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Living in KyotoJapanese Temples

Let’s Go Strollin’

By October 28, 2019November 11th, 20204 Comments

After several days of intermittent rain that I used as an excuse to stay put, I was more than ready to hit the garden/temple trail again once things dried out.  There are so many amazing places here that I haven.t yet seen.  All it takes is a short bit of research to pick a new place to explore.  Each place somehow manages to be unique.

This will be a simple blog.  I took lots of photos , so I’m going to let them do the work of conveying the beauty of these ancient retreats. Come on along.

I stayed in a relatively small area of the small sub temples that are a part of the mother temple, Nanzen-ji. There are few crowds here.  We’re taking our sweet time. Inhale deeply.

Nature is enjoying its last fling before it succumbs to winter dormancy and the need to rest.  There are signs that the party is coming to a slow end, but now, as it prepares for its final awe- inspiring, forget-me-not display, it is still lush, vibrant and energetic.

I still have difficulty imagining a culture giving such importance to its gardens.  Many of these gardens began life making the aristocrats happy  and I suppose proud in their beautiful villas.  Now we all have access. It is easy to see the importance of nature in the culture.  These sites are now protected and cherished. I tend to forget they’re a part of Kyoto when I’m in the crowded center of the city that accommodates businesses and residences and not that much open space.  But when you want a quick time trip, just head for the periphery of town, close to the rising mountains.

Much of the rock symbolism is lost on me, but it’s ok because I don’t relate to the ancient stories and myths behind the symbols.  If you want or need to go deeper, there’s plenty of written material to explain it.

Alice’s hole?

Let’s walk on water.

autumn berries. No, I don’t know their name.

natural stone basin as water feature

pond refections.

water lilys enjoying the day. Flowers all done. too bad, one of my faves.

Tenjuan Temple dry garden

Imposing Nanzenji gate house.

Ceramic cup I desired but didn’t buy because no credit cards allowed and I didn’t have the cash. And, I didn’t really need it.  It was a gorgeous reminder of sakura.  I would have treasured it.

Kyoto made ceramics at temple exhibit. Unexpected and beautiful .

kyoto ceramics.

I was surprised by a Kyoto ceramics association show on the temple grounds. highly decorative items.  No amateurs in this group!

The ever alluring and show-catching koi

what a running-a-bit-wild garden!


a sure sign of fall, berries demanding attention.

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Water is flowing steadily from all the recent rain in the run -off ditches alongside the temple walls.It’s part of the soundtrack here. Last mage,  Exhale.

Dianne Vapnek

In an attempt to slow life's quickening pace, I'm writing to share my personal perspective on the aging process, its dilemmas, the humorous self-deception, the insights and the adventure of it all. I spent the bulk of my time in beautiful Santa Barbara, CA, but manage to get to NYC a few times times a year. I've been a dancer/dance teacher and dance supporter almost all my life. For the past20years, I help create and produce a month-long creative residency in Santa Barbara for contemporary American choreographers and their dancers. It's been incredibly gratifying. This year, I decided it's time to retire! Big change. I also now spend several weeks a year in Kyoto Japan, residing for several weeks in the spring and the fall. I've been magnetically attracted to Japan for many years. Now I live out a dream to live there part-time.


  • Dara Marvel says:

    You’re pictures took me along on your beautiful stroll ❤️ Thank you for sharing! Xoxo

  • Judi Wallner says:

    Oh Dianne what a treat….thanks for all the photos. The way that existing features like rocks are turned into other garden ornaments is truly wonderful. The ceramics are stunning…I can see why you wished to have cash. I would have been crying too. Safe trip home. I look forward to talking to you, Much love, J

  • dbsite33 says:

    Thanks for taking me along on this delightful stroll! Beautiful!!

  • theduckandme says:

    Those photos are truly beautiful. Looking at them I feel like I am in Kyoto myself, wandering around Nanzen-ji. I also like how you captured some of the beginnings of the Kyoto fall foliage.

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