Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Peace in Sanzen-in Temple

Located in Ohara of northern Kyoto, Sanzenin is a great destination for us to visit. My big friend from Tokyo took the shinkansen to come to Kyoto and he highly recommended me that we should visit this well-known temple - a peaceful place by 1-hour bus trip from downtown Kyoto.

The day we came to visit Sanzenin was beautiful. Sunshine and cool breeze welcomed us right when we got off the bus. Many cute shops line up across the path to Sanzenin. Sanzenin in Japanese means rebirth in paradise. It's really true such wonderful feeling when we took our walk in the path heading to the temple. The cool atmosphere in the mountain, friendly smiles and warm greetings from local people and sales persons from souvernir shops, lovely merchandises on display outside and inside the shops... all together made me very excited to get know better this amazing place we were visiting.
Here we go, the main gate of Sanzenin. We were introduced that Amida Buddha statue is exhibitted in this temple, being backdated from 900s. Sanzenin temple has large gardens and walking trails, actually, if you check out the map right next to main gate. I couldnt wait to get in the temple ^^
Inside the main hall of first temple in Sanzenin complex are gorgeous images of Sanzenin view from different corners and seasons. On the wall are hang many picturesque photos that visitors couldnt help stopping by and enjoying them with great surprise on Sanzenin's real beauty. My quick taking photo has given me chance to get some of those beautiful, since you know, it's not allowed to take photo inside here though.
By walking through the hall, you can find lovely karesansui - Japanese rock garden with moss and bonsai decoration. Also you can find valued displays of caligraphy and Buddism statues in sliding doors and seperate tidy rooms when visiting. There is a public room for you to learn how to write Japanese caligraphy. That is a very nice room in old study room arrangement. What a pity that I couldnt take picture inside to show you how lovely they are.
Early built during Heian Period since 794, Sanzenin is a large temple with beautiful Japanese-style gardens. The atmosphere was so tranquil when we walked closer to outside of the exhibition rooms. Everyone coming here, after visiting the exhibitions, really knew how to enjoy the peaceful moments by resting and seeing great view of the garden.
In Japan, garden -making is really an art, like calligraphy or ink painting. The gardens in Sanzenin have magnificent settings with beautiful ponds, moss and maple trees. Over here you can see big golden fishes swimming around under the water. Above are beautiful foliage swinging along with little breeze.
It's lucky for visitors who come here in autumn season, when the foliage change their color into red. But I still felt myself very lucky to come to this place, where as my first expectation, I could find peace, pleasure and rebirth in my soul. Every worries and sadness about future ahead seemed like to be removed. The timeless beauty of the temples shines, alluring us into the authentic charm of the place.
Not forgetting after praying in Japanese-way, we chose our amulets from a box that the monk inside the temple showed to us. My friend explained to me my note since it was in Japanese, which said that my journeys ahead would be with joy and merry. I dont know if he wanted to encourange me be a brave girl or he read what really said from my amulet or both. Whichever it was, I loved to hear those and that just made me smile. Thank you my M for making me feel peaceful that way.
Good amulets will be brought home while bad ones ware bound to tree branches to have gods ward off evil spirits.
Sanzenin complex has many temples which stay deep inside large garden area. We took a walk to another nearby temple, where display a huge gorgeous Budda statue and some monks are doing pray and some visitors are following their ways to make wishes. No words can be worth to describe how incredible the statue inside is than your experience. Come visit and you will see it's worth going to Sanzenin.
 We stopped by the tea shop near the exit gate. Here they serve free cool and warm specialty tea from local area for visitors.
Everyone stopped by here was all happy because they could have nice talk and share with this friendly and caring woman. She was busy to giving us cups of tea. I love the tea here but the name is difficult to remember since it is in Japanese. Uhm I need to ask my big friend what the tea brand is called.
 Kannon Hall
Before leaving Sanzenin temple, my big friend and I had a nice photo in front of Kannon Hall, inside the Sanzenin place. Time for lunch then. We looked for a convenient restaurant to have our meals.
Many nice restaurants are on the way but also most are crowded in the peak time for lunch. Finally, we found a cozy restaurant. Inside were a group of family having their noodles. We decided to get in.
Our orders were the same, a big lunch after having a lot of walking that morning.
On the way going back to the bus station to Kyoto downtown, I snatched photos of a lazy cat looking so sleepy on the information board. Her owner was next by busy promoting his souvernirs to visitors passing by.
And she even didnt care when the flash in my camera flared up. Look at her eyes, poor you Japanese kitty. I felt sorry to wake you up by my flash, but I couldnt help taking your photo. You looked so cute.
Houses on the path back to bus station
Beautiful typical gate in Japanese old house, wooden gate and maple trees
Thank you my M. I enjoyed so much the trip with you to Ohara and Sanzenin temple. I feel very priviledged to visit Sanzen-in and having unforgettable experiences with you in this wonderful rebirth paradise. I would definitely recommend this place to my friends who are going visit lovely Japan. 
For my friends who want to visit this place, more information of Sanzenin temple can be found here: Please check out this website.

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