9/5/10 - Ginkakuji, Philosopher’s Walk, Otoyo-jinja

I rested in the morning, worn out from all the activity… plus I needed to attend to some email correspondence.  

In the afternoon, I enjoyed some lovely sightseeing. Today’s target garden was that of Ginkakuji, also known as the Silver Pavilion, a Zen temple located at the northern end of the Higashiyama hills.  The garden was beautiful and satisfying to my love of gardens.       

From Ginkakuji, I walked south through the Higashiyama hills, along quiet, charming, narrow residential streets.  Although there had been many visitors at Ginkakuji, I was almost alone once I left the temple grounds.

Pretty soon I came to Honen-ji, a quiet temple with a large cemetery.  There were hardly any tourists.

After that, I dropped down the mountain a bit and continued walking south on the Philosopher’s Walk, a small street along a tiny canal.  It was still amazingly peaceful –few people were out, and I was surrounded by the music of birds and cicadas.  I saw a flowering plant (below) that looked exactly like Obedient Plant, a Texas native!  Globalization???

Eventually I ended up at the Otoyo-jinja Shrine.  This site is not listed on most guidebooks, so it was a surprise, and completely delightful!  

At the entry to the site, I rinsed my hands at the charming fountain, as I had learned to do.

The site included small shrines dedicated to squirrels, dogs, and monkeys.  I rang the bell and clapped at the dog shrine, thinking of Mingo.

The gardening aesthetic was much more wild and natural than, say, Ginkakuji.  I liked both styles.

I had been feeling tired when I arrived at Otoyo-jinja, but left feeling much refreshed.

For dinner, I went to a small restaurant I had seen on a quiet street near Ginkakuji.  The seating was Japanese style, on tatami mats, and the large windows looked onto a lovely garden.  This restaurant specialized in yudofu.  This is tofu simmered in a plain broth, served with condiments.  Until I visited Japan, I thought tofu was a boring food.  But I have come to appreciate that it can also be a gourmet dish!  What I had at this restaurant (and others) was completely different from the dish served in America.  The flavor and texture were delicate and delicious.  When I expressed my appreciation to the waitress, she said that the chef prepared fresh tofu every morning. The meal also included appetizers, tempura, and rice and pickles.