Day 1- 3 – Sakura paradise in Kyoto

I arrived in Kyoto – finally and just in time for the sakura, the Japan’s famous cherry blossoms. They are everywhere; in temples and shrines, lining busy main streets, next to rivers and especially near schools. Everything in Japan starts in April – the new fiscal year, school, university, and jobs for university graduates. So Sakura is the beginning of a new life for many people – and for me.

I had my first workday on Saturday, I used Sunday to see more of the Kyoto’s beautiful gardens. I received the recommendation from Oyakata, the master gardener, to visit the Ninomaru gardens of Nijo-jo, the Palace of the Shogun which was built in the 17th century. That garden is “easy to understand”, I was told. I can see why; it definitely impressed me. More on that later.

Here are my first impressions:

Day 1 – A single cherry blossom on a moss-covered roof in Entoku-in (圓徳院 )

Day 1 Cherry Blossom on a moss roof tea house - 90 days in kyoto

 

Day 2 – My colleague cleaning the moss in the northern garden of Entoku-in, which is a sub-temple of Kodai-ji (高台寺).

Day 2 Entoku-in

Day 3 – I used my first free day to visit the Ninomaru gardens of the Nijo-jo, the castle of the shoguns in the 17th century. I went on to the shrines Kitano Tenmangu (北野天満宮) and Hirano Jinja (平野神社), which are full with cherry blossoms (and crowded with visitors). After lunch, I visited Hokongo-in (法金剛院), one of the few temple of the Ritsu school of Buddhism (律宗). To finish my day of Niwa-meguri (Visiting gardens), I decided to pay another visit to Myoshin-ji, which is close by. Its sub-temple Daiho-in (大法院) is only open in autumn and spring. I had seen it in autumn before, and loved it. It is one of those gardens that truly calms my mind. After a short but intense hail shower, the tea garden glistened in the sun more beautiful than before.

Ninomaru garden of the Nijo-jo castle in Kyoto

Ninomaru garden of the Nijo-jo castle in Kyoto

Sakura and kneeling cow in the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto

Sakura and kneeling cow in the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto

Cherry blossom paradise in the Hirano Jinja shrine

Cherry blossom paradise in the Hirano Jinja shrine

Daiho-in, sub-temple of Myoshin-ji in Kyoto

Daiho-in, sub-temple of Myoshin-ji in Kyoto

 

 

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