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.
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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
Quite a difference from the centre of Kyoto.