There are always some very significant or very beautiful sites that I realised I did not know about therefore failed to visit in Kyoto, only after I came back to NZ.
平安神宫 (へいあんじんぐう) was certainly 1 of them.
And after 3.5 years of being locked-away from my favourite island country in the world,
I made this my 1st location to visit as soon as I'm back in Kyoto.
And of course, as with most places,
I didn't do any research,
therefore I did not know until I got there
that it came with an absolutely gorgeous immense garden
which was beautiful in a highly cinematic way.
I say Cinematic because
there are spots that reminded me of 新海诚's 《言葉之庭》
which unravels the journey of an often forbidden love
but grants it complete and total light and acceptance.
The two characters meet frequently in the garden,
sharing moments of peace and aloneness,
revealing the truest aspects of themselves to each other,
and without realising, unable to exist without one another.
If you haven't watched it, I really recommend it.
I'm never one about social constraints.
If two people love each other whole-heartedly, leave them be.
And this was the part of the garden that reminded me of this beautifully crafted visual story.
Here are some more photos of the garden from different angles
(clearly I love this part more than the others because of what it alludes to in my mind):
I realise I should perhaps pay more attention to the history of the jinja and the artfulness of the garden, because the garden itself is so idiosyncractic of all the beauty of a traditional Japanese garden,
and the jinja ground is enormous and palatial in scale.
But I'm truly not one for history.
Not because I'm not interested,
but because of history's very nature of ever-repeating itself,
no matter where you are,
no matter what century or millenia you look at,
I cannot but wish there wasn't all the turmoils and churnings of history...
All for the idealism and hunger for power of some individuals.
History is full of the coming and goings of those with political ambitions and failures.
Some might have brought success and peace to their people,
some brought utter chaos, death, and destruction.
Dynaties change and renew,
emperors and kings and queens rise and fall.
To be totally honest, I don't care about the micro-history side of things.
They are as changeful as the weather.
I guess I'm more into the climate of a place - the macro-history,
the cultures, the customs, the architecture and the garden artform.
What I did enjoy a lot was how much this place reminded me of China.
The imperial grandeur of the ground,
the color (albeit far more orange than China's evil-fending redness)
the air of the mid-autumn early morning,
the structure and designs of the jinja buildings.
Am I glad that I am back in East Asia?
100,000 x a million percent.
Exceedingly at peace that I am back in Japan.
My soul and my spirit belongs to East Asia.
Not any of these western so called First World Countries.
They ain't got none of what we have:
The depth and beauty and serenity and enlightened vibes Kyoto has,
nor ANY of the amazingly delicious, healthy and convenient food that I can only enjoy here.
I came out very early in the morning.
Early enough for there to be hardly any body else,
except the priestesses preparing for the day,
and old people who are early risers like I am.
If you want to beat the tourist (as I've no doubt this place would attract thousands)
come out as early as 7am,
you'll get here after sunrise,
and can see the garden in its full glory.
do not come bare legged like I did,
as in avoid short skirts and shorts,
and if you do,
spray on some insect repellent.
I got gorged on by mosquitoes by the garden pond, eh.
Wear a hat / sunscreen.
Autumn in Kyoto in November means perfect sunshine every day,
no breeze or wind,
just 25-degree perfection.
It gets hot pretty much after the sun has fully risen,
so 'round about 8:45 the temperature turns from autumn cool of early morning right to summery heat.
I find myself basking in perfect sunlight,
and just start soaking in my own perspiration.
So wear a few layers of clothes that can keep you warm in the morning, and that you can take off once it gets hot.
Wear comfortable shoes.
The place is not small.
We're not talking about a standard garden here,
the place is styled after 洛阳皇宫紫微城 - the ancient imperial palace of China from China's most prosperous time - Tang Dynasty,
it is grand in all aspects, and the garden has various divisions,
each part has its own vibe.
You want to enjoy everything without feeling pain in your feet/ankles.
always make sure to wear the most comfortable shoes to walk in in general for Japan.
You're bound to walk over 10,000 stepseveryday.
I tend to hit 10,000 at around midday, and reach over 25,000 at the end of the evening.
And last but not least,
just take deep breaths and enjoy.
This place is for healing and serenity.
Every peaceful step you take is a prayer in itself.
listen to the sound of the small waterfalls and birds waking up to get on with their day,
watch the koi glide gently through the pond,
feel the warmth of the sunlight,
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