Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Kyoto - Toji Temple

After the morning service and breakfast headed out to make my way to Kyoto. First you have to catch the bus to the cable car station, as you are not allowed to walk on the road to the cable car, as it is narrow with lots of curves and only enough room for buses. You buy your ticket at the cable car station that gets you all the way to the Namba station in Osaka. Much easier process, as only have to change trains at Hashimoto and it is set up you get off one train and the next train is on the opposite side of the platform. Makes it easy for foreigners.
Got off at a stop before Namba and switched to JR loop train to Osaka station. Then took another JR train to Shin-Osaka, which is where I caught the Shinkinsen to Kyoto. I had done this before when visiting Cheryl, so knew there are two Osaka train stations - one for local trains and one for the Shinkinsen high speed trains.
I thought there sure were lots of people at Koyasan (compared to walking around Shikoku. Well, the Osaka train stations was packed with people and then it was nothing compared to Kyoto. Everywhere I went the crowds got bigger and bigger. I was longing for the peace and quiet of walking the Shikoku trails. I was looking for the right exit at Kyoto, which was closest to the hotel, but couldn't seem to find the south exit sign. Since I found a tourist bureau in the station, I decided to ask and get an English map. The lady was good at giving me directions. Found the R&B hotel OK and was able to drop off my stuff, since check in wasn't til 4 pm and it was only 1 pm. 
I was able to walk to Toji Temple, which was about a 20 minute walk from the hotel. Toji Temple is the central seminary for Esoteric Buddhism set up by Kobo Daishi. There is a 5 storied Pagoda, which is the highest in Japan, measuring 187 feet. The original was built by Kobo Daishi in 826. The original burned down when it was struck by lightening and rebuilt in 1644.  Pictures 1 and 3 are of the pagoda. In the Lecture Hall there are 21 huge Buddhist statues arranged according to the Mikkyo Mandela described in the main sutra of Esoteric Buddhism. They were brought from China by Kukai. I wanted to take some pictures, however, there were lots of signs saying no photography, no sketching and would be subject to prosecution under the Japanese Cultural Heritage law. So I took some pictures outside of the two Halls (Pictures 4 and 5) but none inside.
The hall next to the Lecture Hall had this huge Buddha statue and his two attendants, Nikko and Gakko Bosatsu.
Picture 2 is of the garden around the pagoda, where if you look closely, there ate turtles on the rocks. I counted 16, at least.
Picture 6 is another temple that is part of the complex.
I enjoyed my visit to Toji Temple. I found the stamp office and had the Toji stamp added to the end of my book, which has some extra blank pages.
Tomorrow my plan is to try and visit another of Kukai's temple by bus and then catch the 12:30 Shinkinsen train for Tokyo.

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