Workshops and Cross-Cultural Dialog in Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, with a Special Emphasis on Building Bridges with our Friends in the Survivor Community in Nagasaki


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of our work in various cities, including
Hiroshima and Nagasaki

Monday, August 9, 2010

Kyoto Details

I feel it pertinent to describe the tourist places we've visited. Nick listed them all - but I am going to mention their details.

The Kodai-ji Temple is one of the many Buddhist temples in Kyoto. An incredible sight to see from it was a HUGE Buddhist god statue in the distance. Another main feature of this temple was the Spirit Hall, which had a creepy artwork collection full of ghosts. There was a part of the Spirit Hall where it had discarded items that the spirits/ghosts had supposedly tampered with. Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take any photos of the Spirit Hall.

Kiyomizu Temple is yet another Buddhist temple - it is one of the main tourist attractions in Kyoto and one of the World Heritage sites. There was a fun section where there are these "love stones," where supposedly if one could successfully walk from one stone to another with his/her eyes closed, true love would be found. Nick had tried his luck and with some guidance, after veering a little much to his right, he successfully managed to reach the other stone. One of the gods featured in this temple was the god of business and economical success. Lastly, there was a small waterfall that we visited on the way out that supposedly had healing powers - too bad the line was too long and we didn't touch the sacred water.

1. Kiyomizu
2. God of business
3. Love stone

Luckily, we were fortunate enough to be able to get reservations to visit this tranquil and serene moss garden. Only allowed to stay an hour, Ms. Allen, Nick and I enjoyed the peaceful atmosphere of the green garden - after watching and participating in a Buddhist ceremony where we wrote down our wishes and prayers on a wooden board. Too bad mine was so illegible and badly written (I cannot write well with a calligraphy pen) that I doubt it'll come true.

Definitely one of my favorite temples in Kyoto, this huge national treasure stands 120 meters long and is named for the 33 spaces between columns (which only emphasizes the temple's huge hall). It houses about 10001 of statues of the Buddhist goddess of mercy, Kannon where each statue slightly varies from another. Supposedly, if you can find one statue whose face resembles yours, you will have good luck - too bad I didn't know that until after I visited. In the middle of the huge hall, stands a gigantic seated statue of Kannon (again) and Nick and I were fortunate enough to see a Buddhist monk perform his rituals in front of this statue. 28 guardian deities protect the many Kannons and any Buddhist who believes in the goddess of mercy. I loved the back stories of these guardians and how individualized they were and seeing the Kannon statues was overwhelmingly awe inspiring.
Sadly, we were prohibited from taking any pictures in the main hall, and were only allowed to take pictures from the outside.Ginkakujii Temple (Silver Pavilion)
Along with the Golden Pavilion, the silver pavilion was one of Nick's favorites (mentioned earlier). The actual silver pavilion structure's interior is not open to public, but the buildings and landscape was very beautiful. Garden barely has any flowers and the natural beauty and greenery of the trees, moss, and stone enliven the scenery. The Ginkakuji houses both Chinese and Japanese styles within its two floors and is dedicated to Kannon (the goddess of mercy) - the bronze phoenix that faces the east guards Kannon-den/Ginkakuji.
1. 2. 3. 4.

1. Ginkakuji (Kannon-den)
2. Sand sculpture depicting the ocean waves and Mt. Fuji
3. Bronze phoenix atop of Ginkakuji
4. View from the observatory - Ginkakuji + Togu-do (Buddhist Hall)

Phew!! That only took forever - and now I'm done!

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