Sunday, January 01, 2006

京都 2005 - 10 Takao - Kiyotaki - Tenryuji

[171105] second day in e mountains of northwest Kyoto. standing space only on e first Shuzan-bound West JR bus for e hour-long ride to Takao.


2'C weather = bus windows opaque with frost = e cat alighted one stop too early at Makino-o. had to figure out bearings & walk towards Togano-o bus stop to get to Kozanji temple. which turned out to be a disappointment. e first morning rays broke through gaps in e trees only to struggle through e thick mist, casting eerie shadows upon e rather desolate grounds. & most of e maples were still green =|

frozen cat with frozen paws + frozen nose backtracked towards Makino-o & had better luck at Saimyoji temple:


brilliant!! this is precisely what e cat has come all e way to Kyoto to see =)) *happy happy*

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many of e temples & gardens that e cat visited on this trip serve green tea + a wagashi sweet or two for a fee:

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was admiring e reflection of a bright yellow maple on e surface of some 'pond' [L], when a cleaner emptied out a whole pail of dirty water into it [R]:

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beautiful things don't last eh? but neither do e ripples, which will vanish with time, & have their place taken by e beautiful reflection again. shot a series of images, & e one on e left was taken after e one on e right.

only a handful of visitors (mostly diehard shutterbugs with tripods & big fat zoom lenses), so everyone could admire & savour nature's beauty in peace & quiet....


....unlike e madness at Jingoji temple:


many Japanese here had 5 legs, & it has nothing to do with eating too much takoyaki (grilled octopus + wheat flour balls). they were armed with SLRs, all trying to '找 (find) angle'. as soon as you stopped & so much as raised your camera, someone(s) would pop up next to you, tilt his head to check out what you were photographing & then (almost) pierce your feet with his tripod as he set up his gear right where you are standing to try & compose e same shot....something easier said than done for those who are taller than e cat & have to break their backs bending down to see things literally from e cat's point of view =P

long hard climb all e way up to e entrance of Jingoji (below left), & even more climbing within e temple grounds:

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right knee giving trouble again on this trip (as it has since secondary school days), & by this point it couldn't be bent anymore. had to walk & climb up & down really slowly with a really weird gait. must be e little bit of jumping done (not supposed to!) over e past few weeks during wushu =| lucky that Atago-san, e not-so-tall (8-900+m) tallest mountain planned for this trip, was cleared with no problem e day before.

but e maples were brilliant =)

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to e point that nobody seemed to notice e temple buildings, which received far less attention than even e doggie:

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stepping out of e Jingoji entrance is like stepping into a painting, with even more beautiful maples outside:


think those within e temple are e center of attraction simply because they are blood red....e golden ones on e outside & around e open-air restaurants along e steps leading up to e entrance are just as spectacular:


how not to want to have lunch here, with tiny maple leaves landing on your table & in your soup each time e breeze lures them away from e branches above? =P

here you collect a number on placing your order at e counter & wait at a table of your choice for your number to be yelled out, & then attract e waiter's attention before he goes hoarse & he'll bring e food over to you. simple, except that everything is in Japanese....



an English-speaking staff kindly told e cat what #94 sounds like in Japanese, & so it was listening out for someone yelling kyuju-yon (however it is spelt)....but e waiter ended up shouting 'tempura udon' instead *lol*


780 yen (e most expensive catfood of e trip) later, *satisfied burp* =))

little hike from Takao to Kiyotaki following e Kiyotaki-gawa downstream, past dining platforms on e river banks & stands of Kitayama sugi trees:

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great escape from e maddening crowds & roaring tour coaches at Takao:


back in Kiyotaki, at e starting point of yesterday's Atago-san climb:


by Kyoto bus through e human + vehicular traffic jam in Arashiyama to Tenryuji temple:


[L-R, top to bottom]:

  • cute plant seen around homes in Kiyotaki & Arashiyama neighbourhoods
  • 心洗 - where people collect water trickling out of a bamboo pipe in a ladle & splash it on e tall rock
  • main garden of Tenryuji which appears in travel magazines & guidebooks
  • super pek chek frog
  • another view of e stunningly beautiful main garden, with e mountains behind
  • daruma
  • path leading down from highest point of e garden that has a wonderful view of Hiei-zan, Daimonjiyama, e Higashiyama mountains & Kyoto city
  • cloud shadows dancing across e Kitayama mountains
  • wonder how many photos she appeared in while walking through e temple grounds


at e main garden, some Japanese guy came forward & offered to take photos of e cat - 'can I take shutter?' (why do Japanese use e word 'shutter' instead of 'photo'?) - with its camera. unlikely that he'd run away with e simple Olympus since he was weighed down by camera equipment worth far more than e cat's total travel expenses, so why not? even waited for e right moment when both e clouds & crowds thinned for a while, & so e cat ended up with 2 photos of itself in good lighting =)


e peak on e left is supposedly Hiei-zan, & Daimonjiyama is somewhere in e middle. spent quite a bit of time at e highest point of e garden enjoying this view, partly because a point was reached where it hurt too much to walk. worse still, one sole of e 7-year old track shoes was coming off....this faithful pair has taken e cat along trails in 12+ national parks & nature reserves of Tasmania, Victoria, Yosemite, King's Canyon & Sequoia, Mt Lassen, Mt Shasta, Mt Kinabalu & Nikko, how can it give up now when there are still 10 more days of trails + Daimonjiyama + Konpira-san to go =|

outside Tenryuji, e cat drifted along with e crowds until it chanced upon a cute owl made from kimono crepe silk:


& then more & more of its friends:


& e cat followed e trail of cute stuff into e Chirimen Craft Museum of Arashiyama:


chirimen zaiku is e cat's favourite Japanese traditional craft =)) ever since it came across tsurushibina aka. hanging hina dolls. it even has 2 books on how to make them. couldn't take photos within e museum & shop, so for an idea of what was on display (& sale), see this site.

at e Keifuku Arashiyama station, a reminder to get dinner:


long (because of e shoe & knee) walk to e JR Arashiyama station for e train ride back to Kyoto station, passing by e post office (where e Hello Kitty postcards to e 'family' were mailed out) & little shops selling fresh vegetables, barbecued fish, groceries & washi paper stationery.

on e way back to K's House hostel from Kyoto station:


preying mantis + big fat whale doing what else but eating fish....

came back to find 2 new Japanese room mates, one working in architecture, e other a history student with super power legs who covered e entire Higashiyama + Karasuma shopping area + back to Higashiyama again at night for e temple light-ups, all on foot.

10 hot gyoza from e Kyoto Station Isetan B2 food hall + laundry 'sponsored' by a hostel mate who dropped in too many 100 yen coins + 1 tube of superglue from e Lawson konbini (for e falling-apart shoe) later, things were looking much better for e cat =)

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