Japan day 15

Japan day 15
Kyoto-Katata 54 km
From the ridiculous to the sublime…. I decided not book another 12 hour shift in a 6×3′ cubicle, comfortable though it was. It was time to get away from cities, and I fancied the idea of sleeping by a lake. The next day’s route up to the Sea of Japan was going to skirt the biggest lake in the country, so I stole into that route this afternoon, and am composing this little piece to the sound of water lapping onto the shore.
And yes, I left my cubicle shortly after 6am this morning, and headed to the district that was thick with temples and shrines.

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1700 temples and shrines in one city….why Kyoto? Well, Kyoto had been the capital of Japan under the Shoguns for over 1000 years, and in that time it accumulated deities and places to worship them in.

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Not even Rome with its inflated number of churches can match Kyoto. Around every corner you will stumble across yet another. You could be kept busy for weeks.
I visited about 10,

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listened to monks chanting and sounding the gong, watched families preparing for a blessing or a wedding, and with thousands of others, enjoyed the extraordinary display of cherry blossom.

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The city parks, temples and shrines, are a riot of white and pink blossom. People stroll under it, stopping to study it carefully, probably making comment on how it compares to previous years. The media in Japan constantly runs updates on its progress, and people start preparing for the big hanami picnic, when a traditionally coy nation grows a little wilder, a little more boisterous in its behaviour……encouraged, of course, by liberal amounts of sake.

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Tonight, my tent is about 20 feet from the water’s edge of Lake Biwa. As I look across the water, all I see are the cones of a few volcanic islands…..and hear nothing but the lapping water, and the occasional train in the distance.

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Quite a difference from the centre of Kyoto.

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About Frank Burns

Looking for the extraordinary in the commonplace………taking the road less travelled……..striving for the ‘faculty of making happy chance discoveries’ in unremarkable circumstances. Click on the Personal Link below to visit my webpages.

Posted on April 5, 2015, in End-to-End of Japan 3000kms and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 11 Comments.

  1. Thanks for sharing this trip.

  2. did you manage to see the total lunar eclipse? (picture in todays Telegraph at Shiraishi)

  3. A lovely spot to end the day. Here in Lancashire the Hanami season has yet to start.

  4. Gosh, what an exciting trip! Sadly, from the more recent posts, you seem to be moving from sunny late spring to rainy early spring! I hope you got some time for sight-seeking in Kyoto – I was there last autumn, just as the greens were turning to reds and browns. There are so many things to see, but the mountainside temple at Kiyomizu-dera​ and the gold and silver temples of Kinkaku-ji and Ginkaku-ji must come high up the list, as well as the Inari shrine at Fushimi with its corridor of vermilion torii gates, and the famous rock garden at Ryoan-ji. A bit off the beaten track, but I found the temple complex at Daitoku-ji very peaceful.

    • You’re right, enough of interest to keep the eager beaver busy for a week. I spent a long morning there, zipping around on the bike….but the temples had serious competition in the ‘sakura’.

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