(The pictures were all taken by me. They aren’t my “artiest” shots, but I still hope they give a good impression of the temples and their surroundings.)
- Kiyomizudera 清水寺
My University in Japan was in Kobe, so it was only natural for me to explore the Kansai region in my spare time. Those tours took me to Kyoto more or less frequently, which is known for its traditional centre, the Geisha culture and many gorgeous temples. One more rustic looking temple is the Kiyomizudera. What makes it memorable for me though is the large park-like area that belongs to the temple. Even in December it made for a lovely walk and I would definitely go again, should I get back to Japan in the future.
- Eiheiji 永平寺
Eiheiji is a large temple in Fukui-ken (the Fukui district). The monastery can impress with a number of different buildings, statues and rooms that are distributed over a large area and different levels. The garden areas are also worth seeing. A funny coincidence took me here twice. In 2007 I went on a school exchange to Fukui and our group took us to Eiheiji, which really left an impression. In 2009 I went on my year abroad in Kobe and one of our field trips was headed for Kanazawa. But we stopped at Eiheiji and actually had lunch in the exact same place that I had lunch in 2 years previously with a completely different group. How strange!
- Golden Pavilion 金閣寺
This one is quite famous outside of Japan as well, the Kinkakuji in Kyoto. On a sunny day the golden colour looks particularly stunning. Again the garden area is lovely, but the view over the little lake to the Golden Pavilion stays the main attraction here.
- Tenryūji 天龍寺
Another Kyoto-based temple I would like to show you is the Tenryū-ji. The temple itself is nice, but the most interesting discoveries are made outside. The garden area will leave you peaceful and calm with its quiet beauty. A very “Japanese” place. This is only topped by the scenery when you approach. Simply sublime!
- Miyajima 宮島
The Itsukushima-jinja, or simply Miyajima, sits on the beautiful island of Miyajima, which lies just a little off Hiroshima. The temple is built on the water (reminiscent of Venice), but the main attraction here clearly is the massive Tori right in the water. Still, if you have more time and venture further into the island you will be amazed by the wild and rough nature of the location. A perfect place to recharge your mental batteries.