Kyoto

Having visited the main attractions of Kyoto on a previous visit, this time we explored further. The Traditional Crafts Museum has a fabulous display, ranging from dying fabric, weaving, making roof tiles, inlaid metal work, lacquer wear, pottery, etc. Chawanzaka Street literally means “Pottery Street” and is full of studios, where you can see exquisite plates and bowls while drinking green tea. Then on to Kennin-ji, the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto (see photo), founded in 1202 by the priest Yousai. He studied in monastic centres including China, where the Zen sect dated back to the 6th century. By strict training the Zen devotees can transcend the suffering of life to reach equanimity, wisdom and compassion. The famous tea ceremony came from China, as much else in Japanese culture. The temple’s dry landscape garden is a classic. We also spent time at the Hatto Hall, with an extraordinary dragon painting on the ceiling; and then wandered yet again through the Gion, the old part of Kyoto full of restaurants and shops. Hikone next.

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