Monday, 20 October 2008

Kyoto Tour in the afternoon

The second half of our Kyoto tour was also awe-inspiring! We had been taken to the Kyoto Craft Center for lunch where we got to look at (and consider buying) the many marvelous traditional crafts of the region. They even had the artists hard at work, so we could see the care and skill involved in producing the many beautiful artifacts.

Floor after floor of objects were on display!

I wanted to buy one representative object form each vendor, but of course I had to restrain myself!

Instead I refused to rein in my desire for the buffet provided on the second floor. We had sushi, spaghetti, bean desserts and all manner of good things!

Our next stop was my absolute favorite place in all of Kyoto San--ju--san-gendo - the largest wooden structure in Japan.


It is filled with 1001 life-sized images of the goddess of Compassion called Kannon in Japan.She supposedly has 1000 arms, although the statues each only have (I believe) 41 arms). We were not allowed to take pictures inside the building, so instead I have borrowed these images from the net.

The statues were made by someone who believed that by creating so many statues of Kannon he could gain his desires, because there is a story that says if you pray to Kannon 1000 times whe will grant you her compassion.

Each Kannon figure has an individual face and they were completed by many different artists.

In between the rows of Kannon sculptures are the 39 (?) Boddhisattivas called Generals. These were based on Hindu myths and many can be recognized as incarnations of famous Hindu gods.

These carvings are also absolutely breath-taking.

Here are a series of images from the Hall. In the center of the hall sits a large gilt figure.

In the back (because the hall is so long, they have practiced for and held archery contests. )

This is absolutely my most favorite spot in Kyoto and maybe even in all of Japan.

Our next stop was the Heian Jingu Shrine. This is an unforgettable shrine in the red/orange style of the Chinese.

The Shrine itself is a relatively modern building complex, having been built in 1895 to commemorate the beginning of the Heian dynasty 110 years before.

The dramatic quality of the architecture makes it an ideal place for exciting photography.

Another view of one of the buildings.

This garden has symbolic islands in the lake representing turtles and longevity. I'm sorry that I can't better remember what each island stands for and how they are represented.

It was a tranquil and inviting place.

Here is a lantern along the lake of the garden.

And of course it is a favorite spot for weddings. No one can resist taking a portrait of a Japanese bride in her long white robe with its hood designed to hide the horns that supposedly will soon make her husband very unhappy.

It doesn't look like the groom cares, but the bride's expression almost seems to confirm the myth. Of course if this is anything like any other wedding I've seen, they are probably both so stressed out that their thoughts are a million miles away.

Our final destination was Kiyo Mizudera, known for its healing waters. On our way to the temple we passed this monk asking for alms.

One enters the famous cliff temple from below climbing dozens of stairs and passing this multi-level pagoda-like building.

The temple was begun in 798 but most of the buildings are from the 17th century.

legend has it that if one drinks from the three sources of water one can have longevity, wisdom and or health, but that one must choose only two of the three.

We saw many people seeking the therapeutic value of the spring. There are also used to be the belief that if one jumped off the platform and survived the 13 meter drop that one would get one's wish. Supposedly some 85% of people survived, but they have now made it illegal to tempt fate in this way.

Finally tired but happy Chris and I were deposited by our bus driver near the river that leads to our Ryokan. here an egret pursues an evening dinner before the night completely settles in.


neroli said...

Oh, beautiful, dear one---thank you.
Just when I've been challenged with metta---Kannon and her 1,ooo arms!
I'm glad that you are in your element...

The Artist formerly Known as Purpleworms (!) said...

So wonderful to hear from you! I'm dying to know how you are doing. I've checked your blog periodically, but am so happy to see you have surfaced again!

Pamela said...

tough choice: health, longevity or wisdom. I think I'd choose health & wisdom ... as certainly longevity would be a result of both.