Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Kiyomizu Temple and Fushimi Inari Shrine

Yes, I know you were thinking. The title of this blog is a mouthful, but it had to be titled for what it is. We thoroughly enjoyed Kyoto's preservation of Japanese history. In the three days time that we spent touring Kyoto we were not able to begin to explore the numerous temples and shrines scattered throughout the city.

A few that we were determined to see among the rest were the following two beginning with Kiyomizu Temple which was first built in 798. It was reconstructed in 1633 and then listed as a UNESCO world heritage site.

The main temple was beautifully built on the hillside with massive pillars holding the veranda above.

Throughout the city there were a number of people dressed up in traditional attire.

Many come to the temple to pray quick prayers, toss coins into the offering boxes, and ring large bells.

Many other symbolic practices were being carried out for the sake of the new year, for tradition, and for fun.

One particular sight that was really memorable was the pagoda on the hillside withing the temple complex. It seemed like we had finally arrived in Asia.

The second of our must see shrines was the Fushimi Inari Shrine. Fushimi Inari Shrine is the most famous of several thousands of shrines dedicated to Inari across Japan. Inari is the god of rice. The shrine includes many historic buildings as well as thousands of red Torii gates or arches lining a 2 hour hike to the top of the mountain.

There were many in traditional costume preparing for the new year celebrations.

We hiked down the gated path for some distance until we had our fill. They continued endlessly, as far as we could tell, just like the guidebook said.

While in Japan, Chelsie read the book "Memoirs of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden. Chels loves to read, and being in the very city in which the story was placed, made it all the more real for her. We later watched the movie and recognized many of the land marks which we had visited. Fushimi Inari was one of them.


Jeff said...

Hey! The gates look like Christo's Gates in Central Park:

Or, perhaps, Christo's gates look like these.

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