Kyoto - The fifth step ... the length of Japan. - CycleBlaze


We had a busy day planned for Kyoto.  We had a great time here last year, spending three days visiting various temples, castles and gardens.  Today we would only have time for three things because we had a number of chores that had to be handled as well.

After we got our laundry done (the great studio we have had a washing machine and a cute drying system in the bathroom) we set off for the Silver Pavilion or Ginkaku-ji.  It was conceived by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the 8th shōgun of the Ashikaga shogunate who reigned from 1449 to 1473, who had it built it as a retirement villa with the plan that it would become a Zen temple upon his death.  It is called the Silver Pavilion to distinguish it from the Golden Pavilion (which we saw last year and was built by Yoshimasa's grandfather) yet it is completely unadorned because it has been left as it was at the time of his death. The plan was that it would be covered in silver foil but it took too long to complete.

The temple itself cannot be visited but the gardens, done in that particular Japanese style of being well managed to look natural, were quite impressive.

Ginkaku-ji, known as the Silver Pagoda.
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Ginshadan - gravel racked raked into stripes.
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The forested garden is the highlight.
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The city in the background.
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We then cycled eastwards along the Philosopher's Path, a pathway next to the canal leading water to Kyoto from Lake Biwa.  It wasn't particularly striking - the best times of the year are Spring and Autumn.  However, we took the time to visit Honen-in Temple, just off the path.  The temple is off limits to tourists but the gateway is quite pretty.  While inside we visited a small exhibition of Japanese poetry, seemingly focused on death with hints of suicide - not particularly uplifting.

The gateway to Honen-in.
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After that, a nice lunch at an Indian restaurant (three curries, naan and samosas).  We had an objective to have no rice today and have a complete break from Japanese food.  Breakfast was croissants and orange juice and supper was some very expensive pizzas.  This is not an indictment of Japanese food (which we love).  It's just that after six weeks we need a bit of a change.

Today's ride: 22 km (14 miles)
Total: 2,169 km (1,347 miles)

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