-Mizuno Katsuhiko and Kayo
"Kyoto has a wonderful embracing capacity. In a way you feel small and insignificant, as if looking up into a night full of stars. And yet it feels so personal, unlike in the elaborate buildings and castles of Europe. There is a more humble feeling about Kyoto; a sense that she was built by hands, not money."
- Sugihara Iona
I visited more places in Kyoto, and switched my last two nights to another guest house, also small, this one with two employees, one a very attractive Japanese gal named Jumi. I visited many temples, walked the famed creeking boards of Nijo Castle, saw the tallest wooden pagoda in all of Japan, attended a Japanese flea market on the grounds of Buddhist temple, with monks walking in processions and burning incense through the shops and shoppers. I took a train out to Arashiyama and the temple and gardens there and walked the river and monkey hill. I so hoped to swim int he river and jump from the bridge, but the water below was only ankle deep and offered no calming pool to escape the heat and sun. I visited famous Zen gardens and sat in silence staring out at the stones manicured in to a deep simplicity. I cannot recall all the places I visited, nor the names of the many temples and shrines and gardens that I saw. Often I would visit a temple only for the gardens, more marveled at the blend of water and stone among the trees than with the great temples. I sat on lawns and watched both sky and people. I relaxed in sacred shade. I breathed, and enjoyed, and prayed the many prayers I do always pray. I think my favorites in all of Kyoto were the Inari Shrine and the Golden Pavillion. The Inari Shrine I loved for my silent walk through the red torries, the dusk and the dark, and I captured in the long halls of the torries. The Golden Pavillion, or kinkakuji temple is a temple of gold serenely standing over water with lillies and coy and ducks floating and swimming. I walked all around the large pond, with the pavillion standing magnificently blended in with the trees and
water, yet standing out as if to say in triumphant voice "Here I am. Remember me among the water and lillies . Here I am and have been." I loved the pavilion for how it stood above the water in vibrant gold surrounded by a living pond. Also, I enjoyed my beautiful new friend, Jumi. We stayed up talking each night I stayed at the guest house till 5:00 a.m., and I enjoyed a fun and fleeting crush.
Like Tokyo, Kyoto offered me precisely what I hoped for, temples and shrines, and a glance in to an old culture, a city rich in heritage and history. I'll remember, like I remember the many sacred moments and sights of my life.