Sunday, March 18, 2012


The kids and I went to Kodai-ji Temple today. It is one of the southernmost temples in the really sprawling temple complex that stretches south and east from Gion. This one backs up into the mountains and has a huge bamboo grove. But the reason we went is because of the spring dragon art in the zen rock garden. I just happened to stumble through this temple earlier this week when a colleague (Hi, Pat) came through town, and I knew the kids would really like the dragon.  It was overcast and sprinkling but it was really beautiful. There are some really nice screen paintings of dragons and tigers in this temple.

Here we are towards the entrance with a nice tree blossoming in the background. It won't be long until the cherry blossoms are out!

This is the dragon, "swimming" through the zen rock garden. Its spines and 'backbone' are made out of roof tiles. It submerges below the 'waves' in a few places.

way off in the distance on the right is the tail with "tail spikes"

this is the head from behind; we couldn't get any closer as the temple (to the right in the pictures) was closed for some special ceremony.

After the dragon we walked through a second building ...

... next to a pretty pond ...

and then over a bridge and up a lot of steps to some buildings at the top.

This building was the most decorated I've seen in all of Japan. Normally the ends of the wood are just painted white but this one had all sorts of reds and blues and greens, very bright! Really amazing. The inside had a decorated ceiling with a dragon, and lots of gold (or brass?)

We went further up and saw these stone lanterns and some gravestones (?)

We then walked down through a bamboo grove (the bamboo was often 4-6 inches in diameter!) and saw these beautiful flowers around.

We then walked back to the bus and were rewarded with this great view of a temple in the distance. Kyoto is really such a beautiful city. So amazing.

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