Saturday, March 04, 2006

In a six hour walkathon (feels like a lot to my ill-exercised feet) I've managed to see roughly a 0.25% of the temples in Kyoto, that is to say four of the 1600. Not to mention the Shinto shrines on top of this impressive collection.

First today, as I left my hotel I wanted to get a picture of the truly preposterous speakers that they've thought to install in this rather understated university hotel. I'm not sure if the clash police have been informed but I'm impressed that they got the go ahead for this purchase.

It seems that whoever was in charge of audio installations was also involved in selecting pieces of artwork which will scare any children who might happen to be wondering around the hotel alone.

So other than bizarre juxtapositions within the hotel, this fine, clear Saturday morning started off with a meeting with one of the PhD students where we chatted work to see if our interests could connect. It seems they might and we will certainly be keeping in contact. Following this we started out templeathon taking in a decent swathe of the city to visit four of the most popular temples. They're all stunning but, unsurprisingly, the heaving crowds detract somewhat from their serenity. Being one of the members of said crowd I feel it unfair to complain and in fact there were enough breaks in the sea to pause for the odd moment and reflect on the last couple of weeks and to get some nice photos.

The first temple we went to is known as the silver temple as the plan was to cover the main building in silver. Unfortunately this plan failed as money was in short supply but the name stuck and they were left with a very wooden but very fine temple with zen gardens and rock pools leading up the mountain side.

The second temple was the Golden Temple and somehow it seems that money was no object in this case and they succeeded in constructing a lavish building, sitting in the middle of a reflecting pool, covered in gold. Not a bad job!

The last photo from today is from the last temple we visited and simply one of the many statues dotted about the grounds where people really do come to worship. I thought this one was particularly elegant so got a snap.

There were many more photos but I've trimmed them down to this for the blog.

After a five minute kip which I plan on having ten minutes ago I shall head to Gion to grab a bite to eat if it's not too expensive and see the Geisha. I've neither read the book nor seen the film but have read bits and pieces about them so am fascinated to see what it's all like. Will report back.

For now, sayonara.

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