Despite the tourism boom currently underway in the city there are still places we can find the peace and tranquility we imagine when thinking about Kyoto. This series of posts will focus on what I consider to be the top 5 temples where you can find solitude, re-charge your batteries and experience Kyoto the way it was meant to be experienced. You'll also have the chance to come away with some awesome shots. So, without further ado.....
This 1200 year-old temple, located in the Arashiyama area at the Northwest edge of the city, is perched on a hill at the edge of a bamboo grove. Be prepared for a mystical experience.
Here you will find 8000 stone statues of Buddha, originally made as gravestones for the dead who were buried in the Adashino area between the Heian period (793-1183) and the Edo period (1615-1868).
These 8000 stones were scattered throughout the Adashino area and were covered by a bamboo grove for many years until about 100 years ago when they were gathered here. A stone pagoda and larger statue of Buddha are placed in the centre.
Within the precincts you'll find lush green moss also featuring stone statues. These areas are in the shade of maple trees and offer welcome relief on hot sunny days. The contrast of the green moss and the red aprons of the statues is quite stunning.
Scattered among the many statues you can see some sporting brand new, colourful aprons...
Others are more faded....
On late summer afternoons the temple is flooded with glorious warm light adding to the peaceful atmosphere.
Here, freshly fallen cherry blossom petals cover the moss.
Another unique feature is the Indian style gate next to the temple's treasure house.
There is also a bamboo grove within the precincts that unfortunately was severely damaged in a typhoon last year. The temple staff informed me that it will reopen in August.
The final image I'll leave you with is of cherry blossom petals blowing in the wind. The Japanese call this a sakura blizzard - 桜吹雪.
If you're visiting Kyoto, Adashino Nenbutsuji comes highly recommended.
Opening hours: 9am-4.30pm March-November 9am-3:30pm December-February
Admission: Adults: 500yen High and junior high school students: \400 Elementary school students and younger: Free
Nearest Transport: 40min walk from Arashiyama Station, Keifuku Arashiyama line
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Until next time, happy shooting.