Our first stop on the last day in Kyoto was Sanjusangen Temple. The actual name of this temple is Rengeo Temple, but everyone just calls it Sanjusangen. This Buddhist temple did not seem very well known by anyone other than Japanese, but it is definitely the best temple I have ever visited in Japan. This temple is dedicated to the Bodhisattva Kannon. You are not allowed to take pictures on the inside of the hall, but I stole a picture off the internet so you could see! The main attraction of the temple is a huge Kannon statue covered in gold leaf. In the room that she sits are also 1,000 other small Kannon statues, also covered in gold leaf. In front of these statues are other Buddhist deities set to protect all the Kannon's. This temple was so amazing due to the sheer amount of statues in the building. I would definitely recommend anyone going to Kyoto to definitely take a trip to this temple.
The next stop Siobhan and I made was to Ginkaku Temple, or the Silver Pavilion. This zen temple is a sister to Kinkaku Temple, the Golden Pavilion, which we visited on our second day. The pavilion isn't actually covered with silver foil, and no one is positive where the temple got its name. Possibly it is just to contrast with the Golden Pavilion since they are in a straight line on opposite sides of Kyoto or maybe it was just never finished. Despite the fact that it is not actually silver, I still found it really beautiful. There is a route through the temple grounds which is very secluded. I felt like were were out in the wilderness, but once you leave the temple grounds you are automatically in the town again.
Our last stop of the day was to Shimogamo Shrine. This is one of the oldest shrines in Japan. The day that we went there was a festival happening so we didn't get to see too much of the shrine. However, I could see how it would be a really good tourist stop on a less busy day. After seeing as much of the shrine as we could, we bought some festival food and went down to the river area to snack and rest before we made our way to Kyoto station and back to Tokyo.
That's all for our Kyoto trip! I loved Kyoto and I would love to go back and see more aspects of the city that aren't so touristy.
I am currently writing this from the cafeteria in my dorm. I have been kicked out of my room and am stealing the ethernet port down in our cafeteria ^^ I'm flying out of Japan tomorrow and heading to Singapore for a little vacation before I go back to the US! I've had an amazing time here in Japan and I really appreciate everyone who read my blogs! I hope that you will continue to read even though I am not taking you around Japan with me anymore ^_^
P.S. the tea of the night is apple tea ^_^