On the Road is a weekday feature spotlighting reader photo submissions.
From the exotic to the familiar, whether you’re traveling or in your own backyard, we would love to see the world through your eyes.
Captain C in Japan
I took the shinkansen (bullet train) down to Kyoto on a Thursday afternoon. I arrived at night, and walked from the train station to my hotel (one of the things I looked for in my Kyoto and Osaka hotels was proximity to a useful train station). I had two full days (three nights), the first of which was earmarked for the Philosopher’s Path and nearby temples and shrines, and the second for the Kyoto Railway Museum. This set is from the first part of the first day.
After my Japanese breakfast at the hotel (which I found was a great way to start an active day), I headed out towards the southern end of the Philosopher’s Path, via Kyoto’s subway system. I’m pretty sure this was taken going into Shijo Station, which was nearest to my lodgings.
The Keage Incline is a 500-ish meter railway on a slope that was formerly used to transfer cargoes from one body of water to another. Now, it’s a great place to enjoy the blossoming cherry trees. It’s well-located to stop and check out as it’s between the Keage Station and the Nanzen-ji Temple.
The Nanzen-ji Temple is one of the most famous of Kyoto’s many temples and shrines, and is the headquarters for one of the branches of Zen Buddhism. The buildings and surroundings were very beautiful, and there were many people visiting. The next two pictures were taken there.
Next on the way to the Philosopher’s Path was the Eikan-do Temple, headquarters to another Buddhist sect. Unlike the Nanzen-ji (but like many others), there was an admissions fee, in this case, 500 Yen. After a little thought, I decided that roughly five bucks for upkeep and suchlike was a reasonable fee (one of the running themes of this trip was “don’t be cheap and deny yourself something cool,” which worked out very well), and was rewarded with my favorite temple of the trip. I spent a couple hours in the complex, wandering among the buildings and the gardens, climbing up the stairs to the pagoda on the hill behind the complex for a view of the Kyoto skyline (sadly, none of those photos really came out well enough to do justice to the view), and listening to the chants of monks-in-training. It was quite a lovely and peaceful place.
I would not want a monkey’s invasion in my temple, either.
Bridge and trees reflect
Sunlight shimmers through the leaves
Soothing start to day
Irre mrpbcbiw .k.pfrb.
And Good Morning, everyone, too !
[I have not mastered being bidigital. Used Dvorak for forty-five years, computer problems had me doing huntandpeck on qwerty for a month, now gotta remember it’s Dvorak again.]
Being half awake, in previous post, neglected to thank Captain C for the great photographs. Apologies.
Will return when I need calm and serene mind.
The ad at top of page now is for baby formula, the one at bottom for East Village Japanese restaurant… I think they’re telling me I need to scarf up some breakfast ;-}
Lovely and calming. Thanks!!!
The Oracle of Solace
Kyoto is one of my all-time favourite places to visit and I thank Captain C for these photos. I too have hiked the Philosopher’s Path!
One thing I recommend for folks spending a lot of time in the city is staying not at a hotel, but at a ryokan (inn). Ryokan have fewer amenities but are often less demanding on the wallet, and being family-run enterprises are often located in or near residential and/or small-business areas. I’ve even gone further than that—in the summer of 2013, three friends and I rented a house (19 nights for about US$3,000, or US$750 per person) that was literally across the street from an armour & weapons shop, and within walking distance of a major shopping arcade with shops, restaurants, and a seafood-market alley.
When I was in Kyoto, our group walked along the Philosopher’s Path and saw completely different things. I guess I have to go back to check out what we missed.
The Keage incline doesn’t join just two bodies of water, it carried boats from a canal cut through a mountain tunnel designed by an engineering student in his twenties, which is a marvelous story in its own right.
The tunnel and canal was a desperate (and successful) move to save Kyoto’s economy when its main reason for being (the presence of the emperor’s court) moves to Tokyo in the last half of the nineteenth century.
Especially love the one with the reflections in the pond.
I hope to some day get to Japan! A year ago I was looking at options for how to use my Vail Resorts ski pass there – they added two sets of ski areas to the pass for up to 10 days of lift tickets.
It was a little overwhelming to figure out plans, think about the language situation, and the costs. Not quite like my $79 SWA tickets to Denver! So I didn’t go, and now here we are. Lovely post, Captain C!
Thank you Captain C for reminding me that some day (soon) I need to visit Japan. The Japanese sense of calm simplicity resonates with me.
J R in WV
Wonderful photo set, beautiful parks supported by the various temples. A shame our mega-churches don’t care about tranquility in nature!
Another place we would love to visit for a week of years. Bucket list grows, available time shrinks. Sad.
Thanks for sharing!
@SiubhanDuinne: That’s quite lovely, and made me squee. Jedi Hugs!
@dm: It really is a marvelous piece of engineering. I got a couple photos of the boat/carrying device too, but I thought this one with the kids playing best captured the spirit of that day.
@RaflW: Hopefully someday for you. As to the language situation, I did about 10 units of the Pimsleur spoken Japanese audio lessons, which gave me about 25-50 words I felt comfortable using (and just trying to be polite and speak a few words will win you points with people there). In the big cities, many people understand English at least a little, and many signs are in 4 languages (Japanese, Korean, English, and Chinese), so I had no trouble getting around.
Thanks for the compliments and feedback! More sets to come…