Sightseeing: Daitokuji Adventure






It seemed as a regular day in the university. I ended my classes by about four in the afternoon and was waiting for a friend who was eating in the cafeteria. As we had just finished taking our Japanese test the day before, we had some free time and decided to go on an adventure and sight see somewhere near as to not go back to our dorms and do nothing. We decided to go to Daitokuji Temple as it was the closest temple from the University that we had not visited before. Being translated as the temple of Great Virtue, Daitokuji is a Buddhist temple founded in the year 1326, to which is a branch of the Rinzai sect of Japanese Zen. As a Zen monastery, one could see how this temple differed from others in its aesthetics. Just as we entered the temple grounds I noticed to the side a small field of bright greenery with a few trees surrounding the area. It reminded me of a Japanese anime to which one could see scenes like this from. In the end, we were in the Kyoto mountains, where nature takes its course and enhances the environment.  The time was right to explore through Kyoto as the bright greenery is due to new leaves starting to come out right after the cherry blossoms. Trees were no longer bare and a new layer of green seemed to envelop Kyoto. What I find particularly interesting and beautiful are the trees that still have some cherry blossoms left, but are also growing new green leaves. The contrast between the pinkish and greenish colors in a tree simply marvelous and worth of admiring. Along the way, we encountered various trees like this and one can also see them in the university.

Inside the temple grounds, there was a long walkway that led to different other sections, to which we got surprised to find out that there were other sub temples that make up what we know as Daitokuji Temple.

At one point we encountered a path which one would think to be very Japanese-like as trees enclosed the surroundings to create a natural rooftop. In addition, a bamboo forest lied to the left flank and traditional houses with a bamboo-made fence lied to the right. At the end of the walkway lied a street and a tennis field, where we could hear Japanese students practice. We decided to head back home and passed through a small school and noticed there was another temple. Such temple seemed alienated in comparison to others but inside we found that it had more sections and altars than others we had visited. In addition, there was a particular wall that had temple tiles within the wall itself as it seemed they mixed the tiles with the clay and cement they used to build the wall. I have to admit I have not seen such phenomenon and it was quite interesting and fascinating to see.

Lastly, as we continued walking back, my friend noticed there was a tree that was still full blooming on cherry blossoms. As we approached it we noticed there were some stairs and decided to see where it would take us. By this point I had no idea where we were going to end up. We encountered a Japanese group that was doing some kind of exercise training and after going up for about five minutes we actually ended up in a park. As it was already getting dark, there weren’t really people around and we couldn’t stay long, but we were able to admire quite a view of the local scenery, buildings around, and the beautiful mountain ranges from afar. Who knew that we would find such a place near our University campus