17/2/15- Kyoto

Traditional Religions and Temples.


There are two main religions in Japan; Shinto and Buddhism. Today we took a tour of temples in Kyoto. Kyoto is known as “the city of a thousand temples,” but astonishingly it has more. 1,600 Buddhist temples, plus 400 Shinto shrines, 3 palaces, and heaps of gardens and museums! It is so amazing. Kyoto has more heritage sights than any other city in the world.

Sanjusangen-do temple.23

Kiyomizu Temple24

One of the most famous temples in Kyoto (and probably one of my favourites) is Kinkaku-ji (or ‘the temple of the gold pavilion) The temple has been around since 1397 as a very wealthy families villa. It was then turned into a temple and opened to the public. It was burnt down in the 1950’s, but was then rebuilt and covered in gold leaf based paint.

It is more intricate then any church or temple in Australia and truly an amazing sight.

Kinkaku-ji is not used anymore for religious practices, but instead remains open for the public and is one of the most visited buildings in japan.25

I don’t really know how to compare it to anything in Australia, except it is like a church on steroids. Three stories high and surrounded by traditional gardens I can’t imagine how much work must have gone into it. 27

We go to experience a traditional tea ceremony at one of the temples. There are lots of different styles of tea ceremony. The one that we attended was led by a visiting geisha in training. We kneeled on thin mats while she said some things and poured us some green tea. The tea wasn’t very nice though. We also ate some Japanese biscuits as part of the ceremony.  26

After the tea ceremony we ate Kaiseki Ryori. Kaiseki Ryori started as an elaborate tea ceremony, but as time went on it evolved into a dining style. A kaiseki meal has a set order of courses decided by the cooking method of each dish. Or meal was a vegetarian kaiseki. It was so fresh and light, but I still felt so full after it.



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