Monday, September 3, 2012

Nanzen-ji Temple - Kyoto, Japan

The amazing Nanzen-ji Temple in Kyoto is pretty sweet to view. Most of the grounds are free so that is a plus as well but expect to see lots of people visiting since it is really popular. 
This temple is in a class of it's own, it isn't one of the Five great Zen Temples of Kyoto, or "Kyoto Gozan", but it stands above the five that are in that class (including Tenryu-ji and Tofuku-ji). Also known as the Five ountain System. It had the title "First Temple of The Land" which it has above the others.
Nanzen-ji in 1291 was founded by Emperor Kameyama.

You will noticed an aspect of this temple that no other temple has in the lands is a large brick aqueduct that cuts through its south side bring water from Lake Biwa to the city of Kyoto. It is a canal that is called Sosui. The canal was started in 1881 and finished in 1890.

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You will find a map on a board that shows the large grounds of Nanzen-ji.

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This is another impressive Sanmon, or main gate, to the grounds. You can pay 500 Yen to walk up steep stairs and stay on the balcony up top.

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It has an impressive size, I still am awed at the size of this buildings that were built from wood so long ago...

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I had a short conversation with this group that were roughly my age. The girls were dressed in kimono's and only one of the guys were dressed in formal attire. they had a little boy that was 2 or 3 with them that they dressed up as well. It was cute!

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Walking under the aqueduct is lots of fun, everyone was looking up at it. It seams so weird but interesting to have a temple complex out of wood from the 1300's and then a brick structure as this one from the late 1800's cut through. It is an interesting mix to see but not wanted.

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I hiked along the aqueduct for awhile. You can find stairs that leads up to it and then you can follow it south on the side of the mountain like this. There were not many people if you wanted a good nature walk along the babbling canal of water.

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I did turn around through before I continued my walk and this is the view of the canal on top to the arches that you saw earlier.

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Trust me, take the time to walk along it for awhile!

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If you walk far enough you can see where the water is split up and is taken down in pipes to the city of Kyoto below...

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I came across a small park up there at where there water is split. There were a few children up there that were European!

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I did hike back to the temple and went up in the Sanmon, the main gate. It was pleasant to get a view of the entire grounds and Kyoto to the west. 

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More students were up there was well that looked and  smiled at me.

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There is the group on the left that I was talking about earlier, they looked so nice in their traditional wear. 

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All in all I didn't go into a lot of the buildings in the grounds and I wish that I had but there is something for the next time I go!

Info was from Wikipedia here and there

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