I hope that you have all rested up and are ready for the last part of today. It certainly has been a day of colour and adventure – and now we visit Ryoanji Zen Temple.
As we arrive we are greeted with more wonderful displays of colour – – and not a lot of tourists – that can only be a good thing.
Ryoanji is the site of Japan’s most famous rock garden which attracts hundreds of visitors every day (maybe they have already been and gone). But first we have to wander down the path, still, I can take my time and appreciate what is around me – it is so quiet – – this is before I actually walk up the stairs (of course) to the temple.
Originally an aristocrat’s villa, the site was converted into a Zen temple in 1450 and belongs to the Myoshinji school of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, whose head temple stands just a kilometre to the south.
These are the stairs to the temple. Granted they are not steep, but they are still stairs. Was there not any disabled monks in those days? Did they not need special access?
Every temple seems to be built on a hill or mountain and has loads of stairs. I must admit though these are not too bad.
We finally reach the famous rock garden – as for the history, the facts are less certain. The garden’s date of construction is unknown and there are a number of speculations regarding its designer.
The garden consists of a rectangular plot of pebbles surrounded by low earthen walls, with 15 rocks laid out in small groups on patches of moss. An interesting feature of the garden’s design is that from any vantage point at least one of the rocks is always hidden from the viewer. Some believe that the garden represents the common theme of a tiger carrying cubs across a pond or of islands in a sea (I cannot see that), while others claim that the garden represents an abstract concept like infinity. Because the garden’s meaning has not been made explicit, it is up to the individual to find their own meaning. My meaning is that of calm, tranquility, precision and order.
Time to move on and see what else there is to see – wonderful little walkways and peaceful little water features – –
Loz’s Pholosophy – being with a group on your travels is great – it offers security and when everything is organised it takes that unknown feeling away – but having time by yourself to explore and get your own feel for the place is much better – that’s why I love a combination of both – sometimes hard to achieve but it can be done.
Time for us to head back to our hotel for an early night – RL suggests maybe do some sightseeing around Kyoto but personally I am all flagged out. I will grab a sandwich and drink at the local little supermarket, have a very relaxing shower and then get into bed. More incredible colours tomorrow –
The danish wasn’t bad either. I make a mental note of getting more of these sandwiches to take with me on my daily travels – –