Day 3: Kyoto – Heian Shrine, Nanzen-ji, Path of Philosophy, Ginkaku-ji, Kinkaku-ji & Ryoan-ji
As usual, my master plan is to wake up early…and again – the rolling bed, snoozing alarm action repeated again. I started my 3rd day at Japan around 10 am. Good weather today in the sense is not raining – but super hot. Same breakfast – bread and milk to kick start my journey. Went back to Kyoto Station to get the Day Pass and take a bus to Heian Shrine (平安神宮). I just took some photos outside. Apparently there is this paid garden which is stunning during cherry blossom time. Since I visited during summer, so I decided to skip it.
From Heian Shrine, I walked myself to Nanzen-ji Temple (南禅寺). There’s a lot of small temples surrounding Nanzen-ji, which separate fees apply for entering. Nanzen-ji’s central temple grounds are open to public free of charge. There’s a large brick aqueduct that passes through the temple grounds which is part of the canal system to carry water and goods in the past. I found it amazing cause I never seen something like that before – the ancient people are smart isn’t it?
My next destination – Ginkaku-ji Temple (銀閣寺). There’s a connecting pathway from Nanzen-ji to Ginkaku-ji, which is known as “The Path of Philosophy” (哲学の道). The distance of the pathway is around 2km (but I found it so much longer 😦 ), which follow a canal that lined by hundreds of cherry trees (will be stunning during April time). The path gets its name because of the influential Japanese philosopher called Nishida Kitaro – apparently he walked here and came out with his great philosophy. So how can I missed the opportunity to also having some inspirational. Maybe I can be the next Aristotle :p
Trust me, it was not easy to complete the philosophy path after 2 days of walking around. I felt my feet was swollen and my shoes were torn apart and therefore I stopped almost every 200 – 300 meter of walking to take a break from the feet pain. So I came out with the new name for this pathway – instead of 哲学之道 (“zhe xue zi dao” in pin yin chinese), I called it the 折鞋之道 (“zhe xie zi dao” – the path of shoes torturing). Haha!
I was extremely hungry when I finally arrived Ginkaku-ji. I rushed to the first restaurant that I saw and pick the cheapest food in the menu which proved to be a total unsatisfactory meal. The set I picked is called “The Philosopher Set” ( 哲学套餐) which consist of 3 cold tofu, 3 bean curd, porridge, and a cup of soy milk/yogurt taste dessert. All this cost me a whopping 1680 Yen (around RM65)!! When I finished my lunch and continued my journey to Ginkaku-ji, I found out that there are so many other restaurants around!! Lesson learnt: be patient instead of rushing.
Ginkaku-ji literally means Silver Pavilion – please don’t expect the temple is build using silver. People believed that the name of the temple is just the nickname to show contrast with the Golden Pavilion – Kinkaku-ji. Well maybe the name is derived from the sand since it looks silverish? <- my belief
Then I took a bus to Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) to see the difference between two. The golden Pavilion i is much much more catchy than the black-greyish looking Ginkaku-ji. It was so shiny and sexy – I felt the view infront of my eyes is like a painting instead of real. Apparently the temple was rebuild during 1950’s after a monk burned down it which later on he also attempted to suicide in the fire. This was later became the basis of a famous novel called “The Temple of Golden Pavilion“. I am always fancy about sociology and what leads human to behave certain way. So this incident had caught my great attention. I did some googling on it. The monk was taught that the most beautiful thing in the world is Kinkaku-ji, which lead him to have his love-hate relationship with the temple. Perhaps because of his obesession towards the temple, he choose to destroy it rather than let it falls to the hand of others (Post WWII that time)?
P/S: I bought the book and currently reading it.
Next stop: Ryoan-ji Temple (龍安寺). Took a bus from Kinkaku-ji to Ryoan-ji even though is actually a walking distance – too painful to walk already that time. Ryoan-ji is famous for its rock garden. Interesting fact about the rock garden:
The garden consists of a rectangular plot of pebbles surrounded by low earthen walls, with 15 rocks laid out in small groups on patches of moss. An interesting feature of the garden’s design is that from any vantage point at least one of the rocks is always hidden from the viewer.
Quote from Kyoto Travel
Apparently you will also feel inner peace when staring at the rock garden. Do I?
It was near to evening that time and I made my move back to hostel to collect my luggage and prepare myself to return to Osaka. It was already quite late by the time I reached Kyoto Station. I made a very brief tour around Kyoto Station and made a clearer look at the candle looking Kyoto Tower. Then I board into the JR train to Osaka (again don’t know whether the express/normal train I took).
Back to Osaka, I went back to Hana Hostel to collect my remaining luggage (I only packed some of my stuffs to Kyoto and left the remaining at Hana Hostel). Here I met the amazing Hana Hostel Staff, Masae which somehow reminded me about my best friend Puv because of the curly hair. Had a quick chit chat with her and it was amazing.
After that, checked in to my next hostel – J-hoppers which located at Fukushima. Here I stayed at a ladies dormitory. I was starving again and couldn’t find any interesting partner in the room to hang out. Therefore, I went to look for dinner myself. Since is the last night at Japan (and also the unsatisfactory bean curd lunch set), I want to treat myself something better. After few minutes of food hunting, I saw this interesting restaurant where the friendly staff was promoting it outside. I glanced inside the restaurant and decided to walk in after I saw another two Japanese ladies that did the same as me after reading the menu at outside.
I met lots of awesome people here: the staffs that work at the restaurant; the two ladies that walked in before me; and another guy that sit next to me. All of them are super friendly, trying their very best to talk to me. Dinner wouldn’t be so good without the companionship of them. After a good meal, couple of beers, and awesome companions, I left the restaurant and went back hostel for a good night rest.
That put a perfect full stop for my last night at Japan 🙂