Today revealed the highlights of Kyoto, Japan’s capital from 794 to 1868 that was spared destruction during World War II.
We began at 16th-century Ryoan-ji Temple (ca. 1540), where we saw the dry garden of sand and rocks (kare-sansui), a marvel of classic Japanese design. The simplicity of its 15 rocks belies a complex symbolism which its designer never revealed – but whatever the meaning, we’re sure to feel the calm that the garden is meant to instill.
The story of the garden is as follows: You can only count 14 rocks in the image, and you can only see 14 rocks from any single perspective, however, if you go to the far side of the garden you can see the 15th stone – the hidden stone – reminding us that only if we view the world from the perspective of others can we see the whole picture.
A very lovely sentiment displayed in a very gentle and permanent way as re minder for life to those who viewed the garden. A reminder that no one single view can always be right.
Ok – now for those of you that know me personally you know that I have a vegetable garden at my home in Arizona. I’ve been having problems with my 3 troublemakers (Thor, Mavi, and Shade) eating my sweatpeas in the garden (those are MY Sweetpeas! Grrr) So, when I saw this fence I realized that I want to build this at my home! I think it will help keep out my little monsters!
Our next stop was Kinkaku-ji, the lakeside Temple of the Golden Pavilion originally constructed in the 14th century as a retirement villa and later converted to a temple. Burned to the ground by a fanatic in 1950, the temple has been entirely reconstructed
following the original design, and is covered in gold leaf from Kanazawa all the way up to the upper floors. Its setting on pillars suspended over the water makes it one of Kyoto’s most inspired – and inspiring – sights.
OK – I HAD to include this picture. I have to admit that I can get really upset about this. (I know, I know, they say it’s a reflection of self to get upset, and certainly it is in this case – I feel I spend WAYYYY too much time on the internet for sure!). Really ladies? Really? You are in this lovely park, amazing surroundings, and they sat there for the 15 mins I was staring at this lovely garden literally heads down in their phones. Amazing! Jeez!! I read an article the other day talking about how the average adult spends 4 YEARS of their lives staring into their phones by the time they are 30 years old. 4 YEARS!!! I think, other than doing my posts, I need to get out in the real world more and get off of the internet! OK – enough ranting! Sorry!
On to the next adventure of the day! After this lovely place of calm and peace (yes, breathe! Calm and Peace!) we then went on to the 17th-century Nijo-jo, the medieval castle of the first Tokugawa Shogun, containing “nightingale” floors that squeak to signal the presence of intruders.
The nightingale floors were amazing! Since the Shogun lived here most of the time he wanted to know when ANYONE in the castle moved, at ANY time, so he had the floor boards intentionally installed in such a way that they squeaked. There was NO way you were going to sneak up on the Shogun! Do you see the little wooden piece? It allowed the floors to stay in place but still “squeak.”
We ended this full day at Kodaiji Temple to attend a tea ceremony. Both a state of mind (calm and content) and performance art prizing ritual and grace above all, the traditional tea ceremony to this day represents the principles of harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility encouraged by Master Sen no Rikyu, who perfected the ritual Zen practice when tea first was brought to Japan from China in the 16th century.