It took approximately 1 hour to get there by bus (however, we still had to walk a bit before arriving to Ginkokuji). When we came out of the bus, we s, it was just like a dream : I saw my first full bloomed sakura. When we got closer to it, I noticed there were plenty of them around us !
|This was only the beginning of the afternoon...|
On the way to Ginkakuji, we followed a cherry tree-lined water channel and enjoyed the weather and the pleasant atmosphere. Even though the place was crowded with people, we still could admire those beautiful sakura trees and the magnificent background that was around us.
|Even though it was only the beginning of Hanami (the cherry tree-blossom period in Japan), the trees were all pink and white.|
As we got closer to Ginkakuji, we entered a very small street full of shops, selling either food or traditional Japanese items, as well as different crappy souvenirs for tourists, like it would be in every touristic place in the world.
|I didn't buy anything there, even if some things were quite nice ! It was also way too crowded|
After we paid a 500yen ticket, we finally entered Ginkakuji.
|Luckily, the poster on the right did not say "CAMERA NOT ALLOWED" !|
Ginkakuji is actually a temple built around a building called "the silver pavillion". Funny fact about this : as you can see on the picture, it's not silver ! Why is he called like this ? It seems nobody knows the true cause, but one of the possible reasons is that when it was created (shortly after the Golden Pavillion, Kinkakuji), the Shogun did not have enough money to afford painting it in silver... (I did not invent this story, I heard if in my Japanese Culture class !). Fair enough !
The whole place was absolutely outstanding. I have always loved the Japanese traditional architecture (Ginkakuji is a Zen Buddhist temple) in movies and on pictures, but in real life, it's even more beautiful. I really can't put words on my thoughts at the moment... you really have to watch it by yourself to realize how "woah" it is ! The harmony between the traditional rock garden, the bamboo forest, the buildings and the pond was perfect.
One hour later, when the visit was finished, we stopped at the souvenir shop and tried to find where to eat. However, we had to walk quite a bit, because all the restaurants were really expensive. We ended up eating udon (a kind of noodles) in a cute little restaurant. It was the first time I was eating such a thing, and I really understand why Japanese people don't mind when people make noise when they eat !
Before going back to the I-House, we went to the path of philosophy for even more sakura tree sightseeing. This path is famous because it's one of the longest sakura-tree place in Japan. Also, it is called "the path of philosophy" because of a famous professor at the Kyoto University who is said to have walked there each time he needed to meditate. Even though you can reach the end in 30 minutes, most of the people who go there spend hours viewing the sakura trees and enjoying the walk. Here are some random pictures I took... It was really beautiful !
|Not fully bloomed, but still so beautiful|
|Some pink trees and a blue sky are enough to make me feel good.|
After that, we came back to the I-House and it was time for me to go to sleep before my first "true" class day...