Japan 2017: Todai-ji Temple, Nara

One of the places I was most excited to visit was Nara. To be honest, the only thing I knew about it was its famous deer. It wasn't until we were walking towards Todai-ji Temple that I knew I underestimated it. Imagine a big park with UNESCO World Heritage Sites left and right all within…

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Japan 2017: Kiyomizu-dera, Kyoto

Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally "Pure Water Temple") is one of the most celebrated temples of Japan. It was founded in 780 on the site of the Otowa Waterfall in the wooded hills east of Kyoto and derives its name from the fall's pure waters. -Japan Guide This temple is most famous for the wooden stage along its main hall.…

Japan 2017: Ginkaku-ji / The Silver Pavilion + Philosopher’s Path, Kyoto

Ginkaku-ji Temple, a Zen temple, was established in 1482 by Ashikaga Yoshimasa, the eighth Muromachi Shogunate. Yoshimasa built Villa Higashiyama den to spend his retired life. Compared to the more famous Kinkaku-ji, I much prefer Ginkaku-ji. It is smaller but you can really see and feel how each element of the place was well thought of. As…

Japan 2017: Kinkaku-ji / The Golden Pavilion, Kyoto

Kinkaku is a shariden, a Buddhist Hall containing relics of Buddha. The pavilion is part of a temple that is formally named Rokuon-ji Temple but commonly called Kinkaku-ji Temple or Temple of the Golden Pavilion. Let me get it out of the way, it's not real gold but rather gold foil. We went here around…