Peace at Shoren-in

Day 15 · Shoren-in, Kyoto Scroll down

The original plan for the afternoon after coming back from the ryokan was to take the train to Nara, but Tomoko-san and Satoko-san gave us so many good suggestions of temples to visit, that we threw the plan out the window, and decided to visit those instead.

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After leaving the ryokan and making a quick pit stop at the hotel to freshen up, we first started walking towards Chion-in. We’d seen its enormous gate a couple of days before and we were intrigued. The temple is in constant renovation so it had more modern aisles in between some very old ones, but the most interesting thing was a nightingale hallway we had to walk through on the way to the main building. You see, a nightingale floor is nothing more than regular wood planks sitting on top of nails that rub against other metal parts to create a creaking noise when someone walks over them. Think of it as a very rudimentary burglar alarm which actually sounds like birds chirping away.

Chion-in's Sanmon Gate

Chion-in’s Sanmon Gate

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You can have your own roof tile on a Japanese temple.

You can have your own roof tile on a Japanese temple.

This was the main section of the nightingale passage.

This was the main section of the nightingale passage.

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Right after Chion-in there was Shoren-in (also known as Awata Palace), which Satoko-san mentioned the day before, and where you can walk inside the actual temple. And again we were in awe. Detailed and intricate wood work and paintings with very simple and minimal, but so soothing surroundings. Sitting on the porch, looking at the peaceful garden, hearing the summer cicadas and soaking it all in gets your head and soul calm and recollected — it was most definitely the highlight of the day.

We actually were drawn to Shoren-in because of this miniature zen garden.

We actually were drawn to Shoren-in because of this miniature zen garden.

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One of the very few altars we could photograph, complete with cherry soda and traditional sweets.

One of the very few altars we could photograph, complete with cherry soda and traditional sweets.

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We then walked with the intention of going to the next temple suggested at the ryokan — Konchi-in, with its large Zen garden —, but very suddenly it started raining bullets and in a matter of minutes, the streets became rivers and the thunders were going crazy in the sky, so after waiting for 40 minutes under a small shelter, we ran to the nearest subway station and head to the hotel, because there was no point in walking anywhere anymore.

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For dinner, we went back to Ippudo to try the Akamaru Shinaji ramen and some delicious gyoza. We’d eat ramen for the rest of our life if we had to.

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