Friday, May 15

Kyoto for Hanami, Vol. 2, Day 2, Part 2: Koryuji, Arashiyama and Nijojo

Yamazakura (?)

Next Stop: Koryuji

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Just down the street from Eigamura is Koryu-ji, the oldest temple in Kyoto (establishment-wise, not structure-wise). We didn't do too much exploring, as it was a little late for going into the buildings, but we took lots of kimono pictures around the grounds and under the cherry blossoms.

I can't remember the name of this plant, but I finally realized that it is the source of the Spring Stinkiness I've stumbled through from time to time.
Pieris japonica?

Checking In
Yasuko checks out times and fees. We didn't go in.

Eaves and Faces

Most of my pictures from Koryuji were of Yasuko and Sachiko posing in their kimono, so I don't have much to offer you here... but there's more!

Reflections at the Train Station
Waiting at what must be the Uzumasa-koryuji Sta. When we get moving about, I just follow Yasuko, really.
The gentleman in the middle was leaving Koryuji behind us, and had been snapping pictures of Yasuko and Sachiko in their kimono. So I got him at the station.

Yasuko and the Train
Taking a picture of Sachiko



Butterflies and Pine

From Koryu-ji we took a train out to Arashiyama to enjoy some less urban hanami.

Tickets to Tenryu-ji.

This was perhaps my third trip to Arashiyama, but only my first time inside the Tenryu-ji grounds. And I have to say, it was a fantastic experience.

Short on time, we didn't go into the building, but walked about the grounds, finding all the blossoming shrubs and trees of early spring. How exciting the spring blossoms of Japan. Since I have lived in Japan and have done this blog, I have become more and more interested in the plants, finding out names and paying attention to when they bloom. That has been my Japanese experience: the closeness to the changing of the seasons, marked by the ebb and flow of blossoms, blooms, plantings, sprouts, harvests, and bareness.

Oh, how I miss it now. The rice fields must be spectacular in their newly-planted, reflective state.

I really should have gotten in the habit of carrying a small notebook with me. Yasuko and Sachiko know the names of everything, or at least ask if they don't. If I had, I might remember and be able to tell you the name of this variety.


The sun was starting to go down, and we would soon have to leave the grounds. I was tired from a looooong day of walking, picturing, carrying my bag and camera, and it was starting to get colder.

So when we came to a point where there was the choice of going up or just going back, I was leaning towards just going back. But Yasuko and Sachiko thought I might like to go up - to where I could see a view of the city. I still wasn't thoroughly convinced, but I went anyway. Their suggestions usually tend to bear excellent fruits.

So up I went. And my reaction upon reaching the top was a whole-hearted "Uwaaaaaaa!"

I can't remember what he was making...

Final Stop: Nijo-jo

I love Nijo-jo. Ever since my first experience, the first time I went to Kyoto and was spending time by myself, totally kando-shita from the uguisu floors and grand yet delicate corridors, I have loved Nijo-jo.

This time, once again we were not able to go into the castle, but had a special Light Up ticket for the grounds. Yasuko and Sachiko got in free because they were wearing kimono. I really have to hand it to them for going the whole day in kimono and zori.

The light up was wonderful, and at the end of a long day I was easily moved, missing my home in Ena, my kids, this magical Japan that I would no longer have everyday access to.

Matcha and Manju

In January, Yasuko, Sachiko and I had our first matcha of the New Year at Nijo-jo. In April we had a lovely Light Up Hanami matcha. Yummy.

Just past the tent-lined omiyage and okashi section, was this building, housing the biggest ikebana arrangement I had ever seen. Bamboo, sakura, pine and forsythia made up the most part of the display. In front were three koto. Just as we were about the leave, three women entered with their songbooks and sat down for a short koto concert. Oh, Timing and your glorious surprises.

Light Up!
Joseph and I peace it up in front of Nijo-jo.

And that was the end of my second day in Kyoto.

More to come!


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