Religion & Philosophy at Lyon College


Nichols Japan Trip -- Day 8

Day 8 (May 20) -- Free Day

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

Today was a free day, so all of the pictures and comments are my own.

We went to the train station to reserve our tickets to Ise City. The students were going to take train to nearby Fushimi to see the avenue of the toriis.  After that they seemed undecided.


I walked to Nishi Honwanji, a Shin Buddhist temple founded by Shinran. He was a disciple of Honen, the Jodo priest who founded Jodo (Pure Land). Shinran was even more radical than Honen. He believed Amida's vow to save all creatures was so perfect that one did not even have to say the Nembutsu to enter the Pure Land. Talk about grace!

One of the gates of Honwanji.

The temple was teeming with kindergartners there to celebrate the anniversary of Shinran's birth.

I had read that this sect - apparently the largest in Japan - had sent missionaries throughout the world and borrowed freely from other religions.

This was quite obvious, both in the use of organ music and in the atmosphere reminiscent of a large evangelical church in America--down to the sound system and use of video cameras to show the service on screens along the outer portions of the hall where attendees might otherwise have trouble seeing.

An ornately crafted gate done in the Chines style is in an alley approach to the temple. The artistry and detail are stunning.

Detail from the gate.

Detail from the gate.

Detail from the gate.

Scene along the river in central Kyoto.

I spent much of the rest of the day walking through some of the shopping districts. This city is quite alive commercially as well as culturally. It reminds me somewhat of San Francisco--compact and crowded. However, it is much easier to find one's way around. And the public transportation is nothing short of impressive.

Scene along the river in central Kyoto.

After a late lunch, I went to the Heian Shrine, literally around the corner from the inn where we stayed. It is a large complex, built in the 1890's, making it one of the newest shrines in the city!

Heian Shrine was built to boost the morale of Kyoto after the capital was moved to Tokyo by Meiji. I gather it was successful in doing so since Kyoto has become the religious and cultural capital of the country, to the extent that every high school age child has to spend a week here seeing the temples and shrines.

Heian grounds.

Heian grounds.

Heian grounds.

Heian grounds.

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 6 -- Western and South Central Kyoto including Gion Corner (May 18)

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

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: 


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