Monday, 22 February 2010

Kinkakuji - the Golden Pavilion

After a quick breakfast at the Battlestar Galactica franchise (do I have to spell it out... Starbucks. Sheesh) because we have one across the road from the hotel and one about 75 metres up the road from the hotel we're off to Kinkakuji or the Golden Pavilion. We train it most of the way and then taxi it the last few kilometres. We're on holidays. Unless it is actually described as a "walk" I'm not walking.
This another Zen Buddhist temple and it has quite a history. Read the wiki here for details.
We've been reading that some of these sites are overrun with tourists but we've found the numbers quite manageable and we've never felt crowded or harried. A bunch of young American Mormons, all of them Elders (young Elders?), were making themselves available to help take photos. I chatted with one of these guys and told him he had a good gig being posted as a missionary to Japan. I'm not sure how well they do on the conversion stakes here though because I've seen other Japanese Christian missionaries ignored impolitely in a way the Japanese are never impolite. How would you convert a Buddhist?
I know how these temples make their money apart from the 500 yen or so entry fee. They have plenty of places for pilgrims or tourists to flick coins - into ponds, onto rocks, onto rocks in ponds, into cups on rocks, into cups on rocks in ponds. Some of these places are covered in coins. I'm a sucker for that kind of thing and take the opportunity to get rid of the single yen or five yen coins. There's nothing funnier than getting a bunch of tourist to go aaaaah when you walk up a flick a coin into a cup first go.
We bought some delicious rice sweets from a vendor here and the exit area had plenty of vending machines to keep me happy.

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