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Ninomaru Garden.jpg (118879 bytes) Ninomaru Garden 2.jpg (101472 bytes) Sanjusangendo.jpg (109610 bytes)
The early 17th century Ninomaru Garden at Kyoto's Nijo Imperial Castle. The Shogun's private chamber overlooks the stones, islands, and pond of the Nijo Castle garden. Sanjusangendo, which means hall of 33 bays and dates to 1266, is 390 ft. long and houses over 1,000 life sized, golden Buddhist statues. 
Kiyomizu Short Pagoda.jpg (133256 bytes) Mountain Temple.jpg (136570 bytes) Neighborhood Stroll.jpg (132106 bytes)
At the Kiyomizu Temple complex, a gardener tends to a hillside below the west Benevolent King's Gate. In western Kyoto near Kiyomizu Temple, just below a mountain peak the Koyasu-no-to pagoda pokes through the dense greenery above the city. This is not a park or a garden, but a small stream that meanders through Uji, a suburban area of Kyoto, which typifies Japanese neighborhood  landscaping.
Nijo Landscape.jpg (140692 bytes) Nijo Tea House.jpg (145746 bytes) Nijo Path.jpg (143531 bytes)
This back area at Nijo Castle in central Kyoto gets little traffic, yet it is meticulously landscaped.  Away from the main buildings at Nijo Castle, this tea house was utilized by medieval aristocrats for moon viewing. At Nijo Castle, an inviting path leads across a stone bridge and on toward the main area of the garden.
Nijo Grounds 4.jpg (131654 bytes) Nijo Wall.jpg (94751 bytes) Nijo Stonework.jpg (106105 bytes)
Nijo Castle, which dates to 1603, consists of 70 acres of landscaped grounds. A massive wall at Nijo Castle decorated with ornate gold craftwork and a golden chrysanthemum, the Shogun's imperial crest. Master stonework at Nijo Castle, which is surrounded by massive main walls and a moat.
Nijo Moat.jpg (101183 bytes) Nijo Moat 2.jpg (141549 bytes) Mountainside Temple.jpg (129404 bytes)
Nijo Castle moat and pedestrian bridge. Nijo Castle moat showing the massive bulwarks that shielded the Shogun from the outside world. A secluded mountainside temple in northern Kyoto overlooks the city.
Nijo Castle Entrance.jpg (73457 bytes) Ryokan.jpg (76540 bytes) Futons.jpg (69630 bytes)
The main entrance to the Nijo Castle complex of buildings. A gold, circular chrysan- themum at the roof's apex is the imperial crest. A Ryokan, or Japanese Inn, where one can soak in a spa and eat the finest Japanese cuisine. At the Ryokan, a small table is pulled aside and futons, which are fluffy, cotton covered quilts, are pulled from wall closets. All Japanese sleep this way.
Kiyomizu.jpg (96727 bytes) Todaiji Temple 2.jpg (149855 bytes) Amano Jizo.jpg (125927 bytes)
In the eastern foothills of Kyoto, the west entrance gate to Kiyomizu Temple overlooks the city. Nara's Todaiji Temple dates to 743 and is the largest wooden building in the world. It was built with no nails. Near the Japan Sea north of Kyoto, a small temple showcases stone Jizo deities.
Octopus.jpg (120360 bytes) Amano Temple.jpg (130743 bytes) Amano Pagoda.jpg (94159 bytes)
Near the Japan Sea, octopus dry in the sun outside a seafood shop. Near the Japan Sea north of Kyoto, a bell tower awaits visitors along the trail of a forested, hillside temple complex. A hillside pagoda overlooks Amanohashidate harbor north of Kyoto near the Japan Sea.
Amanohashidate.jpg (76095 bytes) Forest Deity.jpg (124099 bytes) Amano Pagoda 2.jpg (96960 bytes)
Amanohashidate is a small community north of Kyoto on the Japan Sea that is popular with tourists. North of Kyoto on the Japan Sea, a forest mother of mercy deity is encountered. Another view of a hillside pagoda that overlooks Amanohashidate  near the Japan Sea.
Pagoda Cemetery.jpg (127862 bytes) Hashidate Express Train.jpg (80803 bytes) Rural Village.jpg (123079 bytes)
On the Japan Sea, an ancient pagoda sits amidst a neglected cemetery. The Hashidate Express Train that runs between Kyoto and the Japan Sea. A large scale renovation project at a rural village between Kyoto and the Japan Sea.
Manshuin.jpg (120604 bytes) Manshuin Veranda.jpg (104466 bytes) Manshin Garden.jpg (120932 bytes)
Manshuin Temple, built during the 17th century, is a Tendai Zen temple in northeast Kyoto. Manshuin garden seen from the wooden veranda skirting the main temple building. Manshuin Garden showing the striations raked into the off-white gravel by temple monks.
Sanjusangendo 2.jpg (74868 bytes) Sanjusangendo Koi.jpg (128607 bytes) Geisha Performers.jpg (86696 bytes)
Medieval samurai shot arrows toward targets down the length of Sanjusangendo Temple's 390 ft. veranda. Sanjusangendo Koi carp swarm when bread sticks are tossed into the water. Many approach 15 lb. weight. Gion, Kyoto is the world renown center of Geisha arts. Here, two perform traditional Japanese dance.
Kyoto Panorama.jpg (122056 bytes) Ancient Dancer.jpg (104037 bytes) Kyoto East Panorama.jpg (110708 bytes)
Panorama of southeast Kyoto shows rail lines emanating  from Kyoto's main train station. A dancer dressed in a multi-layered kimono similar to those worn in 11th century Japan. Panorama of eastern Kyoto and foothills. A shinkansen, or bullet train, elevated railway line is on the right.
A-Bomb Dome 2.jpg (102914 bytes) Osaka Castle.jpg (146873 bytes) Osaka Castle Moat.jpg (113147 bytes)
Atom bomb air blast in Hiroshima stripped stones and bricks from the building and blew them into the ground. Osaka Castle sits on a high promontory at the center of the city. Stone walls and a deep moat are castle highlights. The moat and stone bulwarks of Osaka Castle were a formidable defense during the feudal middle ages.
Kamo River Restaurants.jpg (122612 bytes) Gion Geisha.jpg (95701 bytes) Kamo River Crane.jpg (109682 bytes)
A stroller's promenade and stilted restaurant patios line the Kamo River in downtown Kyoto. A Maiko, otherwise known as an apprentice Geisha, performs traditional dance in the Gion Geisha district. In the Kamo River rapids, a solitary Japanese crane searches the water for a meal.
Restaurant Food Display.jpg (147495 bytes) Temple Gate Guardian.jpg (248177 bytes) Temple Gate Guardian 2.jpg (216789 bytes)
In restaurant windows, plastic replicas of the food they serve are on display, which is typical for most restaurants. One of two 30 ft. tall Kongo Rikishi guardians carved out of wood in the 13th century that flank the Todaiji Temple Great Nandaimon gate opening. The second of two 30 ft. tall guardians that flank the opening of Todaiji Temple gate. They were sculpted by Unkei and Kaikei in the 13th century.
Todaiji Statue 2.jpg (159161 bytes) Todaiji Temple 3.jpg (182484 bytes) Upscale Kyoto Home.jpg (179472 bytes)
Inside Todaiji Temple, one of two 15 ft. tall wood-carved statues stationed behind the Great Daibutsu Buddha. In Nara, the great Todaiji Temple, home of the Daibutsu Buddha and statue shown in photo on left. An upscale Kyoto home that combines traditional architecture with modern components.
A Bomb Dome Damage.jpg (148681 bytes) A Bomb Memorial Mound.jpg (156830 bytes) A Bomb Dome Epicenter.jpg (145606 bytes)
Air burst damage at the A Bomb Dome in Hiroshima. Notice the stones blown into the ground from the blast. In Hiroshima, the A Bomb Memorial Mound where the ashes of over 70,000 people are interred. A nuclear blast 600 meters above this dome on August 6, 1945 killed 120 people in the building and over 200,000 in Hiroshima.
Dragon Fountain.jpg (148785 bytes) Gion Commercial District.jpg (145091 bytes) Itami Airport Signage.jpg (138790 bytes)
Japan is hot and humid during summer. At Kiyomizu Temple in eastern Kyoto, I take an overdue drink of water. The much busier commercial area of the world renown Gion, Kyoto Geisha tea house district. Signage that greeted Itami International Airport arrivals in Osaka until it was converted to domestic flights with the inauguration of Kansai International Airport.
Nara Park Torii Gate.jpg (191510 bytes) Kiyomizu Pagoda Architecture.jpg (173316 bytes) Kiyomizu Temple Buildings.jpg (162302 bytes)
A torii gate, which marks the doorway to the gods, indicates the demarcation point between Nara Park and Shinto shrine property. At Kiyomizu Temple, study of the three storied pagoda's architecture. Built in 1633, it was painted its original vermilion color in 1987. Kiyomizu Temple buildings were built from the 16th through 18th centuries. Emperors and Shoguns worshiped at this important Buddhist site.
Kiyomizu Jizo Temple.jpg (188584 bytes) Kiyomizu Hondo.jpg (125847 bytes) Kiyomizu Main Hall.jpg (161606 bytes)
A small Jizo Temple at Kiyomizu Temple. Folklore suggests that if you pray here and see the face of your deceased child you can be sure that your child is at peace. Kiyomizu Temple's Hondo, or Main Hall, was built in 1633. The main feature is the Butai dancing stage in front, which is propped up by scaffold beams above a 40 ft. cliff. Kiyomizu Temple's Main Hall overlooks Kyoto from the eastern mountains. This view shows a bit of the intricate scaffolding that supports the dancing stage.
Kiyomizu View of Kyoto.jpg (67330 bytes) Kiyomizu Bell.jpg (159116 bytes) Heian Garden Bridge.jpg (131261 bytes)
A view of Kyoto from Kiyomizu Temple. The spire is the observation deck of the Kyoto Tower Hotel at city center. The Shoro Bell Tower at Kiyomizu Temple, which was built in 1596. The bell it shelters was cast in 1478. At the Heian Shrine garden, the Taihei-kaku covered bridge design was influenced by the Gold and Silver Pavilions.
Heian Garden Building.jpg (181129 bytes) Nara Temple Grounds.jpg (141048 bytes) Nara Deer 2.jpg (178299 bytes)
From a trail away from the great pond, a building looms in the distance at the Heian Garden. Off the tourist path at a secluded hillside temple in Nara. Wild deer roam throughout Nara, especially the large park. Here, one rests in the shade of a pair of ancient stone lanterns.
Byodoin Right Concourse.jpg (167965 bytes) Byodoin Temple 4.jpg (210692 bytes) Byodoin Temple 5.jpg (139495 bytes)
The right concourse of the Byodoin Temple gives a close-up of 10th and 11th century Heian Period architecture.  The Byodoin Temple, built in the 10th century, on the west bank of the Uji River in Kyoto. Byodoin was originally the rural villa of nobleman Minamoto-no-toru. In 998 it was donated to another nobleman and converted to a temple in 1052.
Byodoin Left Concourse.jpg (165233 bytes) Byodoin Structure.jpg (209719 bytes) Byodoin Right Concourse 2.jpg (155623 bytes)
Detailed view of the left concourse of the Byodoin Temple gives a close-up of Heian Period architecture.  Close-up of Byodoin right concourse shows mortise and tenon joinery that made it possible to build the structure without nails.  Another close-up view of Byodoin Temple's 1,000-year-old  right concourse.
Todaiji Gate.jpg (160073 bytes) Todaiji Gate Structure.jpg (212686 bytes) Higashi Honganji Gates.jpg (126689 bytes)
The South Central Gate of Todaiji Temple. The Daibutsuden building which houses the great Buddha rises behind it. In Nara at the Todaiji Temple complex, a close-up of the no- nails mortise and tenon construction technique used to build the Great Nandaimon gate in 1199. A peripheral gate and main gate at Higashi Honganji Temple in downtown Kyoto, founded by Shogun Ieyasu Tokugawa in 1602.
Ginkakuji Walkway.jpg (181902 bytes) Ginkakuji Entrance Gate.jpg (182641 bytes) Torii and Wooden Gates.jpg (130133 bytes)
The maze-like walkway that greets visitors to the Silver Pavilion Temple complex, founded in the late 15th century. In eastern Kyoto, a pleasant stone and greenery scaped entrance greets visitors to Ginkakuji Temple, otherwise known as the Silver Pavilion. Near the Gold Pavilion, Yoshiko beckons me to follow her through the Torii gate and toward the wooden temple gate in the background.
Gion Streetside Entrance.jpg (119716 bytes) Gion Tea House Path.jpg (170024 bytes) Great Kamakura Buddha.jpg (158517 bytes)
Between two tea houses in the famous Gion Geisha district, a doorway opens onto a beautifully landscaped path. A closer look at the path shown in the photo on left. Where does a path so meticulously landscaped lead? Once housed in a huge temple building, a tsunami washed away the structure that surrounded the Great Buddha of Kamakura in 1495.
Byodoin Beauties.jpg (150186 bytes) Byodoin Beauty.jpg (150262 bytes) Byodoin Beauty 2.jpg (177464 bytes)
Three beautiful young ladies dressed as Geishas at the Byodoin Temple. This pretty young lady paid a salon a fee to make her up like a Geisha for the day. The Japanese enjoy dressing in traditional ceremonial clothing.
Kamakura Garden Deity.jpg (165852 bytes) Byodoin Beauty 3.jpg (181230 bytes) Jidai Matsuri Celebrants.jpg (104802 bytes)
A Buddhist deity in serene meditation in a Kamakura garden located on the east coast of Japan. Proud families gather at Byodoin Temple to take photographs of their daughters dressed as Geisha. Celebrants of the Jidai Matsuri Festival dress in garb similar to that worn in ancient Japan.


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Copyright 2003 by Daniel L. Hagerman. All rights reserved.
Revised: 25 Jan 2009 14:02:08 -0500 .