April 9th, 2015 - Kyoto, Japan - Day 239

Peter's POV 

Today was full of gardens. Around 9 my mom, dad, and I went to see more gardens, my sister was tired so she didn't come with us. Our plan was to go see three gardens then come back to the house for lunch. On our way to the first garden, which was about an hour and a half walk from our house, we saw a big temple and decided to go in. When we got inside we found some gardens and walked around them for a while. The garden was called Yūzen’en Garden.

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 Cool maple leaf my and dad and I spotted!

Cool maple leaf my and dad and I spotted!

When we got out we figured out that we could go and see another garden in the temple. 

When we got into the temple we turned a corner and found monks chanting, it was very cool to watch.

 

After the chanting monks we continued on to the garden. In a part of the garden there were rocks with bushes surrounding them. We found a board explaining that the rocks symbolized 25 bodhisattvas, which are watchers that remain on earth to save people, and the big guy in the middle, Amida Nyorai, is the celestial Buddha. I could make out the clouds (Azalea shrubs), but that was about it. It was cool though. Everything means something in this culture!

 Here's the scroll that the garden symbolizes.

Here's the scroll that the garden symbolizes.

 Here's the actual garden--can you spot the  Amida Nyorai?  

Here's the actual garden--can you spot the Amida Nyorai? 

After our detour we headed toward the Philosophers Path. This path is a popular destination in Kyoto because of the cheery trees that line the sides of the canal that the path runs next too. The path gets its name from a Japanese philosopher and Kyoto University professor who meditated there daily.  

When we were finished with our side stop we continued on and made it to our first stop, Ginkakuji Temple, which was a little under an hour later. It was 1 by the time that we got to our first stop. At this point we had been on our feet for about 4 hours and were really starting to get tired. The garden was very cool because it was laid out below a hill so that you could walk up the hill and look down at the garden. The temple near the garden houses the oldest tea room in Japan. In the garden there was a big mound of sand that looked like a mountain. It was designed by a gardener named Soami. 

 In Japan every job is done with great pride...even raking sand!! 

In Japan every job is done with great pride...even raking sand!! 

When we got to the third garden we learned that it was a garden that was mainly visited during fall because it had a lot of Japanese Maples that bloom in November. 

When we made it to the last garden (Heian Shrine) we learned that it was huge. But we were already there so we got inside and walked with the 200+ other people throughout the garden. When we made it to the exit and bolted home. The walk home took about 30 minutes when we finally made it home it was probably 4:30. After we got home we all made our own dinners headed up to bed after a long day of walking.  

 Even the locals like to take pics of the cherry trees!

Even the locals like to take pics of the cherry trees!

BONUS PICS FROM THE DAY!