Our Five Favorite Walks — Number Two: Kyoto

We were in Kyoto in April, 1981 and it was our last day in Japan before flying off to Guam. What to do? That was easy: visit some temples and gardens — they are all over the city. Where to go? Now that question is a little harder. It would take a year to visit each of the more than 1600 temples and shrines in the city and we only had a few hours. So we checked out a map and decided that there is a ward in the eastern part of the city called Higashiyama that has many of the oldest and most popular temples and it looked like it would be a nice walk. So off we ventured, hoping that we get a few hours of sightseeing before the forecasted rain.

Our first stop was the Kiyomizu-dera Temple halfway up a hill in the southern area of Higashiyama. Our plan from there was to walk north to an area east of the Gion district that was filled with temples and gardens. Then we would cross the canal and visit the huge Heian Shrine. After that we would decide whether we wanted to continue on east of the shrine to visit some more temples that were nestled in the eastern hills.

On the way to Kiyomizu-dera

A block away

Here we are.

The main gate to Kiyomizu-dera

School kids at the main gate

The streets north of the temple are preserved to look like they did in the old days.

The two most famous streets in this area -- Sannen-zaka and Ninen-zaka -- are mostly steps.

Ryzon Kannon. This temple is dedicated to Japan's Unknown Soldiers.

Maruyama Park is adjacent to Yasaki Shrine.

View of central Kyoto

Behind the cherry blossoms

This temple is next to Kodai-ji

We visited several lovely gardens.

Some of the nearby homes looked as old as the temples.

The famous weeping cherry tree of Maruyama Park

Along the Biwako Canal looking toward the Kyoto Zoo

The Biwako Canal

View from the bridge over the canal

We strolled through the Zoo and visited the deer compound.

The Heian Shrine Torii -- one of the largest gates in Japan

Heian Shrine

There are many beautiful gardens and ponds on the grounds of the Heian Shrine.

Back to the main area of the Heian Shrine

By the time we reached this temple it started to rain and the kids were pretty "templed out." So we hailed a cab and went back to our hotel.

We all agreed our walk was quite an  experience as we caught an inkling about what Japanese architecture and landscaping is all about and we derived a slight understanding of a sacred culture outside our Christian world. Today we would say “amazing” and “awesome” but we didn’t use those words thirty years ago.

About crowcanyonjournal

I am a family man with interests in family history, photography, history and travel.
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5 Responses to Our Five Favorite Walks — Number Two: Kyoto

  1. t.on.air says:

    One of my fav.walks too. Keep up the good work. Greetings from another walking fellow!

  2. Pingback: MM 2-17: Monochrome Madness and the letter K | Crow Canyon Journal

  3. beautiful even from 30 years ago. Great eye Crow!

  4. Peter Klopp says:

    Thanks for pointing out to me this magnificent post with interesting shots of your visit to Japan more than 30 years ago!

  5. Pingback: MM 3-50 Take Me Out to the Ballgame | Crow Canyon Journal

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