Japan 2013: Kyoto Chapter 2

Ginkakuji - The Silver Pavilion

It was mid-morning by the time we arrived at one of Kyoto's most famous sites - the grand gardens of Ginkakuji. Japan.com discusses the origins of this lovely horticultural paradise:

Ginkakuji (銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion) is a Zen temple along Kyoto's eastern mountains (Higashiyama). In 1482, Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of today's temple, modeling it after Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion), his grandfather's retirement villa at the base of Kyoto's northern mountains (Kitayama). The villa was converted into a Zen temple after Yoshimasa's death in 1490.

As the retirement villa of an art obsessed shogun, Ginkakuji became a center of contemporary culture, known as the Higashiyama Culture in contrast to the Kitayama Culture of his grandfather's times. Unlike the Kitayama Culture, which remained limited to the aristocratic circles of Kyoto, the Higashiyama Culture had a broad impact on the entire country. The arts developed and refined during the time include the tea ceremony, flower arrangement, noh theater, poetry, garden design and architecture.

The artistic grandeur of Ginkakuji could be seen in the magnificent palatial-like gardens surrounding the pavilion. We had a wonderful time simply taking in the sights, and enjoying the numerous floral varietals. It was truly a lovely Sunday morning walk!
Luscious greenery.

A special father-son time.
Little Z enjoying the walk.
Z and his Ee Ee Chen.
One for the road!

Exploring Gion

As the afternoon sun headed towards the horizon, we made our way to Gion, described as one of Kyoto's most famous geisha districts. The tourist in us was hoping to catch a glimpse of at least one of Japan's historically-renown artisans. While our wish was not granted, we were, however, able to soak in Kyoto's historical and cultural atmosphere. Little craft shops dotted the charming streets which we spend the afternoon weaving through. And when our feet finally decided to protest, we stopped alongside the Kamogawa River, which runs through the centre of the city, for a much-deserved time of rest.

Little E sitting snugly in Daddy's backpack as he soaks in the sights of the Kamogawa River.
Z in the mood for posing.
And he also decides to do a dance by the river. Quite an enjoyable evening!
The Lim family enjoying Kyoto just like other families - playing by the river
as the sun sets.

We head off for a delectable ramen dinner in one of Kyoto's fashionable dining districts.
Sue and Andrea clearly in ramen bliss!
As the sun sets, we head off to a lovely ramen dinner, one of the best we have ever had, before returning to our lovely hotel to prepare for the next day's exciting river adventure to the ancient town of Arashiyama.

Previously: The red gates of the majestic Fushimi Inari.
Next: The exciting Hozugawa boat ride and a reflective time in the Arashiyama bamboo groves.

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