I now understand the bus system well enough to ride the bus to Nishi-Wonghanji Temple. Smart travelers use the city bus day pass, which lets you use the city busses for the price of the pass, 500 yen. I walk out onto the street and step right on the number 4 bus to Kyoto Station where I pick up a transfer bus to Nishi Hongonji-mae.
1:48 pm JST
I’m waiting for the number 28 bus and am cornered by a crazy woman who wants to exercise her English language skills and show me where the correct bus platform is. だいじょおぶ、だいじょおぶ …
2:00 pm JST
Arrived at Nishi Wonhanji, an extensive complex of temples and buildings to serve the Jodo Shinsu Pure Land sect of Buddhism. As you walk through the gates there is a collection box for earthquake victim relief. Entering through the Amidado gate you are immediately confronted with the great hall of the Amida Buddha. To the left is the larger Goeido hall where I spent a half hour in meditative prayer. Approaching each of these halls I couldn’t help but be struck by the age and massiveness of the wood beams and planking. This is the largest wooden structure in Kyoto and was built in the 13th century.
As in most Japanese spaces, to enter the hall you must remove your shoes. The halls are floored with REAL tatami mats.
There are also gardens, carefully manicured trees, what appears to be an heirloom botanical library, and a large fountain in the shape of a lotus.
4:00 pm JST
At 16:00 hours, one of the temple bells is rung. Sadly, I was unable to video tape this impressive event or record the lovely sound of that temple bell.[ First-Time Travelers Tip: I’m traveling light on this photo shoot, with only the video camera in tow because it doesn’t do well to lug all your photo gear into a UNESCO World Heritage site! ]
The sun is setting behind the Amida hall so it’s time to say goodbye and pick up the City Bus back to the hotel…