Friday, November 24, 2006

Eh-hum # 122

Invading Kyoto Part 1

An article from the Philippine Star written by veteran journalist Max Soliven convinced me to join a school-sponsored trip to Arashiyama, Kyoto and engage in a momijigari (maple-tree viewing). And I quote: "The former Imperial capital of 1,000 years, with a population of just 1.7 million, remains a spot of respectful pilgrimage – with Japanese flocking there to recapture the essence of what used to be Japan....It gave my heart to see the trees turning color – the autumn leaves flaming red on the maples, others flaring orange, golden yellow – a riot of shades which made you wonder whether you had fallen into some enchanted sleep and awakened to fairyland. " Here in Kobe, I've also noticed the leaves have turned either red or yellow in most trees, but my adviser told me that autumn is best seen/felt in Kyoto. While the Emperor's Palace was not part of our itenirary, the trip was subarashii...however, one must prepare to walk great distances to see the lovely sights Arashiyama has to offer.

Since we were only given a day (by the way, October 23 is a Japanese Holiday), we only have two major destinations: Nison-in Temple and Hogon-in Temple. Next to castles and Studio Ghibli, visiting real Japanese Temples and Shrines is a must for me. Between the two, Nison-in covered more land area, thus it offered more landmarks to take pictures with or to take pictures of. One is a Hall of the temple, a small shrine-like structure that sits quitely in an elevated lot.

Another is a huge Buddhist bell that people ring before offering a short prayer. Some tourists rang the bell then had their picture taken while doing it. I chose not too, thinking it is one way to respect Buddhism. But I requested my friend to take my picture while standing beside it.

Maybe because it was a holiday, some of Hogon-in's landmarks were not open to the public. It features lovely and manicured gardens that boasts trees already red in color. I did, however, manage to take a picture of a traditional Japanese home (from the outside, that is).

Stay tuned, more kwentos to come. Eh-hum

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