks

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