Kyoto’s Hōnen-in temple

After leaving Ginkaku-ji we followed part of the tree lined Path of Philosophy alongside a narrow canal down to Hōnen-in temple. The path takes its name from 20th century philosopher, Nishida Kitarō, who often wandered along the path deep in thought. For us, we were deep in concentration as Hōnen-in was allegedly easy to miss. However a sign for an art exhibition being held at Hōnen-in helped us to find our way there without any hitches. The temple was founded in 1680 to honour a priest named Hōnen.

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Descending down the stairs and along a path we passed two beautifully raked raised beds. This time in the background we actually saw one of the gardeners, something not that usual. Gardens in these temples usually seemed to be perfect as if by magic.

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There were a number of small ponds located strategically near the buildings which gave me a chance to take some photos that hopefully give you an idea of how peaceful and serene the gardens were, especially as there were very few visitors here too.

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This building was where the art exhibition was being held. (No photography inside however.) We did pop in for a look at the pottery display.

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The gardens were set into the hills.

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As usual, for our time in Japan, I couldn’t help photographing some of the old lanterns as we wandered around.

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As we took the bus back for some lunch nearer to our hotel we couldn’t help but feel that the public holiday in Kyoto had left Ginkaku -ji and Hōnen-in amazingly quiet and free of tourists which had made for a really relaxing time in two of the most beautiful temple gardens in Kyoto.

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