Niko-jo Castle

The castle was completed in 1603 by Tokugawa Ieyasu who was the first Shogun.

Many important events took place in this palace including, in 1867, the power was handed over to the emperor from the Shogun. That ended 200 years of Japanese isolation from the outside world. This was the beginning of the modernization of Japan.

They wouldn’t let us take photos inside the castle but here are a couple of photos from the brochure :

As you can see the decorations are beautiful and the art on the walls is simple. The walls are covered with gold leaf and then painted with Japanese scenery; there are over 3,600 wall paintings in the palace.

I spent a lot of time in the garden. It is considered a “masculine “ garden because of the many large rocks.

The palace is surrounded by a moat and a beautiful garden.

Gion District

Views on the way to the Gion District for lunch:

Sanjusangendo Temple

(Temple of the Thousand Statues)

The temple is 400’ long and houses 1,001 statues of the goddess of mercy. It was built in 1164 AD and is the oldest building in Kyōto.

There is a small pond garden and bright orange gates outside but they wouldn’t let us take photos inside so I bought a brochure and took a few photos from it.

This is what you see when you enter the temple – 1001 statues covered with gold leaf. It takes your breath away. The statues are arranged in 33 bays behind 28 guardian deities.

These statues are made out of wood and covered with gold leaf. Over seventy sculptors created these sculptures and each one has a slightly different face. They all have about 24 hands to help the Japanese people. Japanese people like the goddess of mercy more than Buddha because they believe she has many hands to help them.

These are 2 of the guardian statues that are situated in front of the 1000 gold statues. They are carved out of wood and painted but little of the color remains.

Farewell Dinner

Mariam’s birthday cake

Five of us will be continuing to Hiroshima and this blog will continue there.

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