Kyoto Week 1: Temples, Shrines and Cherry Blossoms
A panorama view of Kyoto looking northwest from the hillside hotel where we are staying.
View from the hotel room.
We arrived in Kyoto right at the peak of the cherry blossom season. The blossoms are out only for a short two weeks and the whole city is abuzz as people rush from one peak viewing location to the next.
Cherry blossoms are a very pale pink that is hard to photograph against the sky. Night-time or a clear blue sky works well as you can see here.
Cemetery overlooked by a statue of Buddha.
A pagoda near the cemetery. On the day we were here the weather was bleak, evening was coming and it had started to rain so the stark sillhouettes were striking.
Canals and waterways are found throughout Kyoto. People can take boat rides underneath the flowering trees.
Torii (Shrine gates), a key Shinto symbol, are everywhere. This one is over the hillside path outside the hotel.
Further along the path was a grove of cherry trees that Valerie discovered at their peak.
Family line-up at the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
Valerie, Alex and cherry blossoms on the grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
This photo of Catherine and Alex was taken by an elderly Japanese lady who evidently felt that a little family togetherness was needed (Catherine is not a good enough sheep dog to keep Alex with the rest of the herd so they end up wandering around on their own a lot).
Alex took this photo of the gardens at the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
Also this photo.
The grounds at the Kiyomizu Temple hold a number of different shrines. Valerie is standing near Jishu shrine dedicated to the god of marriages. There are two large stones about 20 m apart here. if you can walk from one to the other with your eyes closed you will supposedly be lucky in marriage. It helps if your partner is standing at the other stone talking to you although this is probably cheating. the kids all got good luck charms here. Sophie got "lucky in love", Alex got a "lucky coin", James got "victory" and Valerie got "against disaster."
Some temples and shrines are lit-up at night to display the cherry blossoms. The grounds of the Kiyomizu Temple were particularly spectacular.
The same pagoda during the day. It holds the statue of the Koyasu Kannon - the goddess of safe delivery of babies, an interesting choice of destination for a family with four children.
Cherry blossoms at the Kiyomizu Temple. The structure dates from 1633 and is put together without nails. Valerie's comment was "So it's like Lincoln Logs, right?"
A reflection from a pond at Kiyomizu Temple. The water was absolutely still except for all the tourists dropping their cameras in it...
A very large Buddha at the nearby Kodaiji temple.
The Philosopher's Walk - a famous, and very popular canal lined by cherry blossoms.
We couldn't resist snapping photos of cherry blossoms and shrines...here's another.
During the first week the weather was brisk.
Here are the kids near the oldest pagoda in Kyoto, Yasaka-no-To (rebuilt on 1440) after questioning their mother's sanity for walking all that way to see an old building.
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