Lunch was very satisfying… and the rain abated after all. So walk some more we did.
Chion-in Temple was not easy to find. The map was confusing. We walked back and forth several times between the Yasaka Shrine and the Maruyama Park. It was tiring, walking back and forth looking for the right turn, but the scenery was a sight to behold so I didn’t mind so much.
Once you find the temple, it isn’t difficult at all, we realized. We just had to trust our instincts more.
Yasaka-jinja Shrine is a colorful downtown shrine that stands at the end of a main street, Shijodori St. Long connected with the Kyoto Geisha community centered in the nearby Gion District, the shrine dates back to the 9th century, when it aimed to stop the run of epidemic and other disasters that were afflicting the Kyoto residence at that time.
Many visit the shrine today to pray for good fortune. The shrine was quiet on our visit with only a few visitors praying. Come early July, the shrine will be full of visitors as it plays host to the Gion Matsui Festival, a festival to drive away evil spirit.
Right behind Yasaka Shrine is Maruyama Koen Park. Best known for its many weeping cherry blossom tree or shidarezakura.
It may attract thousands of people for the hanami or the cherry blossom viewing parties in spring, but in autumn, the warm hues of fall can be quite enchanting.
Now this was where we didn’t make the turn. We should have turned left at the corner where the “tallest” shidarezakura stands, instead we went straight and found ourselves on a road leading to a trail up a hill.
Close to the northeast corner of Maruyama is Chion-in Temple, which now serves as the headquarters of the Jodo (Pure Land) sect of Buddhism.
A huge and very popular temple, its colossal front gate is the largest of its kind in Japan, delivering a vision of grandeur.
Unfortunately, the main temple is under major maintenance and will not be ready for viewing till 2019. Yeah… all the effort for this 🙂