Eikando: night and day

On Nov 28th we spend first half of the day going to Nara to get some mikan juice, and for the evening we decided to visit Eikando, a famous temple with a lot of nice fall foliage. The other benefit was that they were open at night, so we packed up our tripod and went there.

Pizza for breakfast
Pizza for breakfast.

icecream

icecream
We also had these Parfait cups ;)

So we have arrived to Eikando relatively late at 5:20 or so, the sun was already setting making everything yellow.

Eikando itself is an old temple established ca 853 AD, so it has a long history. Over time it converted to Jodo sect teachings, that in particular claim to get salvation you just need to recite Nenbutsu many times.

In any case we were mostly only interested in fall colors ;)

coming to Eikando

Night tickets line
Here we are just past the main gate.

The sign at the main gate said that the park was already closed, but a line was forming for what turned out to be night access with lights in one hour.

Eikando

Eikando

Eikando
The crowd increases in size as time goes by.

Eikando

Eikando
Meanwhile inside of the garden people are still walking around (the ones that got there before the closure), but the lamps are off. We can hear how they are being asked to leave.

This is almost the best time to take pictures and the lights are still off, terrible, they wait until it gets significantly darker before turning on the lights.

Evening tickets line
It gets darker and darker.

Eikando
Some sort of shooting crew appears and starts to setup their equipment as we continue waiting. Garden lights are finally turned on, but it's already a bit past the prime time, and also they still don't let us in.

Eikando

Eikando

Eikando

Eikando
Ticket office.

Eikando

night maple leaves

Kakujudai
And finally we are in (around 6:30pm). Night pass cost is 600 yen.

Kakujudai
Some sort of a building that's already closed for the night.

Middle gate
Looking back at the entrance gate.

Eikando
We wander around in darkness not really sure what to do or where to go, people pass us by.

Tea house
I think this is the tea house.

Eikando

Mie-do
Mie-do hall.

Stair to Gokuraku bridge
As we take a picture from these stairs, a monk comes running from below shouting from afar that we should "stop using it", finally reaching to here he informs us that tripod use on the temple grounds is prohibited. Our chances of getting great photos from then on goes down.

Mie-do
Returning back to Mie-do I lean on some sort of a pillar trying to get a good shot and somebody helpfully illuminates the scene for me with their flashlight ;)

Eikando

Avalokitesvara statue
A bit aside we discover this statue of Avalokitesvara

Avalokitesvara statue
And that's it from behind.

We return back to the stairs where we met the monk first time and now there's a line of people, turns out at the other end of the stairs there's a bridge overlooking a pretty nice pond with another bridge that look pretty nice.

We get in line that moves pretty slowly.

Hojo Pond
It's boring to just stand in line, so I am trying to get into a bit of a forest and take a picture of the bridge from there.

Hojo Pond
Finally we reach the bridge and take our turn at taking the pictures.

Hojo Pond
We decided to try both HDR and non-HDR versions just in case.

Hojo Pond

Hojo Pond

next we see a pagoda uphill:

Taho-to pagoda

Taho-to pagoda

Hojo Pond
And then as we head for the exit, there's another view of the nice bridge.

We came running to the bus stop from there hoping to get there ahead of the crowd, but alas, there was a huge line at the bus stop already. We finally fit into the third bus after quite a bit of waiting.

At the station we just picked yet another restaurant to try.

Udon
I had this udon

Salmon don
with this salmon and rice side dish.

Katsukaredon
And Ksusha had this karekatsudon.

green tea cake from Lipton Cafe
We then proceed to buy this tea cake from the lipton cafe of all places, and it totally lived up to it's name, being pretty terrible.

We definitely felt this was not enough, so we set to return here and we actually returned on the next day, Nov 29. We took a bus from some on the way train station and the bus took unbelievably long time (certainly much longer than the suggested schedule).

Eikando main gate
Main gate.

Eikando

Eikando tickets
Our tickets for the day visit. The day tickets cost 1000 yen.

We enter the building that was closed at night, remove our shoes and wander around.

Small garden backyard

Small garden backyard
Some enclosed mini-garden behind this building.

Long sign on top of one of the doors
Lots of text atop of this door.

Karamon
This is karamon, a gate only used for important emperor messengers.

Karamon
And a bit wider shot.

Karamon
And another angle ;)

Shaka-do
This is a side of shaka-do, main hall. Inside there was some lecture by a priest, all in Japanese, so I could barely understand anything.

Shaka-do

Elevator in Shaka-do
Surprisingly, we also found this elevator on the way ;)

roofs

Painted gate in Amida-do
And this is a nicely painted entryway to Amida hall.

Inside of the Amida hall itself there was a statue of turning back Buddha. A suitable story is attached to it featuring the abbot seeing the Buddha appearing in front of him on one of the freezing days and beckoning him as he froze in place.

Cemetery
Right next to the Amida hall there is a cemetery.

Cemetery

Cemetery

Cemetery

Dinosaur toy left on steps
I guess this is just a mini-godzilla left on the tower steps.

Avalokitesvara statue
Avalokitesvara again.

Children playground
Just across a tiny fence there is Eikando kindergarten, this is their playground.

Kyoryu-An
A stream and a statue of somebody near it. We also tried to take pictures of it at night, but failed.

Hojo pond
And this is the nice pond at day time. It's called Hojo pond.

Hojo pond

Fish in Hojo pond
Pond actually has fish in it.

Children buses
Kindergarten buses, complete with baby dolls at the front of each.

Hojo pond

Bridge to Benten island over Hojo pond
This is the nice bridge itself, it leads to a small isle called Benten Island.

Hojo pond
And the island itself with the pagoda in the background.

This is when we realize we have not been at the pagoda yet and started to look out for ways to get up there.

Hojo pond

Hojo pond

Kyoto from Taho-to pagoda
Now we are up at the pagoda, with a nice view of mountains and Kyoto.

Kyoto from Taho-to pagoda

Kyoto from Taho-to pagoda

gate

Eikando main square
Main square

Eikando between main gate and middle gate
And we head out.

Also some pictures from out Kyoto ryokan (Nihonkan):

Our ryokan room
This is our room. Behind the sliding door there's a bathroom and a toilet.

Our ryokan room
Another side.

Our ryokan room
Behind the sliding door.

Our ryokan room
Narrow bathroom.

Our ryokan room
And a toilet that's much bigger than usual.

This concludes the day.

Also it was our last full day in Kyoto and last night at the hotel.

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