A Travellerspoint blog

Kyoto to Tokyo

Day three of the overland adventure

overcast 60 °F
View Bill and Hope 2019 on HopeEakins's travel map.

Aha – more temples to visit! The 14th century Kinkaju-ji Temple with its Golden Pavilion is three stories high and covered in gold leaf. It sits in a carefully designed landscape with pond and shimmers in the sun. Next off to Tanryuji Temple. The problem with such revered and respected locations is that they don’t allow shoes. Hope had to take hers off and store or carry them and walk in bare feet (cold floors!). Bill got special treatment because of his leg brace, so they tied plastic bags over his shoes.

At Tanryuji Temple we crossed many tatami mats to lower ourselves onto small stools and take lessons in the posture required for Zen meditation. Hands were set, shoulders relaxed (hah), neck straight, eyes adroop, back curve tipped inward .... and we heard the sounds of bells and wood clappers. During each ten minute meditation, we were taught to empty ourselves of reasoned thought and focus on being present. A monitor walked around and if you bowed politely, he curled you down and hit you sharply 6 times with a wood paddle. The head monk said this was like acupuncture and would focus your attention and improve your meditation posture.

We put shoes back on, walked to the monastery refectory, shoes off, and onto small stools for a Buddhist vegetarian lunch. The photo includes foods like turnip/tofu “cheesecake” and burdock and pickles. Shoes back on for the trip to the train station.

Whee! The Shinkansen bullet train to Tokyo was amazing, comfortable and smooth with speeds about 200 mph. The landscape is not very attractive – there are many industrial areas and the residential areas are not landscaped. When we flashed by the top of Mt. Fuji, it was shrouded in heavy mist.

At last we returned to the Silver Whisper about 7 pm. The butlers were waiting for us and welcomed us back with champagne. It really felt like we were back home.
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Posted by HopeEakins 23:51 Archived in Japan

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