It was quiet. Too quiet. Once we left the Silver Pavilion, the crowds thinned out and we were left to stroll a path thousands of people had taken over the years. For this city girl, the quiet is always a little bit creepy.
The peace and serenity were a welcome change from the hustle and chaos of the sights we had seen so far though. Not many school children were walking the path. They headed back to the bus to go to another sight or back to school I guess.
It was also green. Very, very green. I had left home when trees and flowers were just starting to bloom. I was still getting used to spring. Just a few weeks before we arrived hundreds of people were walking along the Philosopher’s Path in Kyoto to view the famous cherry blossoms. It must have been spectacular. I was OK with blue skies, warm sun and green as far as my eye could see.
The Path was much longer than we expected. I had plans of going to the zoo on our way back to our machiya. Instead we got side tracked by temples and shrines at every intersection. There were so many, we didn’t even get to see them all before the doors shut for the night.
For part of the distance, we walked along the canal, which had bridges crossing over to houses, shrines and businesses. Several small coffee and souvenir shops were discreetly set up for the tourists, although many were closed. We did not stop to check out those that were open. Dek was very happy in his stroller, a rare occurrence these days. We took advantage of this extra peaceful respite to cover more ground.
We made quick stops at the Reikan-ji Temple and Eikan-do Temple. The real highlight for us was Nanzen-ji Temple though. The grounds were much larger than expected. As always, we had no idea we were there until we were deep into the temple grounds. Thankfully Mike knows how to read a map and a guidebook. Sometimes I am so caught up in taking pictures and experiencing a new place, I forget to actually figure out what we are seeing. Obviously Mike will be the educator in our family.
Sadly the rock garden and main buildings were just about closed by the time we got there, so we never made it in. We were able to see a late 1800s aqueduct and pop over to some of the smaller shrines on the grounds. If we had seen the main sights, I doubt we would have had time to visit these extra elements. Despite the welcomed peace and solitude, even I have to give in to hunger and a tired baby (and daddy too) eventually. Thankfully, amazing food was not too far.