Sunday, January 18, 2009

Kyoto Temples Day 1

For our first day we started at the Kyoto station and began walking. In Kyoto a map or a plan is not really needed to see huge historic Temples. There is literally a sign on every major intersection to point you the right way.
Here is the Higashi-Honganji Temple. This sect of Buddism was founded 700 years ago and the temple dates back almost that long. Next to this hall you can see the metal building covering the main hall while it is restored.
Under the metal building is the largest wooden building in the world. The massive center post were dragged out of the mountains on huge sleds in the dead of winter.   The Gate is also larger then most, considered suitably large to match the Great Founders Hall.

A few blocks away is a Temple of the same sect and founder, built at about the same time. There was appearantly one government grant from the shogunate and the two were fighting for it. This is the Nishi-Honganji,  nishi being west and higashi east. It was also undergoing renovations, both temples are preparing for the 750th anniversary of the birth of Shinrin in 2011.  

It's temples and gates are smaller, but still very nicely detailed.  And the grounds are equally  large and lovely.  

Next we wandered down to the Toji Temple. It is one of the big ones here so the parking lot was stuffed with tour buses and late new years revelers. Lots of small buildings and statues dot the grounds, with many people still selling new years shwag. One  building host several ancient statues that are national treasures (no pics of course). Luck would have we arrived on a day with a flea market in full swing. People had pulled up cars and set up tents, some had vintage (post-war) everyday stuff, newer used clothes, vintage kimonos, antiques, and somewhat historical debris (sword pommels and statues). I picked up an awesome vintage Kimono and Obi for only 25$. There's a slight bias against wearing  used kimono, especially for special occasions. Many used kimono shops are offering bargains of only a few hundred dollars for a set, but nothing was quite this good a deal.

1 comment:

Sheila said...

what a deal on the kimono! Gotta love the flea market. Sounds like you had an awesome trip. Right now I'm in d.c. for the inauguration, backup for the army. Pretty cool!