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Japan 2 Photographs

Nijo Palm.jpg (75521 bytes) Bicycles.jpg (106321 bytes) Heian garden stream.jpg (93793 bytes)
The Nijo Castle Garden, located in central Kyoto. This tangled mess of bicycles looked out of place in orderly Japan. At the Heian Shrine Garden a path of stepping stones crosses a tranquil stream.
Nijo grounds.jpg (88186 bytes) Nijo grounds 2.jpg (72044 bytes) Close Kinkakuji.jpg (59349 bytes)
Many plant specimens line this walking lane at Nijo Castle. Also at Nijo Castle, I call these plants 'Porcupine' Trees. The Kinkakuji Temple, which is also known as the Golden Pavilion.
Bamboo Gate.jpg (101107 bytes) Nijo grounds 3.jpg (93969 bytes) Ancient hut.jpg (86710 bytes)
On the grounds of Nijo Castle, a pedestrian gate built by hand using hand-tied bamboo poles and strips. A beautiful place for an inner city walk is the Nijo Castle Gardens. A thatched hut built to historic specifications caught my attention.
Porcupine trees.jpg (81870 bytes) Rooted path.jpg (87607 bytes) Lantern Shrine.jpg (71425 bytes)
A Nijo Castle walk bordered with unusually colored and shaped trees. A garden path interrupted by the roots of a large pine tree. The Kasuga Lantern Shrine in Nara, Japan, the oldest capital located near Kyoto.
Steps.jpg (85822 bytes) Bamboo fence.jpg (111037 bytes) Neighborhood.jpg (47588 bytes)
The Japanese are masters of stonework, which they use to great effect to enhance their gardens. A hand-tied bamboo fence serves as a handsome border between walk and foliage. A typical view of a Japanese residential street. The houses are close together and the streets are narrow.
Gion Matsuri.jpg (83731 bytes) Parade wagon.jpg (85332 bytes) Ryoanji veranda.jpg (54706 bytes)
Street scene of annual Gion Matsuri Festival parade, which is held during the middle of July. The parade showcases dozens of these floats, which are pulled by large groups of men. The Ryoanji Temple veranda, where visitors over the centuries have sat and gazed at 15 mystical rocks embedded in gravel that has been raked into geometric patterns.
Nijo Gate.jpg (54345 bytes) Pheonix float.jpg (84672 bytes) Stone pagoda.jpg (61769 bytes)
Nijo Castle's ornate Karamon Gate, which was built in 1626, leads into the inner palace courtyard. The roof is shingled with cypress. A Gion Matsuri float shaped like a ship with a phoenix bird for a masthead. A two-tiered Bell Tower showcased on a pedestal of fine stonework. 
Kiyomizu Dori.jpg (70053 bytes) 3 story pagoda.jpg (72447 bytes) Nanzenji Temple.jpg (53823 bytes)
A view of the steep main shopping street that leads up to Kiyomizu Temple. An ancient three-storied pagoda, which is part of a larger temple complex. Atop the Nanzenji Temple gate where fine wood work has been polished by centuries of stocking feet.
Philosopher's Path.jpg (86292 bytes) Streetside altar.jpg (76978 bytes) Express Train.jpg (57996 bytes)
Yoshiko on the famous Philosopher's Path in eastern Kyoto. These ubiquitous stone Jizo statues sit in neighborhoods and near temples and shrines throughout Japan. Japan is a train country, so automobiles are optional. Here, an express train pulls into Kyoto station.
Ginkakuji cone.jpg (71824 bytes) Ginkakuji.jpg (46358 bytes) Ginkakuji grounds.jpg (69766 bytes)
The monks at Ginkakuji Temple rake and pile gravel into unique symbols. The cone reflects moonlight onto the garden. The Silver Pavilion, built in 1473, was supposed to be plated with silver, but for whatever reason it was never done. The meticulously landscaped grounds of the Silver Pavilion. Moss grows everywhere in humid Kyoto.
Ginkakuji crown.jpg (80639 bytes) Boat porch.jpg (55113 bytes) Moss garden.jpg (94696 bytes)
The crown of the Silver Pavilion peeks out from the verdant landscape, which proliferates in Kyoto's climate. A View of the boat porch from the back side of Kinkakuji Temple, or Gold Pavilion. The moss covered grounds in the Gold Pavilion Temple complex.

Ryoanji Tree support.jpg (150726 bytes)

Nara Deer.jpg (136474 bytes) Vending Machines.jpg (122140 bytes)
A tree propped up and prevented from toppling over into the immense Ryoanji Temple pond. Reddish orange Shinto gates hide behind garden evergreens. Beloved Nara City deer roam freely throughout the city, but most congregate near the sprawling central city park. Clean vending machines keep drinks at just the right temperature and are on every other corner. Here, they sell drinks, cigarettes, and liquor.

Gion Matsuri Crowd.jpg (119453 bytes)

Bath-Shower.jpg (91361 bytes) Todaiji Temple.jpg (167687 bytes)
In populous Japan, I braved the street crowds of 1.3 million revelers during mid July's Gion Matsuri Festival in Kyoto. During festival evenings, lighted floats and organizational treasures are on display and vendors sell food and other goods in street stalls. A 1960's era home bath. A hand-held shower is taken on the blue pad, then you rinse, remove the cedar cover, and enter the tub. Several baths are taken over a couple of days before the natural gas heated water is drained and replenished. Todaiji Temple, located in Nara near Kyoto and founded in 745, is one of the largest wooden buildings in the world. Built with no nails, it houses the famous 49 ft. tall seated Buddha.

Gold Pavilion Garden.jpg (118965 bytes)

Gion Matsuri Parade Men.jpg (99369 bytes) Todaiji Supporting Buddha.jpg (137129 bytes)
The great pond and garden from behind the famous Golden Pavilion Temple. Its real gold leaf facade shimmers in the sunlight. Dressed in ancient garb, these men are participants in the main parade of the Gion Matsuri Festival held during mid July in Kyoto. One of a pair of 10 ft. tall seated Buddhas that flank the gigantic Daibutsu Buddha inside the monumental Todaiji Temple in Nara.

Tenryuji.jpg (218541 bytes)

Tenryuji Pond.jpg (158782 bytes) Tenryuji Patrons.jpg (188915 bytes)
Overlooking Tenryuji Temple, which originated in 1339 as a Zen complex. It is located in the Arashiyama area of Kyoto. The pond and hillside on the back side of Tenryuji Temple's main Hojo building. The pond reflects circling plants around a great pond, a traditional Zen garden style. Japanese enjoy visiting temples during the fall to view the changing colors. Here, a group strolls amongst the fall splendor at Tenryuji Temple.

Nara Lane.jpg (134501 bytes)

Todaiji Great Temple.jpg (129279 bytes) Nara School Girls.jpg (141680 bytes)
Yoshiko and parents stroll near Horyuji Temple in Nara. Nara was the oldest capital of Japan and showcases many early temple complexes and gardens. Todaiji Temple, the largest wooden building in the world at 157 ft. in height, houses the 15 meter gilded bronze Daibutsu Buddha, a National Treasure which dates to the 8th century. In Nara, a group of girls dressed in blue school uniforms take a break from their studies to view fall foliage.

Cemetery of Stone.jpg (211782 bytes)

Okochi Sanso Villa.jpg (169492 bytes) Ryoanji Temple Gounds.jpg (215219 bytes)
A forest cemetery of stone tombs, lanterns, fences, walls, and stairs. The Okochi Sanso Villa was home to a famous Japanese silent film star and overlooks Kyoto from Mt. Ogura in Arashiyama. Small gardens and strolling areas in the inner recesses of Ryoanji Temple, home of the famous 15 stone and raked gravel Zen garden.

Kinkakuji Boat Porch.jpg (167800 bytes)

Kinkakuji Bell House.jpg (229511 bytes) Kinkakuji Jizo.jpg (180864 bytes)
A view of the boat porch and great pond from the rear of the world renown Golden Pavilion Temple. On the grounds of the Golden Pavilion, this small Bell temple is obscured behind crimson colored Maple trees. A group of stone Jizo, located near the Golden Pavilion, memorialize deceased babies and fetuses.

Ninna-ji Strolling Lane.jpg (159741 bytes)

Ninnaji Gates.jpg (138567 bytes) Ryoanji Jungle.jpg (211834 bytes)
A colorful strolling lane inside the sprawling Ninnaji Temple complex in northern Kyoto. At Ninnaji, the walled compound is broken at predetermined places by ancient gates, some which are closed to the public. Although the Ryoanji complex appears to be a dense jungle, upon closer inspection everything is masterly under control and well placed.

Riverside Neighborhood.jpg (126693 bytes)

Train Schoolgirls.jpg (92501 bytes) Japan Driving.jpg (161240 bytes)
Near Byodoin Temple, a housing neighborhood sits between the Uji River and the mountains that shelter Kyoto on three sides. School girls on a Kyoto train. Japan is so safe, I saw ten-year-olds on the train alone after midnight. Driving on the left on Japanese streets can be challenging. Exterior side mirrors are hinged and can be folded out of the way.

Byodoin Bell.jpg (181845 bytes)

Byodoin Bell 2.jpg (202809 bytes) Uji River.jpg (119894 bytes)
The 5 ft. tall Byodoin Temple Buddhist Bell, one of the finest in appearance and sound in Japan, and a National Treasure. The Buddhist Bell National Treasure hanging in its shelter on the grounds of Byodoin Temple, which was built in the 10th century. The Uji River flows near the Byodoin Temple complex in southern Kyoto.

Kasuga Lantern Shrine.jpg (168841 bytes)

Kasuga Shrine Stone Lanterns.jpg (163039 bytes) Heian Torii Gate.jpg (123413 bytes)
The Kasuga Shinto Shrine in the foothills of western Nara dates to 710. Some of the 2,000 stone and 1,000 Brass lanterns date to 1324. Ancient stone lanterns at the Kasuga Taisha Shinto Shrine, one of the most famous in Japan. Lanterns were donated by common people of faith. An 80 ft. torii gate announces the Heian Jingu Shinto Shrine in Kyoto. Torii gates mark Shinto complexes and separate the finite world from the infinite world of the gods.

Nigatsudo Hall 2.jpg (158697 bytes)

Nigatsudo Hall.jpg (139093 bytes) Nara.jpg (126247 bytes)
Nigatsudo Hall, founded in 752, is noted for its raised veranda supported by pillars and the fantastic view it offers of Nara City. Overlooking Nara in the western foothills, Nigatsudo Hall is part of the Todaiji Temple complex. This is the temple veranda. View of Nara, the first capital of Japan from 710 to 784. This photograph was taken from the veranda of Nigatsudo Hall, shown in the photo on the left. 

Nigatsudo Hall Panorama.jpg (148920 bytes)

Nigatsudo Lane.jpg (184192 bytes) Todaiji Lane.jpg (122996 bytes)
The Nigatsudo Hall veranda overlooks the temple complex, Nara City, and the roof of Todaiji Temple in the distance. A stonework lane that leads gently uphill to Nigatsudo Hall Temple, which is visible through the trees in the distance. A stone lane skirts the east side of the great Todaiji Temple complex in Nara. The building does double duty as a temple compound wall.

Temple Garden.jpg (121933 bytes)

Tofukuji Building.jpg (103202 bytes) Tofukuji Sanmon Gate.jpg (127091 bytes)
The interior space within a temple building can be opened to expose the wood veranda that overlooks an exterior garden. A rather large building on the grounds of the Tofukuji Temple complex, which was founded in 1236 in Kyoto. At Tofukuji Temple, the Sanmon Gate, which was completed in 1425, is considered the oldest and finest Zen gate in Japan. 

Tofukuji Zen Rock Garden.jpg (137519 bytes)

Tofukuji Southern Garden.jpg (127856 bytes) Tofukuji Southern Garden 2.jpg (144888 bytes)
The rocks in the southern Zen garden at Tofukuji Temple symbolize islands, and the moss covered mounds at the far end represent sacred mountains. The east end of the southern garden at Tofukuji Temple as viewed from the wood veranda that skirts its perimeter. A view back from the other direction from the west end of the southern garden at Tofukuji Temple.

Tofukuji Western Garden.jpg (131856 bytes)

Tofukuji Grounds.jpg (158746 bytes) Tofukuji Valley.jpg (203007 bytes)
The western garden at Tofukuji Temple is composed of moss and Azalea shrubs, which represent the checkered pattern of divided land in China.   At Tofukuji Temple there are many beautiful formal gardens, but even the public areas are exceptionally landscaped. At left of center, a path leads to a covered bridge which spans the deep valley at Tofukuji Temple, which is a fantastic place to view color in the fall.

Tofukuji Valley 2.jpg (180782 bytes)

Tofukuji Moss Garden 2.jpg (140959 bytes) Garbage Truck.jpg (136380 bytes)
An expansive view of the Tofukuji Temple valley which is overlooked by a covered bridge. A shady moss garden on the grounds of the Tofukuji Temple complex. A residential garbage truck is not much bigger than an American pickup truck.

Concrete Mixers.jpg (106752 bytes)

Temple Tree Arborist.jpg (166093 bytes) Enoshima Jizo.jpg (146368 bytes)
A fleet of miniature concrete trucks waits in line to off load concrete at a work site. An arborist takes extraordinary measures to prune a specimen tree at a temple complex. On Enoshima Island, Jizo statues are lovingly tended as memorials to deceased babies and fetuses.

Jizo Memorial Court.jpg (138207 bytes)

Begging Monk.jpg (107227 bytes) Kamakura Buddha 3.jpg (147427 bytes)
A Jizo Memorial Court at the top of a mountain on Enoshima Island near Kamakura. On a street corner in Yokohama's Chinatown, a monk begs for alms. The Great Buddha of Kamakura was cast from bronze in 1252 and weighs 850 tons.


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Copyright 2003 by Daniel L. Hagerman. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Jan 2009 14:02:03 -0500 .