Today we go for a night photo-walk to Fushimi Inari-taisha, the head shrine of the kami Inari, located just a train stop away from the bustling city of Kyoto.
While on my evening walk today, I dropped in at Ukimido Pavilion. Ukimido is a hexagonal gazebo over the Sagiike Pond in an aloof area of Nara Park. During summer evenings the floating pavilion is illuminated and it feels very relaxing sitting in the center of the pond surrounded by enchanting lights.
I love walking around Osaka Castle in the evenings. The castle was built by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, who ruled Japan in the latter half of the 16th century. The stone walls and moats surround the castle separating it from the bustling city. As dusk sets in, the sodium lamps light up the pathways surrounding the castle. The weeping sakura leaves along the wide moat briskly sway in the wind and the castle itself looks like a fantasy structure from the mythical age of dragons.
Today we take a walk down to Yasaka-dori in Kyoto to the stunning Yasaka-no-to Pagoda. Built in 592, the Pagoda is the only standing structure of the Hokan-ji Temple. The rest of the structures have either been destroyed by fires or earthquakes over the years.
Hōryū-ji is one of the seven great temples of Nara. Today we investigate the Pagoda at the grounds, said to be one of the oldest standing wooden structures in history. The tree used in the construction of the Pagoda dates back to 594 A.D. Can wood even survive that long!
We decided to do something different this new year eve. We walked down to Todaiji at midnight to usher in the new year with the blessings of the great Daibutsu. For it is only during New Year eve that the upper doors, in front of the face of the Great Buddha, are opened so all can witness the eyes of the Daibutsu.
One cannot but feel tiny in front of Todaiji, home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha, housed in the colossal Daibutsuden Hall. Constructed in 752 AD as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples, it rose to become one of the most powerful temple in Japan, guarded by the fierce Sohei warrior monks.
I go back to explore Kasuga Taisha, shrine of a thousand lanterns, hidden away in the primeval forest of Kasugayama. Shinto shrines are generally destroyed and rebuilt every 20 years for purification purposes and this is the 57th re-incarnation of the 1700 year old Shrine.
I took the Nara Kotsu bus to explore the 7th century temple of Yakushi-ji in the suburbs of Nara. Known as the Temple of Medicine, Yakushi-ji is among Unesco’s list of “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” World Heritage Site.