Day 1: 大徳寺 (Daitokuji)

After what was a super taxing day of flying and driving, today was our first day out to explore Kyoto. The morning started off with a nice breakfast at the hostel and train ride to 今出川 (Imadegawa) where we had a lecture on the monastic core of 大徳寺, it’s sub-temples and Rinzai Zen Buddhism.

We were going to tour around 大徳寺 a little later in the day, but first a super delicious vegetarian lunch around the site.

Completely vegetarian near the temples.

Completely vegetarian lunch near the temples. Restaurant: Izusen

After lunch was the tour and we got to see several representations of Buddha Shakyamuni and the insides of some of the sub-temples around 大徳寺. The sub-temples have these amazing dry landscape gardens and it was cool to see how monks that might train in this area live day-to-day. I have to say that my favorite part of the tour was Juko-in, a sub-temple that housed a collection of beautiful fusuma-e or sliding door art. The tour we took of the collection was explained to us in complete Japanese (super proud of my listening skills) and it made me appreciate the details in every stroke that was painted. Each panel had a meaning, it connected to the panels next to it and the entire room was meant to be a message that either represented a belief of the Japanese people, or paid homage to the respected figures enshrined at the temple. The works are painted by Kano Eitoku and his father Kano Shoei and Google has the images of the screens, but the straight across layout really doesn’t do either artist justice.

Kano Eitoku’s Birds and Flowers.

Fusuma-e goes hand in hand with the structure of the room it is created for so if you ever have a chance, I highly recommend it.

Lastly, to end the day, we went to Imamiya Shrine near大徳寺 where we split amongst the two competing aburi-mochi shops. Another オススメ(recommendation) if you’re in the area!


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