The Moss Temple and the Bamboo Forests

Woohoo… It’s the weekend! 🙂 Glorious, glorious weekend… I wish you a very happy, fruitful one *grin* I’ve made time to upload the final pictures from my Japan trip, and the following pictures show my last day in Kyoto. Sigh. Spring has arrived, and I’ve been told that it’s so beautiful there now – with so many things happening!

For instance, the beautiful geishas (all the geiko and maiko in Kyoto) will be dancing at Yasaka Jinja this evening at 6pm. Also, the national Kyudo competition happens tomorrow, as well as, Izumi Shikibu’s memorial service. Next Sunday sees people celebrate the life of Ono no Kamachi when they go to Zuishin-in for the Hanezu Odori spring dance.

You may remember me gushing about these two talented women and their poetry in my blog some posts ago *sheepish* But their haikus are truly so, so wonderful!

Anyways, before I showcase my pictures, I really wanna give a shout out to thank my darling friend Weili for this lovely present… a gorgeous oil painting, which is a marvelous reproduction of the masterpiece, The Great Wave Of Kanagawa (神奈川沖浪裏) by the well-known Japanese artist, Katsushika Hokusai.

I’d always loved this piece of art, the original being a wood block print, and had the picture on my iPhone screen-saver for the longest time. Weili, who’s also very much into photography and art, noticed it and we had a lengthy passionate conversation about art over dinner some weeks ago 🙂

As you can see, my present is still wrapped in plastic… hung up right next to a reproduction of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night, another absolute favorite of mine which I love and adore to bits. Weili works for the Singapore government as a consultant by day, but my chivalrous friend also owns an online art gallery.

As in her business is based online, not that she sells online art for a living… ahahahaha. Click on the link above where her name is, to  contact her if you’re interested in getting some nice pieces for your office or living room 😉

Okay, all that said, now here’s my pictures *sheepish* My last day in Kyoto was spent visiting the beautiful Kokedera (moss temple), formally known as Saihoji. A special pass was needed as very few people were allowed entry daily, Kokedera being a UNESCO world heritage site. After a delicious vegetarian lunch, the group of us took a lovely walk through the lush bamboo groves at Arashiyama after. The view and scenery were simply breath-taking. The kindness of the people, I will also never forget ♥

You enjoy…

Entrance of Kokedera (Moss Temple) formally known as Saihoji in Kyoto.

We had to get special entry passes weeks prior for this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

It's got a long and beautiful history, here's some information about it...

Still being Winter, it was chilly and I wished I brought my gloves with me... my hands were freezing!

A wide variety of moss grows in the temple, and they were so cute to touch! 🙂

FYI, koke = moss & dera = temple

Upon entry, we were all ushered into the meditation hall where we had to recite the Heart Sutra ♥

Reflections of a pond, which was in the shape of the word 'heart' in Chinese.

We took a walk through the beautiful compound later

It had a majestic stillness and serenity to it...

I felt peacefulness enter my heart as we enjoyed our slow walk in the temple's sprawling gardens...

Light and shadow...

Sunbeams on rooftops

Soft moss covered grounds

Someone said she could almost picture me as a Buddhist nun under a tree! *g*

The moss was a beautiful variety, not icky green slime, as you'd thought 😉

The air was fresh and crisp, and I'm sure it'd be even more beautiful in Spring 🙂

Lovely foliage...

So much character...

Beauty in all things...

These moss species remind me of the cute little green forest spirits in Hayao Miyazaki's Mononoke-Hime!

We stood in silence, appreciating everything around us

This is one reason why very few people are admitted in daily, they don't want hordes destroying the compound.

Believe it, there's more than 120 types of moss 🙂

IMHO, it was certainly worth the 3,000 yen fee.

If you're not driving, take the city bus to Kokederamichi, and head west.

Reflections of the beautiful sky from the pond

Ditto...

Looks like a ring of dancing Sprites around the tree 🙂

The ancient temple was established during the Nara Period, then restored and converted into a Zen temple in 1339.

This spectacular garden has strongly influenced subsequent Japanese garden design.

For those interest, the temple address is: Saihoji Temple, 56 Jingatani-cho, Matsuo, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto, 615-8286, Japan

To make a reservation, send a request by postal mail to the temple with your name, the number of people in your group, the name and address of your "group representative" and the proposed date of your visit, as well as a self-addressed, stamped return postcard.

The request must reach the temple at least seven days before the date of your intended visit, but far more time is recommended. Reservations are not possible via internet or over the phone.

Ancient stone steps worn away by time...

Tree of life

Paths of reflections

We leave the moss temple for lunch

The 7 of us enjoyed a hearty vegetarian lunch

Arashiyama is a beautiful place 🙂

Some of the healthy spread we had

We had ice-cream dessert later at a popular joint

Apparently the healthy ice-cream was gravity defying!

The BFF had one but I was still feeling full from our lunch which had many courses, and plenty of tofu!

We took a stroll down the lovely bamboo forest...

The bamboo groves are found behind Tenryuji Temple and along the trail to the Okochi Sanso.

FYI, the bamboo is still used to manufacture various products, such as baskets, cups, boxes, mats and pieces of art at workshops in the Arashiyama area.

Picturesque 🙂

Peaceful graves

Temples, temples, temples

Mesmerizing mountains...

I was so thankful that I was able to experience all this... seriously, these pictures do it no justice!

Along the way, I noticed these tykes...

かわいい!!! (cute)

It's amazing how lush the bamboo forest was, it reminded me of that scene in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.

Along the way, we met some really friendly locals.

A Japanese man started talking to me and the group of us had a great conversation with him 🙂

He explained that each segment of shoot = 1 day's growth!

The friendly local was really passionate about the place and brought us off the main track to see what he promised, to be a spectacular view!

The lot of us trudged on, up the steep incline...

And that's him explaining that the husks on the trees were to house sleeping insects needing warmth during Winter, and they were thrown into fires to be destroyed before Spring, so these harmful bugs do not hurt the trees.

And viola... the view he promised.

It was amazing, to see the rolling mountains surround you.

Its beauty was immense.

Mang spotted a ryokan on the mountain and expressed interest to find out more about it. I hope she gets her wish fulfilled and explores it 🙂

We later spotted plume blossoms that had just sprung open...

Pretty little things, aren't they 🙂

We took an enjoyable stroll back down to the car

And passed by monuments...

It was a beautiful day and i was with great company!

Jon, Okaasan Mang's classmate, one of the more interesting Americans I've met on my travels... he's very knowledgeable about the ways of Japan and yes, he's wearing monk robes! I ♥ this picture of him, an unguarded moment...

There were ducks swimming in the water 🙂

And occasionally, there would be sightings of wild monkeys too 🙂

I wished I could sit there forever...

After resting, we got up to leave and I saw a father and son playing, skipping stones across the water...

I ♥ Kyoto

There you go 🙂 Sorry it took awhile to share these jems with you… i had to find time to process these pictures, upload them, you know how it goes… *wry grin* But I do hope you enjoyed them, like my friends Jean & Glenn. LOL. Apparently the BFF & I have inspired the radio DJs to wanna go to the very lovely Takayama, where it snowed!

Righty… that’s all I have for now, that’s the end of my Japan holiday. The rest I’ve got are pictures of me and the BFF at the various train stations, air ports and pit stops. LOL. I hope you enjoyed the pictures, though they seriously do the places no justice.

Have a great weekend! 🙂

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1 Comment

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One response to “The Moss Temple and the Bamboo Forests

  1. Kenneth

    That boy carrying his sister(?) was too precious for words. 🙂

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