Kyoto – Part II: Enter The Buddha (and by “Buddha” I mean “Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara”)


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!

Early morning departures can be fun! Look at those smiling faces!

Early morning departures can be fun! Look at those smiling faces!


Yasaka Shrine was only about a seven minute walk from our hostel and is where our day of sightseeing began.


Maruyama Park

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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.

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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.


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Also located on site is a memorial hall in honor of the unknown soldier.

The engraving seen in the photo above, left, reads:

“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”


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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.

IMG_6846resized On our journey through the wind and rain, we sough shelter in a small shop and warmed up by sharing some warm sakura buns. IMG_6847 IMG_6855resized

This silly little sign was disregarded by every single visitor, of course.

This silly little sign was disregarded by every single visitor, of course.

This is the entrance to Kiyomizu-dera, a truly gorgeous Buddhist temple.

This is the entrance to Kiyomizu-dera, a truly gorgeous Buddhist temple.


Red plum blossom sighting!


The view from Kiyomizu-dera temple overlooks an orange pagoda resting in the mountains.

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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
View of Kiyomizu-dera

View of Kiyomizu-dera


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. IMG_6962resized

Ginkaku-ji, "Temple of the Silver Pavillion"

Ginkaku-ji, “Temple of the Silver Pavillion”

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About Christine Boegemann

A recent graduate with a BA from Temple University's Film and Media Arts Program, Christine Boegemann has spent her undergrad years working to foster creative growth everywhere she could find it – in herself and others. Her list of college activities include working in working at Temple's film lab, acting as VP for a student organization that produces its own short films and film festivals, and serving as head of art department for a sketch show called Temple Smash. She has interned at two VFX houses - one in Manhattan, New York and the other in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She also studied abroad in India in the summer of 2012 as a member of the 2012 cohort of the Vira I. Heinz (VIH) Program for Women in Global Leadership. She spent spring 2013, her final semester, studying art and animation in Tokyo, Japan. During her time there, she worked as a photo blogger for Temple Study Abroad. She also worked as a conversation host at an English café in Shibuya. Now back in the US, Christine is currently working as a producer for the feature film, The Youth Washed Up. She is also continuing work on her own independent project rooted in sharing the work and experiences of women she met during her time in India.

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