Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Very Important Moss and other great attractions

On our last full day in Kyoto, we readied ourselves for a hearty tramp and caught the bus up to Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion. Contrary to its name, the pavilion is not silver, at least not literally. There's a lovely garden attached, and luckily for us, it was a Tuesday, so not too crowded. But still crowded enough - I can't imagine how bad it must be on a weekend. I'd love to go back when it's even more sparsely attended - I've heard that in the fall, at night, they light up the place and the pavilion glows. To console us, though, for the lack of glow, we were treated to a small exhibition with little snatches of the various kinds of moss that could be found around the garden. They had little descriptive labels, one informing us that the sample before us was "VIP moss (like Very Important Person)". Suitably impressed, we continued our ascent to the overlook of the garden, and I was struck by the amazing shelves of sand that are formed into ridges and waves that aren't so extraordinary from below, but which assemble into a remarkable pattern when viewed from above.
Next we strolled along the Path of Philosophy, a lovely cobbled lane next to a spit of a stream, but which passed by many other temples and shrines. We stopped at a little shrine along the path, of which I've forgotten the name, but which was dedicated to some animals, most notably the rat and the fox.

Back to Shijo for a last round of shopping and visited the wonderful Morita paper store, a bit off the main drag, which has a gorgeous array of handmade paper. I. picked up a sheaf in various beautiful shades of green for printing his record insert, then we were off to Kyoto station to catch our train back to Yokohama.

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