Special opening of Daitoku-ji Kohrin-in Temple

Kohrin-in Temple Special Opening Schedule
There were probably only 6 visitors while we arrived at Daitoku-ji Kohrin-in Temple. The temple is small, quiet and peaceful, all I heard is the chirping sound of the nightingale floor. The staff is friendly and professional, guided us to all the areas. Photography is allowed in the garden, but I didn’t want to snap too many photos in a Temple. The south garden is gorgeous!

The north garden is very beautiful as well! Not photographed in this photo, a latifolia Thunb(a species of holly) is planted in the corner. latifolia Thunb leaves were used for writing sutra in Ancient India.

There’s a stone with a Kanji ‘爪塚’ written on it in the west garden, it was set up for the finger picks of Koto(Japanese stringed musical instrument). Seems the wife of the previous priest was a Koto master.

On our way bicycling to Kohrin-in Temple, we stop at Morpho Cafe for lunch. It’s only 1.2km from our guesthouse, cozy vibe, reasonable price, kind staff, and great food! Highly recommend!

Suzuki had the green curry. I had the Japanese lunch set and the fried gyoza(not yaki gyoza) was yummy! This lunch set is not written on the English menu, so you need to ask. And they don’t take credit cards. 

It was so hot day, and we took a short rest at Kissa Zou cafe on our way back. Luckily got two counter seats without waiting in line.

The cream soda is less tasty than it’s nice looking, put me in a good mood though. Kissa Zou literal means ‘Cafe Elephant’, it explains the topping cookie on the ice cream.

The toast with sweet adzuki bean paste topping was great!


Found one more favorite place to visit! Inemachi, A small town approximately 130 km north from Kyoto city. According to the local guide, there are about 230 unique buildings called funaya standing in a row along the south-facing Ine bay. Funaya was created to function as boathouses, they were sample thatched roof wooden houses in old time. Now they are 2-floor buildings and equipped with a living space, and each funaya has a main house on the mountainside across the street. One family based on one funaya and one main house, their lifestyle based on fishing and farming. You can use free bikes to strolling along the streets, get on a local boat at a 1000 yen charge, claiming on the observatory to overlook the clear blue sea and deep green mountains.

We enjoyed very much the sea while driving to Ine. Once we got off the car, we immediately fell in love with this beautiful town.

I love these interesting decoration.

There are three public open Funaya you can visit. This is how it looks like in the Funaya, full of fishing tools.

A very nice cafe named Ine Cafe, part of Restaurant Cafe Openspace FUNAYA BIYORI.

To get a closer look at the funaya, we took a 30 min cruise tour. Our guide, the local fisherman is very knowledgeable and kind. He explained the history, regional festivals, lifestyles of Ine. We enjoyed feeding seagulls from our hand on the boat!

Exploring cherry blossom spots by Tozai subway line

I enjoyed very much the cherry blossom this year. The subway one-day pass was quite handy, all the place I visited are accessible. And the subway was not busy at all, I got a seat every ride.

Daigoji temple
All the weeping cherry trees are in full bloom and have beautiful shapes. Slender branches were waving gracefully in the wind, lightly feeling the ground. Amazing view everywhere!

Keage Incline
There was a huge crowd, Somei-yoshino cherry trees that were 70% in bloom lined both sides of the track forming an arch providing a spectacular view from the distance. I amused myself by taking pictures of visitors taking pictures in Kimono.

Okazaki Canal
Walked along the canal to the Okazaki area, I enjoyed following the cruises. Since most of the cherry trees here are still in buds, and the weather is quite cold and windy, I didn’t want to be one of the passengers. Still, I was fancying while taking pictures of them, how was the view in their eyes.

Yamashina Canal
The cherry blossom and rape flower made a magnificent view, it gave a magical reflection over the water surface. A yacht passed by fleetly and rolling wave followed.

Bishamon-do Temple
They were only a few local visitors. Normally, more crowds clustered in autumn due to its fame of maple. The 150 years old weeping cherry tree was very eyecatching. And the famous husumae (paintings on sliding screens) paint in perspective was quite interesting.

I’m expecting a different view next year. Probably Yoshino mountain in Nara, I’ve heard it filled with 30,000 cherry trees. That’s unimaginable!

Animal Shaped Omikuji

Pleple draw omikuji when they visit a shrine or temple in order to read their fortune. A long time ago, omikuji were used to read the intentions of the gods. The omikuji includes a phrase expressing your general fortune such as excellent, good, reasonable, fair or evil fortune, as well as advice on individual topics such as the overall state of your fortune, your health, things you are searching for and people you are waiting for. Normally omikuji is a folded-up paper. Have you ever seen an omikuji which has a cute animal shaped container? Here a special list for you!

Sugawarain Tenmangu Shrine: Cow shaped omikuji
Santuario Goou: Boar shaped omikuji
Kamigamo-jinja: Three legs crow shaped omikuji
Higashi-Tenno Okazaki-Jinja Shrine: Rabbit shaped omikuji
Rokkaku-do: Pigeon shaped omikuji
Kenninji Temple Tacchu Ryosokuin: Tiger shaped omikuji
Hirano Shrine: Squirrel shaped omikuji

You may wonder, why those design? Well, there are many cases. In Japan, many shrines were built in honor of remarkable politicians. Some animals were depicted as a lifesaver and protector of the politician in legend. So as the cow and the boar. The Okazaki-Jinja shrine precinct was used to be the rabbit’s haunt. Now the rabbit is considered the sacred messenger from the deity. There are many pigeons in Rokaku-do, so they became a symbol of the temple. The tiger is considered the enshrined god’s ride, it is also said the god appeared in the year of the tiger.

You see, not just your general fortune, many stories are contained as well. Make sure you get one of those mysterious omikuji when you visit Kyoto!

My favorite ponds in Kyoto

Japanese gardens have garden stones and plants arranged around a central pond to create a scene that can be appreciated throughout the four seasons. Most of the garden ponds are small and delicate. To enjoy the immense, calm and reflective water surface, you may want to seek a bigger pond like those below.

Heian Jingu Shrine – Shinen Garden
A beautiful garden and several small ponds which are famed for iris and water lily will lead you to the grand pond. There’s a wooden bridge crossing over the pond. This bridge is a very sophisticated wooden structure featuring a small tower in the middle. The roofed passageway has long benches for sitting while you are walking over the bridge.

Daikakuji Temple – Osawa Pond
The pond was originally built for Emperor Saga’s detached palace, and was used to throw elaborate parties and for recreational activities such as boating, fishing and moon viewing. The Moon-viewing party is still held here every autumn. You can see both the brilliant moon in the night sky and the reflection on the calm surface of the water.

Nagaokatenmangu Shrine – Hachijogaike Pond
A shrine famed by it’s Kirishima azalea. The front approach to the shrine is a bridge in the middle of the pond, connecting with another winding bridge leading to the east pond. The pond was originally built for irrigation, it’s surrounding by the azalea bush.

Shugakuin Imperial Villa – Yokuryuchi Pond
There are three villas. Climbing up to the top of the upper Villa, a panoramic view of Kyoto in the distance and a beautiful pond with an island in the middle will surprise you.
※Advance reservation required.