Remembering Japan: Heaven in West Kyoto

posted in Travel

Remembering Japan: Heaven in West Kyoto

Our hotel was right in the center of Kyoto by the big train station. It made it easy to hop on a train and go to the edges of the city for a day trip of which this was the first.  Ride the train to the west of Kyoto and you reach heaven.  The train ride is so memorable, going through tunnels and over hanging bridges with rivers running through and mountains dangling above.  The terrain changes drastically and the weather changes dramatically all in the span of one hour.

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As soon as you reach Keifuku Arashiyama station, Tenryuji Temple is just a short walk from there.  This temple is considered among the city’s greatest Zen temples.

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There too are tons of places for long walks of meditation.  You can walk for miles.

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As usual at many of these beautiful temples, people leave prayers and aspirational notes tied into knots on suspended rope around the temple.

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Cha Ya, one of my favorite vegetarian Japanese restaurants in SF takes its inspiration from cuisines developed by monks of this region and specifically this temple.

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Even while you eat, through the surrounding beauty, you’re reminded to be thankful for your blessings as the humble meal took place on a patio overlooking the beautiful grounds.

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Once we finished our meal, we proceeded to walk through the bamboo groves that are said to be home of a few scenes from ‘Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon’.

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The Groves end at the river — with small Izakayas at the banks.  You can see fishermen boats drifting up and down the river idling or periodically seeking better spots with more fish.  Of course, there’s the occasional tourist boat…

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