Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 5 - afternoon in Kyoto

Over lunch we made our plans for the afternoon. We decided to head for Toji Temple.
The Toji temple is a short walk from Kyoto station. The temple was establised in 796 and is the headquarters of the esoteric Shingon Buddhist sect.

The lecture hall contains a series of 21 wooden statues carved about 1200 years ago. Together they form a three- dimensional mandala, a concrete representation of Shingon Buddhist cosmology.

The complex also includes a pagoda built in 1644. At 180 metres it is the tallest wooden
structure in Japan.

More photos of Toji-ji

After returning to the hotel for a short rest we headed across to the Gion area for dinner. This is an area of the city where the older style of buildings and houses are preserved, or a least recreated. There are narrow streets and charming laneways disappearing to the sides. The only problem is that the discreet hand written notices and illuminted lamps don't indicate what's inside the various premises. Here is one very good reason to learn to read Japanese.

We eventually find an establishment that offers english subtitles. It is great to experience the traditional style of dining. We are beginning to appreciate why bean curd (tofu) is a Kyoto specialty. Amazingly smooth and creamy taste and texture - nothing like the packaged stodge we know as tofu in Australia.

-- Post From Geoff's iPhone

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