Let’s go to Kyoto! I thought I’d start out the new year with a recap of my visit to some of Kyoto’s fantastic gardens. My first stop was Ninna-ji Temple. Ninna-ji dates to the 9th century making it one of the older temples in a city full of old temples. Around a dozen buildings from different epochs surrounded by a variety of gardens make Ninna-ji a great introduction to Kyoto’s temples. The Ninna-ji website offers a brief history and an English-language blog features great photos and more detailed histories.
After exiting the Kyoto City Bus, I found myself standing directly across from the Nio-mon Gate. The gate takes its name from the Kongo-rishiki – muscular guardians – at its base.
Agyo Nio – the guardian on the right
Looking up at the gate from underneath
The Goten Palace and gardens sit just inside the gate. It is the most impressive and well-manicured area of the temple.
Black pine with very long, low branches
Japanese maple and pines behind raked sand
Many temples featured seasonal flower arrangements at their entrance. These flowers greeted guests entering the Goten Palace.
Moss and pine between buildings
Walking through the Goten
The Goten’s North Garden
Pond, maple and pines
The Five-storied Pagoda behind the Goten’s North Garden
I was really excited to see such great Fall color. In Northern California, Japanese maples typically turn brown before dropping their leaves. The vivid oranges and reds were quite a treat!
More maples and pines
A close-up of the thatch roof at the Goten
Some older, more delicate, or important buildings were completely off-limits to visitors. Most buildings, however, were far more welcoming.
Hide and seek
Decorations outside the Mie-do
Five-storied Pagoda beyond the Omuro-zakura orchard – dwarf cherry trees
Nio-mon gate from inside the temple
Next up: the Ryoan-ji Temple.
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