Thursday, May 28

Kyoto for Hanami, Vol. 2, Day 3: Uji and Daigo

In Japan, thank goodness for Kyoto.
Thank goodness Kyoto is in Japan.
Sort of changes the meaning, doesn't it.

On the third day, our first stop was a "quick" errand to run down to Uji, to find some of the delicious kuromame hojicha that I'd gotten in the fall.

Life is Living You

Ok, just kidding, the first stop was at Isetan, at Kyoto Station, to see if they had the tea, thus sparing us a trip to Uji.

Yummy, yummy takenoko.
Bamboo shoots.

But, of course, they didn't have it, as it isn't a very common tea, so off to Uji it was.

The JR is spelled out in hiragana, instead of katakana.

A delightful store full of all sorts of printed cloth items - handkerchiefs, bags, scarves, hats, wall hangings, hand towels, etc.
Situated on the corner of Byodoin Omotesando (the street leading up to Byodoin), near the bridge. That's the best explanation I can give you.

Established by Terashimaya-san in 1827, this store retains a "retro" funiki from its entrance to its displays to its packaging. And smells edibly delicious.

As luck would have it, of course, it was Tuesday, and of all the days of the week, the one store that sells the kuromame hojicha is closed on Tuesdays. They have all sorts of ways to order tea, but none would help me, as I was leaving Kyoto the next day, and the country two days after that.

However, all was not in vain. On the way back to the station, I picked up a belated birthday present for my mom, one for me and one for... we'll see... back at RAAK.

Uji Manhole Cover
Can't you just see kimono-clad folks of old crossing this bridge, on their daily business?
Oh, Japan.

So, from there it was on to Daigo-ji, again.
Since the first time we didn't have a chance to go into the museum or anything else, back we went with the other halves of our tickets.

Arriving at Daigo-ji

Daigo-ji's origins date back to 874 when a Buddhist monk named Shobo built a hermitage at the top of the Kamidaigo mountain and discovered a well of spiritual water, called Daigo. But it wasn't until Emperor Daigo (so named posthumously) took an interest that the temple complex began to take shape. Yakushi Hall was built in 907, and after Daigo's death, subsequent emperors continued to provide support for the temple's development.

Shutters on Reihokan

The other half of the ticket got us into the Reihokan museum at Daigo-ji, where we were able to see thousands of the treasures of Daigo-ji. Also highlighted at the time were a collection of beautiful promotional photographs used by Japan Railways. Unfortunately, photography was prohibited inside the museum.

An interesting fellow.

Outside the Reihokan stand several glorious shidarezakura and other cherry trees.


After a tour through the museum and gaping at the glorious sakura trees, we decided it was time for some refeshments to keep up the energy and spirits. Just across the way from Reihokan was an area for omiyage, ocha and okashi. So we okashi-ed.

Mitarashi dango with kinako.
Mmmm, kinako....

Built in 1605, the gate houses two statues that were sculpted in 1134.

After refreshing, we moved on to the rest of the Shimo-Daigo (lower Daigo) section of the temple.

Sakura Matsuri
The hanami festival at Daigo-ji has been around since the times of Toyotomi Hideyoshi and his extravagant parties.

Red and White

Inside the Reihokan was a display of painted screens, including one of this red and white curtain accompanied by cherry blossoms and other natural stuffs. I had hoped to find a print or postcard of it somewhere, but I had to settle for a photo of the real thing.

Yasuko and Sachiko Strolling 'Round
Festive red and white curtains line the main path through the temple grounds.

A national treasure, this five-story pagoda was begun in 936 and completed in 951 under the reigns of Emperor Daigo's two sons, Suzaku and Murakami.

Wall of a small gate at the upper section of Shimo-Daigo



As explained to me by Yasuko, after the emperors and nobility were no longer sponsoring the temples, other sources of financial support had to be found. This board is comprised of plaques bearing the names of donors.

Leaving Through Niomon

From Niomon
Evening lends a magical light to the trees and walls lining the approach to Niomon.

Sou da. Kyoto ikou.
The theme for my next Kyoto book. Should I make one. After the one I'm making now.

Leaving Daigo-ji

Outer Wall
Tall pines line the street in front of Daigo-ji. In the afternoons they lend their shape to the white outer wall of the temple complex.

Joseph and a Torii
Feeling small, Joseph finds comfort in a mini torii - placed to remind dog owners not to let their pets use the fence as a toilet.

And thus ended the sightseeing and hanami for my second-last day in Kyoto. Next Kyoto for Hanami Post: Miyako Odori!!


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