Thursday, 25 June 2009

Kozan-ji temple in Togano'o

Kozan-ji Temple, Togano'o, Kyoto
高山寺 (京都/栂尾)

Unexpectedly I had a car available I went to Togano-o area. Togano-o is north west of Kyoto city and might take more than 1 hour bus ride from Kyoto station. -I took 40 minutes by car.

I didn’t have much time to visit, so I picked Kozan-ji temple to visit this time.

The temple used to have many structures, but only a few are left. The sub-temple “Sekisui-in” is the only one left from the Kamakura period (1185-1333) and designated as a National Treasure.

One of the reasons making Kozan-ji so popular is this series of drawings. “Choju-jinbutsu-giga” (Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and Scrolls of Frolicking Animals and Humans) is said to be the first “manga” and the motifs are still very very popular, and can be seen on various products. –Actually my rice bowl has this motif. A replica is on show. It consists of 4 volumes and the originals are kept by Tokyo and Kyoto National Museums, each with two volumes.

A stunning view from Sekisui-in. Though renowned for it’s autumn colours the early summer green, in Japanese called the season of “Shinryoku” (new green), is every bit as beautiful.

I wanted to see this tea field, said to be the oldest in Japan. The stone sign on the below makes this claim.

Entry is prohibited but as I was born in a tea producing area and tea and paddy fields were my childhood landscape I was interested in seeing what the oldest is like. As expected the field is nothing special…

The Kozan-ji is registered as a “World Heritage Site”.

The neighbouring mountains have two other well-known temples and usually visitors visit all three temples in one trip. The whole area is one of the most popular destinations for autumn colours, particularly Japanese maples. It must be utterly stunning. Most of the maples I saw there were very tall and much bigger than the ones in the city. I imagine that the temples would be covered with blazing red colours.

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