Kyoto from North to South.
The day was a dive in the green.
We started the morning with a tea ceremony for the noble men, that the two tea ceremonies which we attended during our previous trips were ceremonies for the samurai caste. We find the same precise gestures, the same ritual purification utensils, the same attention to detail and flavors. The difference is in the nature of tea and a more relaxed way of looking at things. Sencha served had a taste of spinach water, but do not trust my Western taste to decide what is good in this country.
We flew to the temple sanzen-in (concretely, we took a bus). We visited a small part of the temple, as most places devoted to prayer. We found there the same fantastic wooden architecture and the feeling of the living texture of wood under our feet. Walking in a temple in itself is an experience unique. Then came the discovery of the garden. Or rather of the musk.
The sanzen-in temple is the temple of the musk. Thanks to the foliage of trees and numerous sources and ponds, the musk has fully upholstered soil, giving bright shades of green. The murmur of water, the wind playing in the branches of maples, everything green… it’s extremely relaxing.
Hidden in the musk you can find some small Jizo, which seem ex voto, colonized by moss. Their blissful smiles add beauty to the softness of the places.
In contrast in Kyoto, we climbed the mountain, hiking the Fushimi Inari, or temple of 10,000 torii. Do not be surprised or repulsed by the fair side of the temple entrance. Yes, there are souvenir vendors, souvenir trinkets, small torii asking to be decoration on your chimney. This is normal: Inari is the kami (the goddess, if you want to make quick and easy) of agriculture, rice, merchants and traders. Represented in the form of a fox, it is related to wealth in general, the temple receives donations from individuals and companies that in turn are used to build a torii to curry favor with the kami.
There are also those paths that lead you through the woods to the top of the mountain, paths and stairs (there are stairs mostly, let us be objective) is a succession, more or less dense, of bright vermillion torii. And just behind is the wild forest, haunted by cats.
Higher you go, the fewer people you find: the bravest only comes to the top. Night falls early, it’s dark in the forest, there are giant spiders, person in front, one behind… the end of the path was a little scary. We actually left a lot of people on the way. Stairs go up, then down, down so much that one can be lost even if it has a good sense of direction. The maps seemed clearly not be to scale. Xim pushed me to finish the climb, when I was beginning to wonder if we would not end up spending the night lost under the torii. And then… and then we got to the top, happy to have come this far, proud of us, even if we begin to feel our feet.