"Wow! You guys seem pretty busy. How many people are here?" I figured there must be at least 10 or 15 people bunking up, which to me was such a refreshing change.
She repied, "Oh its pretty quiet. We only have about 60 Westerners."
I laughed so loud I almost fell over, much to her confusion.
Click here for pics of Kyoto
|Kiyomizu's viewing deck during cherry blossom season|
After passing through the main temple, I came across the love stones. If I could traverse the 20 feet between them with my eyes closed, my wish for love would be granted. But seeing the queue of lonely Japanese lined up, I decided being single was perfect for a backpacker and headed for the sacred waterfall below. The waterfall houses an important Buddhist figurine, but none of the Japanese cared a whit about it. They were all lined up for a turn at drinking the water itself, which was said to have the power to grant wishes, restore health, bestow wisdom, and guarantee long life. After waiting in line for a bit, it was my turn. I didn't want to be greedy in front of the spirits and drank from only one of the three streams. Thoughts of bacteria quickly vanished when the surprisingly clean and sweet water filled my mouth. I drank deeply and thought about my wish. My life was pretty good and Aristotle's vision of the virtuous path was still in my head. I wished for the health and recovery of someone close to me.
I climbed and climbed back to the start of the circuit, and took one of the two correct paths. Finally, up more endless stairs, and after exploring about 3 or 4 side paths, stumbling off the circuit, wandering through a wooded cemetery, and seeing so much orange my retinas were burned, the trees started to thin. I was near the summit. This was going to be something good, I could feel it. At the very top, I spied a large shrine. I climbed up the stairs to the main altar. And peered in to see..... a hole. I slapped my forehead again. Was this a joke? Perhaps the figurine was off to the cleaners. Perhaps it was a trick to get the viewer to think about the Buddhist concept of nothingness. Contemplating these things and my general stupidity, I set back off down the mountain.
|Sun shining on the Inari, and his foxy messengers|