The day elapsed so quickly. We only had one remaining site to visit before returning back to Osaka, the Rokuon-ji Temple at the northwestern part of Kyoto.
We boarded the tram from Arashiyama and dropped at Nishioji Sanjo Station at 2:47pm. I thought of a building or a shade but I was shocked that the tram left us in an opened platform built in the middle of the road. We crossed the street and was speechless when the waterway caught my attention. It was so breathtaking! The water was incredibly so clear and found no any single trash even it is beside the road and residential buildings. Believe me, it was my first time to see a canal in such refreshing condition.
We rode the Bus 205 at the nearby Nishioji Sanjo Bus Stop, traveled north and dropped at Kinkakuji-michi Bus Stop. From the station, we walked left until we reached the First Gate of Rokuon-ji Temple at 3:17pm. The Zen Buddhist temple is commonly known as Kinkaku-ji Temple or Temple of the Golden Pavilion which was listed in the World Cultural Heritage Site in 1994.
Kinkaku-ji Temple – famous because of the golden pavilion
We followed the direction to where the tourist were heading. At the Second Gate, there is a window where we handed the entrance fee and the staff gave us back a pamphlet as introductory information about the temple.
We entered the Second Gate at 3:20pm and merged with other tourists whose also grasping a suitable place for a backdrop of the marvelous pond garden. The complex was crowded at the start. The unguided tour followed a one way route to where the visitors walk forward without returning to the entrance gate. The main attraction is the Kinkaku or the Golden Pavilion which obviously has a golden motif overlooking from the beautiful pond. The gold color covers the upper two levels of the pavilion and noticeably seen a phoenix statue on top of its roof. There is no access inside the pavilion and it was just for the eyes only. It was said that it is real gold and the hall contains relics of Buddha.
I had a closer look at the pavilion as the path passes behind it. The path led to the garden which has the wishing statue, a spring, the Sekkatei teahouse, and ended at the Fudo-do with the souvenir shops. I felt that we walked so far but when I checked my watch, the time was just 3:45pm. A 25 minutes quick tour of the Golden Pavilion. We left the temple’s vicinity at 4pm and walked to the bus stop.
From Kinkakuji-michi Bus Stop, we rode Bus 101 going to Kyoto Station. Seeing the Kyoto’s Tower was an indication that we’re almost near the train station.While approaching, I noticed a giant gate. The bus was running away but my eyes were looking back at it. After we dropped off at the station, we decided to visit and have a glimpse on the huge temple. We walked towards it and was happy for the free admission. At 5:05pm, we were knocking at the gate of the biggest temple we visited in Japan.
Higashi Hongani is a Budhist temple which was established in 1602. The temple is also known as the ” Eastern Temple of the First Vow.” I was inside the complex of the two grandest halls, the Founder’ Hall and the Amida Hall. The Founder’s Hall is the largest wooden building in Kyoto and one of the largest in the world.
We removed our shoes to step on the hall’s wooden floor and discovered the ancient relics displayed at the corridor that connects the two halls. There was a large wooden sled and a giant coiled rope which unbelievably made of human hair strands. They were all connected to the rebuilding of the temple in the 19th century. The sled was used to transport lumbers from the mountain while the ropes were used to haul new hall’s beams.
I wished to stay a little bit longer but the temple’s guard came and informed us that they were closing. It was a very quick visit for 22 minutes but we never regret that we came back to see it.
At 5:27pm, we left the temple and found a 2-storey mall while on the way to the train station. We entered the mall to know the items they were selling. The first floor is for gadgets like cameras and mobile phones. Then we used the escalator to a basement that displaying apparel items, and was surprised that there is another floor, and more floors downward.
After buying the things we needed, we left the mall at 5:50pm and directly headed to JR Kyoto train platform. We chose the rapid line and left the station at 6:15pm. The train was fast but very crowded. It only stopped twice so we reached Osaka Station in just 30 minutes. We quickly transferred from Osaka station to Tanimachi Line Station. We arrived to our rented apartment, the J-Suite Namba at 7:15pm.
(Continuation of Day 4 Japan Visit last April 2018)