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March, 2016

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Having taken a bus from Nijo Castle, the second stop on our tour of Kyoto with our guide, Chiaki, was “Rokuon-ji Temple”:

The main purpose of our visit to the Zen Buddhist Temple was to see Kinkaku or the Golden Pavillion. Whilst you can’t go inside, the stunning gold building is a sight for sore eyes. The colour is gold leaf applied to lacquer and a gold phoenix stands proudly on the shingle roof.

It had burned down numerous times throughout its history including twice during a civil war, but also more recently when in 1950 a fanatic monk set fire to it. The structure we saw had been rebuilt in 1955.

The pavilion stands on the edge of the pond, Kyoko-chi, and the reflections in the water are simply fabulous and cameras were clicking in all directions, everyone wanting an iconic shot.

We strolled around the well maintained gardens and saw many of the plum and cherry trees just starting to come into blossom.

There was a good photographic display of the area in the various seasons: snow covered in winter, full of cherry blossom in spring, sunny in summer and with red leaved maple trees in autumn.

As we left, large groups of Chinese tourists were arriving which would I am sure destroy some of the Zen like peace and calm.

Helen Jackson

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