Thursday, November 1, 2012

Day 137- September 27

By Al

Today we visited the Ginkaku-ji, also known as the Silver Temple. This is Amy's favorite temple in Japan. The temple itself is really nothing special, but the garden and hillside are very nice.

I had one of my strangest experiences here. Let me start by saying that I am skeptical about ghosts. So, I don't go looking for them. I was on a path through the forest near the temple. I was looking off into the forest and thinking about all of the Japanese emperors and their retainers that must have walked in this area in times gone by. I became aware out of the corner of my eye that somebody was coming up the path towards me, so I shifted to the side. I could not have told you if it was a man or a woman, just that there was somebody there. As they went by they brushed against me with the lightest of touches, just rustling the hair on my arm. I turned around to see who had done this and didn't see anybody. The nearest people were at least 20 feet away from me. I even looked to the sides of the path to see if anybody had walked off the path. Nobody. I suppose an insect or stray wind could have rustled the hair on my arm, but that doesn't explain the fact that I would swear somebody was coming up the path toward me. Spooky.

The temple grounds with Kyoto in the background.

The wood I was looking at.

The temple gardens.

You frequently see trees being supported like this. Amy is supporting Sally. (Comment by Sally-  I had Al take this picture because the very old and gnarled tree was being supported by the bamboo structure.  I said that I hoped someone would support me like that when I am old.  Amy volunteered to do this for me- so we are taking the same positions as the tree and its support. Thanks, Amy.  I will bring this picture out when I'm 85).

"Hello, can we ask you some question?" We met come Japanese school girls, who apparently had been given an assignment to find an English speaker to interview.  Their English was quite good.

After Ginkaku-ji, we went on a walk from the temple on what is called the Philosopher's Walk. It is a walk along a canal of about one mile. There are small shops and restaurants along the walk and it would best be described as charming. We had lunch at a very nice French based restaurant. We looking into a couple more temples. All in all, it was a nice start to Japan.

The entrance to Honen-in, a Buddhist temple along the Philosopher's Walk.

The growth on top of the temple entrance.

A cemetery on the hill above Honen-in.

A pretty flower along the walk.

The back garden of unnamed temple along the Philosopher's Walk.

Cats.  They seem to be Temple Cats, and sit regally sunning themselves.

A statue that was part of a shrine to children.



By Sally
  I will add a few pictures of my favorite sites during the day.
Sand sculpture of Mount Fuji at the Siver Temple.

Japanese gardens are famous for their careful placement of all of the vegetation in the garden, and the shaping of the ground to set off the vegetation.  I think this picture shows some of the careful planting in this garden, and how the designers carry your eyes into the woods behind the pond.

Here is the silver temple- which you see is not silver.  The family that built the temple had financial difficulties and was unable to cover the temple in silver.  I think it is prettier as it is- and fits better into its environment.

The  area surrounding the temple goes up a hill, with woods at the top of the hill. I wish I had a better camera to show the sunlight coming through the trees onto these leaves.

 Another view of the silver temple.
And another view.  I think it would be impossible to take a "bad" picture here.  Everywhere you look, the designers of the grounds placed trees, rocks, and earth in harmony. A place of great beauty and peace.

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