Blog:

First Kyoto temple: Ginkakuji – “The Silver Temple”

It’s been an exciting week for us seven unschoolers/homeschoolers in Japan! We’ve been to many places but now I’ll post photos from the first temple we went to in Kyoto: Ginkakuji – “The Silver Temple“. Above the famous sand sculptures the maple leaves are just starting to turn bright red.

The colors of the leaves in our neighborhood in downtown Kyoto still hasn’t changed much. But just a little further north and closer to the mountains that surround Kyoto, at Ginkakuji some of the leaves were bright red, some orange, and some still green. That includes of course the evergreens as well.

In the gardens of Ginkakuji - The Silver Temple - View up into the colorful trees.

In the gardens of Ginkakuji - The Silver Temple - View up into the colorful trees.

We took a bus from Kyoto station that got us near the temple. But we walked through part of the Philosopher’s Path first: famous walking path around the city along a river that’s red in the fall and full of cherry blossoms in the spring.

My step-mom Tomoko Shibuya, with my little sister Yuni, came along. She helped us a lot with basic logistics and info about the history and cultural significance of certain things.

Philosopher's Path -  Walking along the Philosopher's Path in Kyoto.

Philosopher's Path - Walking along the Philosopher's Path in Kyoto.

Then we got to Ginkakuji: we walked through a hedged path before arriving at the entrace:

The unschooling/homeschool girls of the Worldschool Travel Tour on the hedged path into the Silver Temple. The unschoolers on the Worldschool Travel Tour on the hedged path into the temple.
Ginkakuji - One of the first sand sculptures you see on your way into the temple grounds.

Ginkakuji - One of the first sand sculptures you see on your way into the temple grounds.

Ginkakuji - View of the famous sand sculptures and the Ginkakuji Temple itself.

Ginkakuji - View of the famous sand sculptures and the Silver Temple itself.

Ginkakuji is a Buddhist temple but Tomoko pointed out this Shinto Shrine is also on the  temple grounds. She said that's something unique about Japan - native Shinto and Buddhist are often together.

Ginkakuji is a Buddhist temple but Tomoko pointed out this Shinto Shrine is also on the temple grounds. She said that's something unique about Japan - native Shinto and Buddhist are often together.

In Japan native Shinto religion and Buddhism from mainland Asia have mixed together harmoniously it seems for centuries. In fact, some Japanese were confused when they embraced Christianity but found out the European missionaries wouldn’t allow them to also continue practicing Shinto and Buddhism.

After the main temple ground area you walk past ponds and then up a short path into the mountain forest.

Ginkakuji - View of the top of the path with red leaves, orange leaves, green leaves, and evergreens.

Ginkakuji - View of the top of the path with red leaves, orange leaves, green leaves, and evergreens.

Ginkakuji - Close up of one of the ponds where people throw in coins and the trees drop leaves.

Ginkakuji - Close up of one of the ponds where people throw in coins and the trees drop leaves.

Ginkakuji - View of a moss covered tree, the red maple leaves, and the temple from the top of the path.

Ginkakuji - View of a moss covered tree, the red maple leaves, and the temple from the top of the path.

Ginkakuji - View of the temple grounds from the top of the forest path

Ginkakuji - View of the temple grounds from the top of the forest path.

Ginkakuji - The temple was actually under restoration while we were there. Still beautiful though!

Ginkakuji - The "Silver Temple" was actually under restoration while we were there. Still beautiful though!

Well, that was the first one we went to! We’ve been to a bunch more temples since: near Kyoto, near Hiroshima, and just got back from Nara today.

But I’ve been realizing it takes me too much time for me to write them and the posts just get too long if I try to include everything in my new posts!

So I’ll soon post out next day at Fushimi Inarimon: the Shinto shrine of many, many gates that support the whole business world of Japan!

4 Responses to “First Kyoto temple: Ginkakuji – “The Silver Temple””

  1. Ren Allen says:

    Beautiful. Makes me long for travel again…..

    • Eli Gerzon says:

      Thanks Ren! Yeah, I was almost worried the leaves hadn’t changed enough but turns out they were really beautiful. Anyway, it’s also good remember you can’t really go wrong with travel. Hope you can do some traveling soon! We’re going to bed now…. G’night! 🙂

  2. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eli Gerzon, Katie Shu-Feb. Katie Shu-Feb said: Gorgeous! RT @worldschooler Ginkakuji in Kyoto, Japan w beautiful foliage & sand sculptures http://tinyurl.com/yljftj4 #unschooling […]

  3. Lovely pictures! Especially the coins and leaves together.

Leave a Reply