The pavilion is one of the main buildings of the Rokuon-ji Temple, but the site was originally the home of someone’s villa back in 1220. After passing through several owners, the site was made into a Zen temple and this building was constructed. It was actually burned to the ground in the 1980’s by a disgruntled young monk, but as you can see it has been rebuilt to its former glory.
Rubbing the gold dust from our eyes, we then proceeded to Ryoanji Temple and Gardens where we first came upon these luxurious moss gardens.
One of the gardens we hadn’t been able to get into was Kyoto’s famous moss garden. Having seen the fabulous moss growing in the gardens we did see, I can only imagine what that moss garden must be like.
This rock garden was created around 1500 and is made up of 15 rocks and white gravel. It was created by the Zen monk Tokuho Zenketsu.
The tea room on the grounds has a stone wash-basin with the inscription “I learn only to be contented.” In other words, he who learns only to be contented is spiritually rich, while the one who does not learn to be contented is spiritually poor even if he is materially wealthy.
After wandering through two temples it was time for lunch so we went off in search of someplace that might have pictures to look at, so that we could order.
Everywhere around Kyoto this week we’ve noticed a wonderful smell and we finally traced it to these flowers:
You will never go thirsty in Kyoto as long as you have some change in your pocket because:
And I do mean everywhere. We even saw some that sold beer. And of course if you can’t find a vending machine there’s probably a 7-11 or a Family Mart just a few feet anyway.
We did finally find a place to eat, a beef place that turned out to be a bit weird in it’s menu choices.
For some odd reason, the place was decorated with paintings of the Anasazi Indians of the American Southwest. What little English there was spoke about this restaurant being a “nostalgic” experience. We just thought it was a bit jarring.
Mark had the hamburger, except it wasn’t. It was really baked meatloaf (sort of) on a bun. Meredith and I had a combination plate that consisted of that same mystery meat covered in barbecue sauce, a small piece of chicken wrapped in bacon that had been cooked on a grill (go figure), something that may have been a potato croquette with mayonaise on top and a big pile of shredded raw cabbage with a little bit of some kind of dressing drizzled on it. (I’m thinking there was something else on the plate, but it escapes me at the moment-it was probably some kind of Japanese pickle.) And of course, when I have a nostalgic western meal, I always complete it with a side of Japanese sticky rice, don’t you? The other thing that was amazing about this restaurant was that when I went in to the bathroom, the toilet lid automatically opened when I entered the stall!
After lunch we wandered in to the market again for a better look.
There was also a kitchen knife store, but we weren’t allowed to take pictures. Some of the kitchen knives in that store were so big and dangerous, they probably ought to require a licence to own.
We saw many school groups and they were either dressed in school uniforms of blue and white, often resembling sailor outfits, or if more casually dressed like these kids, they would almost always have yellow hats and yellow somewhere else in their costume. Sometimes we would see small groups of kids trudging somewhere in a straight line about 5 or 5:30pm with a male teacher or headmaster in the front, one at the side in the middle and one at the back. My guess is they were going to evening cram school.
By this time we were getting a little tired of our austere and cell-like accommodations. Meredith and I had just about had it with the breakfasts too. Mark had given up on the 2nd morning and was going to McDonalds every day for what he said were wonderful egg mcmuffins. So we went back to Village Kyoto and looked for another hotel.
Next post: monkeys!