On a day of warmth and sunshine I started out for three temples, all located at the foot of the mountains on the northern border of Kyoto. As none of these temples are well known or well publicized they were peaceful and wonderful with only a few other people visiting with me. At the first, Genko-an, I was welcomed with lovely incense indoors and the fragrance of the blossoms outdoors. The temple is noted for its two windows, one square, the Window of Delusion, implying confusion, ignorance and immaturity; a life of human suffering; and one round, implying Zen maturity, completeness and enlightenment.
Koetsu-ji is a special temple built on land owned by the family of Hon-ami Koetsu, a famous calligrapher, who created an artist and craftsman’s village on surrounding land during the 17th century. Several tea houses are on the grounds along with monuments for the Hon-ami family. Another lovely, peaceful visit with the fragrance of the blossoms stirring my consciousness.
Josho-ji, connected to the Hom-ami family, was also welcoming with peace, quiet, lovely incense and fragrant blossoms and a large, beautiful garden.
Since it was early afternoon I got on the bus and went to Kinkakuji, the golden temple. It was a miserable experience when I was there in 2007 because of the hordes of people visiting with me. I had not intended to return, but I have been reading Yukio Mishima’s, 1959 book, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion, I found in the library here in the hotel. I guess that was the motivation. It was another miserable experience; more people and I am five years older and tire and lose patience more easily. I should have known better.