From the very beginning, Jennifer wanted to come to Kyoto to visit some of the hundreds of shrines and temples located there. But having arrived, I had no idea how we would arrange such a thing. It was our good fortune to find the official tourist center right outside the Kyoto station. After we got the brochures, we headed back to the hotel to figure out the best schedule. Almost at random, we chose three tour packages from the list; AS, NS and WS.

Our first stop was the Sanju Sangen Do Temple. It was established in 1164. The original temple was lost in a fire, but then rebuilt in 1266.

The temple is about 120 meters (390 feet) long. In the picture, we are standing in front of the temple and inside (pictured above us) are 1001 standing statues of the Buddhist deity, Juichimen-senju-sengen Kanzeon (often just called "Kannon"). There are 500 statues to each side and a large seated statue in the center. The 1001st standing statue is in the back facing away from the seated statue. It was truly a powerful experience.

As we pulled into the next exhibit you can see our tour guide walking back to the bus. During the drive from site to site, the tour guide would give a running description of our  surroundings. Unfortunately for us, it was completely in Japanese.

Our next stop was the Kinkaku-ji temple which can be seen behind us. For this tour, we were never able to approach the temple directly, but had to view it from a walkway that surrounded it.

This would likely be a good time to point out that temples are Buddhist and shrines are of the Shinto faith.

The Kinkaku-ji temple was built in 1397 by the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It was burned down in 1950 by a young man who confessed that he wanted to commit suicide with it. The name Kinkkaku means Golden Pavilion which comes from the gold leaf used to coat the inside and outside of the second and third floors.

Here is an example of Karesansui, a dry landscape garden. Patterns are raked into the sand which are said to promote peace and harmony in the viewer. 

The Japanese students were fascinated with Jennifer. They loved her. They would ask her to take photographs together with them. They would talk to her, practice English on her, compliment her on her Japanese, it was delightful to watch.