04 January 2012

Buddhist Temples, Snow + Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurants!

Today was a day of Buddhist temples, snow + conveyor belt sushi. Based on Eikichi's recommendations (+ serendipity), LB + I definitely got our walk on today, walking first from our hotel in Nakagyo-ku into the majestic Chion-in totally by accident, where legend has it that Honen, the founder of Jōdo Schū (pure land sect Buddhism) first taught chanting namu amida butsu as an exclusive vehicle for spiritual salvation. From there, we walked to Maruyama Park into Yasaka Shrine where nihonjin were throwing coins, following Shinto prayer formulas while families ate melonpan + various yakitori.

From there we walked through old Kyōto, which was definitely one of the most charming + quaint parts in all of Kansai with its tiny cobblestone streets, multitudinous ocha, fan + mochi shops + dessert cafes, sushi restaurants + udon joints (where LB + I ate hot, delicious tempura udon + fresh ocha--nothing like it in the whole world on cold winter days!). Eventually we ended up at Kodaiji temple where we got to peer into old Buddhist meditation halls + old monastery dormitories before walking through a bamboo grove.

And then it was time for even more walking as we made the longer trek to Kiyomizu where--miracle of miracles--it started snowing! It's been four years either of us has even seen snow + it was so fucking majestic, beautiful + auspicious, the snow falling down in big, fluffy strands of cotton from the sky, covering everything in an ephemeral blanket of soft, plush white snow. After taking a short amasake break, we walked back to the hotel. Forty minutes later, we returned to Nakagyo-ku where we ate sushi from conveyor belts + poured our own tea. Today was nothing short of epic. There can never be another day like today, which makes me sad in a way, but also so deeply grateful too. I have to say, I love old Japan as much as I love new Japan, each for different reasons. Here are the pics:

Chion-in:





Maruyama Park + Yasaka Shrine:











Through the Streets of Old Kyōto to Kodai-ji:














Through the Old Streets Again to Kiyomizu:






















Conveyor Belt Sushi Restaurant!:




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