Rokkaku-ji. Rokkaku-ji. Rokkakuji. Bali Hai Bali Hai.Bali Hai.
It’s become my neighborhood sanctuary. Simply walk through its ancient wooden gates into a small protected sacred space visited by neighborhood locals, bordered by high office walls and even a damn Starbuck’s. No matter. In my opinion, it’s a perfect retreat.
I’ve entered a world of innocence where weeping willows spout bows and cherry blossom petals float in the gentle breeze as a young girl tries to catch them. Pigeons do insistent but quiet courtship dances at our feet while worshippers say prayers and visitors take selfies next to stately swans and beside the effusive blossoms on ancient sacred trees.
I like to light an incense stick now when I first arrive, giving thanks to whoever for my safe arrival and return to Kyoto. I pray to be able to return again. Another spring.