Kyoto, Japan, Temple Gardens: Fushimi-Inari-Taisha, Tofuku-ji, Maruyama Park
Kyoto. Japan's. Majestic. City of ancient temples, and serene, gardens. Offers. Superb. Cultural, treasures, and a variety of sensual delights, your. Most enjoyable, activity, will probably, be strolling, through the, artistically. Designed garden. Landscapes, with their winding. Paths tranquil. Ponds, stately. Trees, lush. Vegetation, and. Traditional. Wooden temples, so. Wear, comfortable, shoes and be prepared, to do, a lot of walking we're, going to take you on some wonderful strolls, through the gardens around. The temples, and into. Downtown and, show you the highlights of this magnificent. City. Kyoto's. Modern, downtown is, also fascinating filled. With shops, restaurants, historic. Structures, the, occasional, geisha and plentiful. People, watching these, sublime, gardens unfold, as you walk along paths, that, lead, through changing, vistas, around each Bend where. You can stop, frequently, to absorb. Each new, perspective, looking left, right, up and down these. Different, views are enhanced. By small, statues, and, foot, bridges bamboo. Railings, temple. Backdrops, and, glimpses. Of distant. Mountains, all. Exquisitely. Arranged, to be appreciated, in moments, of reflection, kyoto. Was ranked, as the number. One visitor, destination. In the world by, the readers, of Travel, and Leisure magazine for, two years in a row in 2014. And 2015. Quite an honor. Maybe. You haven't previously thought. Much about buddhist temples or shinto, shrines and perhaps, never had, them on a priority list of must-see. Places but. Visiting, this city is, different. And will show you the harmony, and the splendid. Beauty of those temple, sites it's. All about the harmony of the gardens, and their, relationship. To the venerable wooden, structures, which meld, into, a, lightful experience. Nature. Lovers will gain high, value from the effort and those who the spiritual, bank can, get that much more out of a visit. Kyoto. Has got, 17, places, listed, as UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Which. Is an extremely, large, number for that ranking, and there's. Another of seven major historical. Sites designated. By the local government, and much. More to, see for those with abundant, time including, museums. Palaces. Stone. Monuments. Traditional, neighborhoods, and the, modern downtown. Theaters. And day trips to nearby cities such, as nara, time. Can also be spent admiring the pottery, fabrics. Tea, ceremonies, flower, arrangements. Dance. Cuisine. And calligraphy. All of which are highly, developed here. You. Should try and spend at least two days in Kyoto. So that you can visit, the major attractions. And, experience. The essence, of this special, city or, you could easily stay, more stay a week and never run out of worthwhile. Attractions. In this former. Imperial, capital which. Has a staggering. 2,000. Temples, and shrines, you'll. Never run out of places, to see. Kyoto. Is surrounded. On all sides by, numerous. Temples shrines, and gardens and they're located within a few miles of the town center a, reasonable. Two-day strategy, for dealing with the array is focus. Attention in one, direction in. Our case we looked at Kyoto's, Eastside. Higashiyama, which. Has a very high concentration of. Sites, nestled. On the edge of the lovely, hilly, topography in, the. Other directions Kyoto. Is relatively, flat, but, the gardens always have some, interesting. Landscape design. To create a pleasant contour. Ground surface, and delightful. Curved, paths to lead you through it. Many of these temple sites on the east side are in walking, distance of, each other reaching. About four miles from south. To the north end of the cluster, in nagashi, ama so.
You Can walk between some, of these sites as will be pointing out in the series, however. When you add up the amount of walking within each site and time, spent shopping, along the approach lanes the combined distance is, trying to reach well over ten miles, so, you'll sometimes want to use buses the subway, and, taxis. A two-day. Pass for bus, and subway can be purchased, but. If time is an issue you will find taxis. Are a big, help now in there and the. Taxi drivers, are very, courteous, with their white gloves and, honesty. Even, if they don't speak any English and, this gives you a chance to sit down and rest while you're being transported, between sites, more. Than 50, million visitors, come to Kyoto, each year most, of them are just staying for the day and then moving on but, about 1 million of them annually, do spend the night in a local hotel there's. Lots of accommodations. Of all price ranges and, most. Of the visitors are Asian, no. Doubt with the growth of Chinese, travel, these numbers are going to continue. Increasing. These. Crowds of visitors could. Very much interfere. With your appreciation. Of Kyoto's. Heavenly. Gardens so. Try, and visit during me less busy late fall or early spring in. Order to properly experience. The tranquil, garden, atmosphere. Temperatures. Will be nippy then many trees will lack leaves and garden. Colors are more subdued but. The absence of crowds, makes, those trade-offs very much worthwhile, especially. In early December, when, we were photographing these. Visuals, the. Fall colors still, linger, and yet the crowds are not around making, a perfect combination and. Late. March is similar it offers fresh air scented, by spring, flowers before that stampede, of cherry. Blossom, viewers. Crowds. Don't matter so much for normal city attractions like, park. Or street scenes you, know downtown streets. The amusement, arcade and shops, and museums, but. The temple gardens here, are those, precious, jewels, that you should really try to view in quiet, times during, that offseason, the. Fragile beauty of the gardens can send you to another dimension if, the ambience is right but. Communication, with nature is pretty difficult when. There are four bus loads of tourists, right in front of you in the picture. Gazing. Upon a, Zen pebble, garden alone. Or, with a few others is a completely, different experience than, just laying, in a crowd for, a wedge of the best view everybody. Trying to take a picture in front of you however, even, if you cannot visit during, those ideal. Small, windows in time Kyoto. Is a four-season. Destination. That can be appreciated throughout, the year if. You don't mind crowds consider. The peak, seasons, of cherry blossom, viewing in April and, colorful. Foliage, reaching. Its peak during November, or arrange. Right inner Airy to connect with one of the major festivals, but, trying, to avoid the national, holiday periods, when it is really jam-packed, minimize. Interference, by, visiting, major, sites early, or late in the day and now, we're going to take you on a visit to two of the major temples, in the south, part, of kyoto, fushimi, inari taisha, at tofukuji. The. Fushimi-inari. Taisha. Shrine in, kyoto is most famous, for its long rows of vermilion torii gates nearly. 5,000, gates in all various. Temple, structures, are in front including, the famous, roman gate but, the main attraction is, that. Vast network, of Torii. Gates, which. Had made Inari one of the most popular, destinations, in town. Whenever. You see the torii gate you know that this. Is not a Buddhist, temple, but. Instead. A Shinto. Shrine and. This is the main. Shrine, of, this. Particular. Shinto. Sect, that's dedicated, to the gods of rice and sake. Throughout. Japan there are, 40,000. Other Inari. Shrines, but. This is the principal, one the. Inari, shrine, is, a. Wonderful. Shinto, experience.
You Walk through, all of these, different gateways, along. A path that, winds. Through the forest. This. Is the, largest, collection, of torii gates anywhere. In the world, you. Could spend one or two hours walking this, pathway that extends. For almost. Three, miles the. Visit, you're watching, was in early, December, and so. It was not crowded, and yes. The temperatures, were kind of nippy but comfortable. And we, saw some cats notice the steam coming, out of their breath. Temperatures. In the, morning like this were in the 30s the, gates, are surrounded. By a natural, forest and by various, small cultivated. Gardens with some ponds here and there you. Can walk all the way up the hillside to, the top of Mount Inari, which is about, 240. Meters high and you, won't get lost just follow the, path follow the tunnels, of Torii gates. The. Biggest, problem, with the Inari, shrine is that it's just too popular. It's. Being loved to death remember. We're traveling, in early December, when it's very peaceful quiet. And nearly, empty, the. Crowds during the season, during, the day are, phenomenal. There will be probably. A thousand. People all, walking, through, these gates so it can, get pretty congested, for example if you look at the comments, on TripAdvisor. About. This temple shrine area every. Other comment, mentions, the crowding, people, in, the way people taking. Pictures people stopping and talking and kind, of interfering, with the experience, now, these, people are visiting do. The high, season, and during. The middle of the day so. The way to avoid it is come in the offseason as we are it's December, as we're walking around early, December, it's, a perfect time to be in Kyoto or. If you're here in the busy season come, very early you can come just after, sunrise or, come, very late in the day just, a hour before, sunset and you'll, have the added benefit of some extra, rich colors, and fewer. People the. Sight is especially, popular during the New Year's holiday, Japan's. Most, important. Festivity, when, it attracts nearly 3, million people during. The, three-day period of. Course, if you enjoy people, watching then. This, is no problem you can see it as a bonus, there'll be lots of folks out here appreciating. The site and most, of them are Japanese. Tourists, so it's, like an extra bonus for you in that regard people. From throughout Japan, love to come to Kyoto and visit. These wonderful, gardens, and shrines. Arrive. Early and walked through this phenomenal, lineup of several, thousand. Torii gates standing. Next to each other and forming. A magical, two-mile, tunnel, through the forest, it's. Easily reached from the town centre by train, on either, the jr line stopping. At Inari station, or, the ke Han line to the fushimi. Inari station. The. First, shrine, was built in the year 711, in. A. Different part of town to the southwest, and then, it was relocated, here, a century later in, 816. The. Main shrine, structure. Was built in the year 1499. And all. Of the torii gates were added, subsequently, over. Many centuries. Each. Of these 5,000. Torii gates was donated, by a Japanese. Business, and maintained, by them and they, put their name on them because. The shrine is a, patron, of business, and merchants, and manufacturers, but, especially of, the. God of rice and sake it, seems like we're walking around a little bit in circles, and we are because. Once you're inside the, shrine, area you're walking, through the tunnel of these torii gates and you can get to the end and then just turn, around and walk back through, that same tunnel, or, you, could continue, it does make a complete, loop circuit if you, walk all the way up to the top of the hill but, you might not want to go that far so feel free anytime to.
Just Walk in part of the way and then, turn around and walk back out the same way that you came in it's, a different experience either, way going uphill or going, downhill. The. Vermillion. Color, of the gates is quite dazzling. And, contrasts. Delightfully. With the green garden. Setting there. Are even a few restaurants, in the shrine area which figures if it's going to take you three, hours to walk along, every pathway so. You can get some refreshments and, especially, locally, themed dishes, such as the Inari sushi and, kitsune. Udon both, of which feature, pieces. Of fried tofu which. Was said to be a favorite of the, foxes, who were some of the gods of this shrine area. From. The Inari shrine we continued, north about a half a mile to the temple, and gardens of tofukuji, the. Tofukuji. Buddhist temple, is considered one of the five great. Zen, temples, of kyoto. Originally. Built in the year 1236. It burned. Down after a couple, of centuries, and then, was rebuilt, in the 15th century to the original plans and stands. Today as, a fine, example of a, medieval zen, temple. Typical. Of most Kyoto temples it's a group of more, than a dozen wooden, structures, in a, lush garden, setting, especially. Famous, for the very, large song maan temple, gate 65, feet high and the bright fall colors, of maple, leaves when, you're here, in the autumn season, here. Too we have a small, Shinto, shrine, area with another torii. Tunnel. Being up, to a staircase, that brings you up a hill at this. Temple complex, of tofukuji, there are about a dozen sub. Temples. One. Of the things that's most noted for is, the. Fall colors, we, arrived in early December but still there was the lingering. Color of the maple leaves which were really bright. And spectacular. Another. Week or two they'll all be blown, down by mid, December late, December, the colors, will be largely, gone, of course. The peak of colors would happen, in, the month of November, and it, would be especially beautiful, here at tofukuji, they. Have this small gully which. Is the most famous area. For, the viewing, of the fall colors and we. Were looking in particular, for the abbot's Hall because, at the abbot's Hall there. Is a very classical. Pebble. Garden that we wanted to see and, finally. We got there, be. Sure to explore, well enough that you can find, that little known zen, meditation pebble. Garden at the, abbot's hall and linger. Here awhile to absorb the harmonious. Serenity. Smaller. Pebble gardens can be found scattered, around, areas other temples, through. A fixie, annatto of this style of pebble. Garden accented. By symbolic. Clusters of large rocks might want to visit the most famous version a trio. On ji temple, in kyoto 'he's northwest. Outskirts. Tofukuji. Is a Zen Buddhist temple and these are aids to meditation, you, sit and quiet. Your mind and. This kind of pebble garden is designed to be looked. At rather than walked through, so. There's a veranda, and over. On the side we have moss, covered hills, that symbolize. Mountains. The, rock symbolize, islands, it. Said, and the, pebbles symbolize the sea, but. At the same time ascribing. All of these meanings to, such. A garden, is somewhat limiting, because, in, Zen itself, the process is emptying. Your mind and, just, gazing, out upon, this. Beautiful calm. And, relaxing. Vista. And. You. Pay an admission to, go into, each of the sections. Of the, temple and it's well worth it it's, a little confusing because guides, at, the gateways, of cellular tickets don't speak any English and they'll, give you a little pamphlet that'll have a map and that will help guide you around through. The grounds, and, always. The colors, around, us here at this temple garden, we're. Really really, enhancing. Our, total. Experience, and then we ran into a very friendly, local, fellow who, knows a lot, about the temple, complex and told, us about tofukuji. He was proud to show, us the grave of one of Kyoto's more, famous, geisha, because, she was married to the nephew of JP. Morgan the, famous financier. That. Was a rare treat, most, enjoyable to, speak English with an elderly local, resident, a friendly, guy who was, proud to point out a few sites for us, tofukuji. Was listed, as a unesco. World heritage site, in, 1994. One, of many in kyoto there, is no admission charge to. The complex, of tofukuji, and you, can walk freely around some, of the grounds, but, there is an admission, fee for, the zen gardens, and that. Bridge to heaven with the great view of the fall colors. Tofukuji. Temple is, located on, the eastern, side of kyoto, about, a mile, southeast. Of the kyoto, train station, so you could walk here from the center or, take, a bus or train the tofukuji. Station, of japan rail stops. Nearby as well as. The kahan electric, railway this. Is part of our series on the temples and, gardens, of Eastern, Kyoto, the Higashiyama, district. And also. We'll take, you downtown in.
Some, Of our other videos we, have arrived at maruyama. Park which has an enchanting, pond encircled. By beautiful. Landscaping, with. A picturesque. Footbridge. In the center there's, no need to walk up the gully but. Do consider having a meal at the traditional. Restaurant, in the small park serving, shogen, ryo a vegetarian. Temple cuisine, will, show, you their famous potatoes, shortly. Mariama. Is a, wonderful. And famous, place to do some relaxing. And. There's some ducks, there's crows, and, some. Locals. Feeding, the ducks here. These. Wild birds have become so used to people that, they are very friendly even. The Ravens which are normally, quite elusive. You. Can easily walk into, maruyama, park from, a couple of nearby famous, temples, at yasaka and kiyomizu. Xian, in Temple is on the north edge of the park so, this is really, one of the most popular, strolls, in all, of, Kyoto. We're in the eastern, part of Kyoto, the Higashiyama. District. Little. Stroll along the stream here. The. Park is most famous, for its cherry blossoms, in the month of April which. Attracts, millions of people, this. Is a classic, walk and it. Leads you into, another. Path, with, a bridge, crossing over, the pond and the. Path, can continue. Up along the stream if you wish for, another, quarter-mile. It's a very easy, stroll, with these beautiful weeping. Willow trees. More. Of these spectacular colors. All along the way and there's. Some nice restaurants here as well too in a moment we're going to take. You into one of the classic, restaurants, of Maruyama. There. Are some statues. And small, shrines scattered, throughout the park you. Can find a half a dozen traditional. Hotels, the ryokan, all around, the periphery of the park as well very peaceful, place to stay, there's. One quite, famous gourmet restaurant. With, three, Michelin stars. Ms:i. That. Same three-star rating was given to five other kyoto, restaurants, and altogether, 85. Of the restaurants, in kyoto, have, got one, or two or three Michelin stars, a total. Of a hundred and ten stars remarkable. And now, we're entering a venerable. Old restaurant, paranoia. Hanten, it. Was established, 300, years ago this. Is considered. A temple, restaurant, where. They feature, the famous, shogen. Reor, Eva j't Aryan temple, cuisine, and. They. Have the eMobile. Cuisine, which is one of the renowned dishes, of Kyoto. One. Of their specialty, items here is the potato, it's a mountain potato. That was. Brought down and replanted. At the Maruyama, hill area and, you. Can see I was very satisfied, with the, large, and delicious. Meal. When. You've seen enough of the park you might walk a few blocks over to the traditional, gion, district, which, we're showing you in another movie in our series, on Kyoto. This. Is part of our series on the temples and, gardens of. Eastern Kyoto. The Higashiyama, district. And also. We'll take you downtown in. Some, of our other videos be. Sure to look for them in our collection.