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Tenryu-ji Temple, Bamboo and buggered cameras

Kyoto Travel Blog

 › entry 14 of 15 › view all entries
Looking up at Mount Arishiyama in Kyoto.

I'll confess at the start of this that I got a little snap happy in Arishiyama.  Everything was beautiful and for the non-cameraphobic everything was a photo opportunity waiting to happen.

Climbing from the rocking Hozu-Gawa boat we were greeted with the imposing sight of Mt. Arishiyama and the surrounding mountains.  Thanking all my personal gods that I didn't have to climb any of them we strolled away from the river and into the oppressive heat of the city.  We ended up in the bamboo forest, a place of astonishing size an beauty.  My experience of bamboo is entirely of the garden variety - that and I know pandas enjoy chowing down on it, and thus I was totally unprepared for the fact that this stuff is massive.

Huge stalks towered above our heads, giving welcome shade and dropping the temperature by a degree or so.

The bamboo grove in Kyoto - reminiscent of House of Flying Daggers to me!
 Slender and straight, amazingly hollow when tapped, the bamboo soared skywards dwarfing us mere mortals scurrying round on the ground.  The sound dropped to whisper, and there was a whiff of magic in the air.  It was brilliant.  And free!

Nearby lies the Tenryu-ji temple.  Originally built in 1339, though the present buildings date from around 1900, tenryu means heavenly dragon and was built to appease the unhappy spirit of a past emperor.  All I can say is I wish people would appease me like this if I was similarly minty - it's again stunning.  Sadly, as with Todaiji in Nara, fire has ravished the temple several times.  However, the rebuilt temple is still full of charm and character.

We entered from the north gate, located in the bamboo grove.  Immediately we were surrounded by the fourteenth century Zen Sogen garden, resplendent with pools containing massive koi, the odd large frog sculpture and serene Buddha; the paths twist and turn pleasantly offering unrivalled views of the mountains and bamboo forest.  The roof of the temple peeps across from the foliage, and it's entirely convincing to believe that you have turned back time to a simpler era.  Words, at least not mine, cannot do this place justice.  Hopefully some of the many snaps can.

Reaching the temple itself you can enter the main hall and the Shoin Drawing Room (having exchanged your own footwear for a pair of indescribably tiny Japanese slippers).

I was amazed by how tall, straight and hollow these were.
 Padding around with over half my feet uncovered, we took in delicately painted screens and ceremonial objects.  A covered walkway leads to Tahoden, a pavilion and shrine located in the heart of the garden.  A seated Buddha is surrounded by fantastically painted screens covered in a whole host of animals and plants.

We returned to the drawing room and sat quietly contemplating our surroundings.  A pang of regret tugged at my heart that soon we'd have to leave and our journey was nearly over.  Sitting in Shoin, looking across a koi pool up at the mountains, time seemed to slow.  And then stop.  Eventually it was time to move on.

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Looking up at Mount Arishiyama in …
Looking up at Mount Arishiyama in…
The bamboo grove in Kyoto - remini…
The bamboo grove in Kyoto - remin…
I was amazed by how tall, straight…
I was amazed by how tall, straigh…
Some girls in kimonos walk through…
Some girls in kimonos walk throug…
The path through the bamboo grove
The path through the bamboo grove
The Sagen Garden of the Tenryu Tem…
The Sagen Garden of the Tenryu Te…
The roof of the Tenryu Temple
The roof of the Tenryu Temple
Im never sure exactly what these …
I'm never sure exactly what these…
Looking up at the bamboo grove fro…
Looking up at the bamboo grove fr…
Pond with big frog in it
Pond with big frog in it
A Buddha in the garden
A Buddha in the garden
The main hall of the temple
The main hall of the temple
Looking down across the temple and…
Looking down across the temple an…
The Sagen Garden -  it was really …
The Sagen Garden - it was really…
Koi!  Bigguns as well!
Koi! Biggun's as well!
The main hall of Tenryu
The main hall of Tenryu
More big koi
More big koi
The pond with the Arishiyama mount…
The pond with the Arishiyama moun…
Looking up at the shrine
Looking up at the shrine
Random gargoyle
Random gargoyle
This was one of the most visually …
This was one of the most visually…
We went into the main hall - we we…
We went into the main hall - we w…
The inside of the temple - I was t…
The inside of the temple - I was …
An arty shot?
An arty shot?
Looking up towards the shrine
Looking up towards the shrine
The Buddha
The Buddha
The fantastic paintings on the scr…
The fantastic paintings on the sc…
More fantastic beats on the screens
More fantastic beats on the screens
My last photo from Japan (the came…
My last photo from Japan (the cam…
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photo by: ys484