Japan 2013: Day 6 Next Up – Kyoto! Part 2

DAY 6 (CON’T)

Did not manage to find a nice place anywhere for a post lunch drink/dessert. Popped my head out of level 10/11 of the building (The Cube) and saw that there was an outdoor area with escalators leading right back down to the train station ……

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Decided to head up to the observation deck right on top of the building 1st, before coming back down again. Views of Kyoto City (Hachijo side south of the station) ……

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Enjoyed the cooling walk down the escalators back into the train station (temperature was around 12 to 15 degrees). Still feeling slightly dis-orientated as I tried to locate the bus terminal just right outside the station (north side) …… followed by another 10 to 15 minutes spent looking for the correct bus number (and berth) in order to take Bus 100 to my next location – Ginkakuji Temple!

Located the berth and hopped onto Bus 100. 40 min later, finally reached Ginkakuji, or rather the bus-stop near Ginkakuji! It was only 210pm, and already feeling the lethargy (a combination of an early start + the long and winding bus ride) – and my brain was calling out to me for coffee! No cafes along the road except for this small little restaurant right beside the bus-stop.

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Went through the menu (at the door) and saw that they do serve coffee, thus went in.

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My 400 JPY coffee. Believe it was instant coffee at best. Looked around and saw a few patrons having lunch. Despite the cheapest lunch set being at 1800 JPY, however the food seem pretty exquisite (from the picture that I managed to snap of the table next to me), and it would have been a great experience to have enjoyed a local Kyoto style lunch here …… but since I have already taken my lunch earlier at Kyoto Station, no chance to check out the local Kyoto cuisine here. What a pity indeed!

After the quick coffee, proceeded to quickly walk towards Ginkakuji.

Street lined with autumn trees and a row of taxis waiting in line ……

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Small street leading to Ginkakuji ……

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Shops along the street selling various streetfood and even postcards to send back home (like the olden times when there was no internet). Saw a cafe selling UCC coffee also. Damn! Could have had a nice coffee here ……

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Finally reached after a short 5 min walk ……

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Ginkakuji, also known as Silver Pavilion is a Zen temple along Kyoto’s eastern mountains (Higashiyama). Apart from the main building (silver pavilion itself), Ginakkuji is also well known for its beautiful moss garden and unique dry sand garden. Ginkakuji is also listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site – under Historical Monuments of Ancient Kyoto (Kyoto, Uji & Otsu Cities). You can read more about Ginkakuji from Japan Guide and from wikipedia as well, on how it started as a retirement villa (as a sort of cousin to the famous Golden Pavillion), become it became converted to a Zen Temple.

Unique dry sand garden on the temple compounds, also known as ‘Sea of The Silver Sand’ ……

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Sand patterns close up ……

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The Silver Pavilion surrounded by the moss garden and pond. And finally, autumn leaves coming nicely into bloom ……

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Walking path leading to the hill behind the temple buildings. Saw some nice shades of red and yellow leaves ……

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Some interesting sightings on the walk …… first, a 500 year old tree.

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A small waterfall, followed by a wishing pond ……

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More steps to climb ……

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Bamboo groves ……

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View of the temple grounds from the hill (where the walking path is) ……

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More beautiful autumn foliage ……

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Last look at the Silver Pavilion ……

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At the end of the tour of the temple and its surroundings which took around 45 min in total, I realised that there was no silver at all on the pavilion. The buildings probably form a very small part of the entire surrounding, and the main highlight is definitely the dry sand and moss gardens, and the autumn leaves/koyo surrounding it ……

Came across a matcha ice-cream & cream puff stall when walking out of the temple and back to the street I came from …… Would be nice having an ice-cream while taking a walk down my next destination – Philosopher’s Path. But ended up not getting it 😛

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