Religion & Philosophy at Lyon College


Nichols Japan Trip -- Day 6

Day 6 (May 18) -- Western and South Central Kyoto

[click on the thumbnail pictures to see the full size photographs]

We went to Rokuon-ji, also called Kinkaku-ji or Golden Pavillion [in the western mountains surrounding Kyoto]. -KR

The structure is beautiful and complemented with a lush garden and serene pond. -MR

The building was very interesting because each floor represented a different style. The first floor was palace style, the second was the style of the samurai house, and the third was a Zen temple house. -KR

I felt that this building showed different aspects of the culture and religion all in one place. -KR

The lake it was on was aptly named mirror lake. -KR

Atop the temple was a golden phoenix, which was especially stunning during the rare moments the sun shone.

The gardens were spectacular since they remained the same as in their origin. -JH

Worshipers at prayer in one of the adjoining buildings, reminded us that these temples are not mere tourist sites, but still serve as vital places of religious life.

Sanju-Sangen-do near the heart of Kyoto is the longest wooden structure in the world ...

longer than the length of a football field!

Picture taken from a brochure since photographs are not allowed inside.

Inside the building were 1,000 kannon and a 1,000 handed kannon from the 13th century. Both the building and statures amazed me. -MP

The temple also holds 28 images of warriors, gods, and guardians ... a very interesting mix of Buddhism and its roots in Hinduism. -JH

At this point there was general agreement that it was time for some lunch.

Kyoto National Museum

The Kyoto National Museum held great archeological finds and other ancient artwork important to Japanese history. -JP

Crowded alley way in Kyoto leading to Kyomizu Temple.

Gate and pagoda at Kyomizu.

Japanese students practicing their English.

After climbing the hill [to Kyomizu] I was stopped again by a group of school children [who] wanted a picture with me. -JP

View of Kyoto from Kyomizu.

The details in the decoration of the bell remind the observer that beauty can exist in any setting.

Fountain for purification.

Nearby temple in the mountain forests.

In many nooks and crannies, various Buddha statues may be placed for worshipers passing by.

A large Jizo Buddha shrine at Kyomizu.

Well known perspective of Kyomizu.

Kyomizu is probably the most photographed temple of Japan. The temple is at the top of a mountain on top of an incredible engineered wooden scafold that allows the temple to have an unbeatable view over Kyoto. -JH

Like many Buddhist temples, one will often discover Shinto shrines on the grounds.

Offerings may be in the form of flowers, drinks, or other tokens of respect and care.

It is thought that drinking the waters at Kyomizu bring good health.

As the sun sets and we take our leave from Kyomizu, a crane bids us farewell.

Preparation for a tea ceremony at Gion Corner.

Our day ended with a visit to Gion Corner, where various traditional cultural activities are re-enacted.

The tea ceremony is a slow, deliberate, choreographed attention to every detail--from the folding and unfolding of a napkin to the positioning of each item on the table...

Drinking tea is virtually incidental to this ceremony. Indeed, if one were wanting to drink tea, the ceremony would frustrate more than satisfy. Perhaps that is part of the point, to help the tea drinker become aware that the drinking of the tea is part of a long series of actions that flow into and depend upon one another. -PCB

As the tea ceremony unfolded, two muscians played traditional koto harps.

The tea ceremony was followed by a demonstration of flower arrangement -- another Zen art.

Gagaku (Ancient Court Music and Dance)

A court "orchestra" played traditional music. The fascinating part of this performance was the role of the "conductor" who is as much a dancer as he is conductor.

Kyogen (Ancient Comedy)

The Kyogen comedy grew out of comic relief between acts in the serious Noh plays.

Bunraku (Ancient Puppet Drama)

The evening at Gion Corner ended with a Bunraku puppet show, a fascinating blend of puppeteers and puppets.

Click here for  Days 1-2 -- Arriving in Tokyo and on to Kyoto

Click here for Day 3 -- First full day in Kyoto (May 15)

Click here for Day 4 -- Day trip to Nara (May 16)

Click here for Day 5 -- "Path of Philosophy" in Eastern Kyoto (May 17)

Click here for Day 7 -- Day trip to Hiroshima and Miyajima (May 19)

Click here for Day 8 -- Free Day (May 20)

Click here for Days 9 & 10 -- Ise and Pearl Island (May 21-22)

Click here for Days 11 & 12 -- Tokyo to U.S.A. (May 23-24)


For more information about Lyon College's Nichols Study Abroad programs click here: 



If you have comments or questions about this website, please contact Dr. Paul Custodio Bube at

Hit Counter