We spent our second day in Kyoto exploring the area of Gion on our hostel’s side of the river. Starting at Yasaka Shrine, we trekked to Ryozen Kannon, Kiyomizudera and finally Ginkaku-ji. Not sure what that means? No big deal, that’s what I’m here for! Follooow meeeeee!
- When we arrived to the Ryōzen Kannon, it began to rain. Fitting and beautiful. The concrete statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara commemorates the Japanese soldiers that died in WWII.
A monk saw us wander through in the rain, and approached us. He spoke in Japanese but used the English word “present” and returned with umbrellas for Katie and me, who had been caught unprepared for the rain. It was really kind. Then we struggled to maintain a conversation with him. He admired my camera and asked about why we were in Japan and where we were from, using some English but mostly Japanese. Then he informed us that we were welcome to enter the bodhisattva statue.
Pictures taken inside the statue, above and below.
Also located on site is a memorial hall in honor of the unknown soldier.
The engraving seen in the photo above, left, reads:
“IN MEMORIAM THE WORLD’S UNKNOWN SOLDIER KILLED IN WORLD WAR II
“All honor to him, friend or foe, / Who fought and died for his country!
“May the tragedy of his supreme / Sacrifice bring to us, the living, / Enlightenment and inspiration; / Fill us with ever-mounting zeal / For the all-compelling quest of peace, / World peace and universal brotherhood.”
The sign above the filing cabinet in the above photo, right, reads: “Individual Names of Allied Personnel Who Perished in Territory under Japanese Jurisdiction during World War II”
The sign in the photo below, right, reads “SOIL OR SAND DEDICATED FROM THE MILITARY CEMETERIES ALL OVER THE WORLD.”
When we’d finished at the Ryozen Kannon, we pushed through the wind, rain and cold towards our next destination and along the way, found some warmth and shelter at a small vendor of sweet buns. We shared warm sakura (cherry blossom) filled buns. Then, later in our trek, as we approached Kiyomizu-dera, we found ourselves amidst many souvenir shops. Fortunately for us, many of them provide free samples of Japanese sweets, and sometimes tea as well! Usually vendors were outside offering samples of yatsuhashi, a famous souvenir sweet of Kyoto.
- Below Kyomizu-dera is a waterfall called Otowa-no-taki. Visitors catch the water and drink it “for health, longevity, and success in studies” – wikipedia
After taking in the sights at Kiyomizu-dera, we hopped on a bus and headed to Ginkokuji. After that, we headed back to the hostel for some recuperation from our epic day journey.