July 23, 2001
This temple was long the resident of the head abbots of the Tendai sect, who were invariably imperial princes. Founded in 1144, the modern-day structures were erected in 1895. Giant camphor trees signaled the entrance into this temple. Once past the gate, lanterns highlighted our approach to the main temple complex. The temple houses antique shoji screens, old paintings and furniture, but the subdued lighting at night does not lend itself to a productive inspection of these treasures. Instead, take your place along the outer wall of the complex, where large windows afford the first glimpse of the temple garden at night, where strategically placed lights automatically direct your eyes to the main sights of the temple.
We finished our tour of the building and went outside. It was here, in the garden, that we truly felt the magic of this temple. The garden path meandered past budding cherry trees and manicured lawns to lead you to a bamboo grove, where well-tended bamboo stalks were so healthy they shimmered in the spectacular white lights that were shined onto them. My friends remarked upon seeing our pictures that the grove was so beautiful that it looked unreal.
After a while spent in oohing and aahing, the path led us past a couple of smaller buildings of worships to the temple bell. Unlike other temples, here visitors can take turn sounding the bell. We did just that, and the sound that emanated from that bell made for a perfect ending of the temple tour. (For those who want to, the temple also offer a tea ceremony during those nights the temple is open for touring).
From journal Kyoto - The Japan of Old