京の冬の旅 Winter Travels in Kyoto

Winter Travels

 

Ninna-ji will be participating in “Kyo no Fuyu no Tabi” (Winter Travels in Kyoto) this year!

From January 10th to March 18th you can enjoy a special a chance to see the inside of Main Hall (Kondo) and the Five-Storied Pagoda! You can see the insides of both of these buildings for 600 yen! This is a very special opportunity, these buildings are usually closed to visitors!

On  the following dates the Main Hall will not be open to visitors, in exchange you can see the Five Storied Pagoda for a lower price (300 yen):

1/23, 2/2・3・14・15、3/3・4

You can see what other temples are participating and what buildings will be open especially for this season on the official Kyo no Fuyu no Tabi homepage! (Japanese only)

Renovations to Chokushi Gate are complete!

 

The brand new roof of the Chokushi Gate has been completed!

The scaffolding has been put away and the gate is visible again with its new and improved roof.

chokushi1

 

Beautiful isn’t it? The color will change over time, but for now the roof looks very new!

Here’s a close-up so you can appreciate the craftsmanship that went into this renovation!

chokushi2

 

Ninnaji Temple is open to visitors from 9am to 4:30pm during the winter!

Bundle up and come see the refreshed Chokushi Gate!

Not all visitors are on their best behavior…

Not all visitors are on their best behavior...

When you visit Japan you might find yourself struggling to find places to throw away your trash. Often there will be recycle bins near vending machines and trash and recycling bins at convenience stores, but it can be still be difficult to find a trash can when you need one.

At Ninna-ji as well as many other temples and sites in Kyoto, we ask that you take your trash with you. During the peak of the cherry blossoms here at Ninna-ji a few visitors not only didn’t clean up after themselves, but also went through the trouble of making a mess in a place out of sight. The crows got to the trash before the staff did, so it became an even bigger mess. It is very sad to see things like this.

During peak times, places such as temples and parks cannot handle disposing all their visitors’ trash. While it can be a hassle, please be sure to take your trash with you when you leave. It can be good to have an extra plastic bag or two folded up in your pocket or bag just in case.

The Cherry Blossom Festival here at Ninna-ji has come to an end and we would like to thank all the visitors that left the temple as beautiful as they found it. It is with everyone’s help that so many sites in Japan are clean and beautiful.

 

The Cherry Blossom Festival Begins!

Every year the Cherry Blossom Festival at Ninna-ji is scheduled to coincide with the bloom of the Omuro cherry trees. This year’s Festival starts tomorrow, April 14th! The Omuro cherries should be coming into full bloom in the next few days, but weather is always an important factor in the speed and longevity of the blossoms.

Festive Atmosphere near the east entrance

There were already some stalls out near the east gate last week! They offer a variety of souvenirs and tasty snacks.

Preparing for the Cherry Blossom Fesitval

Preparations were carried on earlier this week, even in the rain! There was no time to waste!

Starting tomorrow visitors coming to see the cherry blossoms will buy their tickets at the little booths to the left and proceed along the path through the Middle Gate. I hope many visitors will be able to come see the Omuro cherry trees in bloom this year!

Cherry Blossom Update

The Omuro cherry trees are not the only cherry trees here at the temple. This makes it a little more complicated to answer the many, many phone calls made to the temple every spring about if the cherry trees have bloomed yet. Everyone wants to see the cherry blossoms at their most beautiful, but which cherries?? Just to make things clear we are sure to describe the state of each type.
Near Kannondo  A Willow Cherry near the bell tower

Some of the other cherries trees are already in or near full bloom!

April 9th 2012, Getting closer to full bloom

But the late-blooming Omuro cherries are true to their name and the buds are just now beginning to open. We project that they will be blooming nicely by next week! Let’s hope for warm sunny weather so everyone can enjoy the blossoms as long as possible!

Reiho-kan Open for Spring!

Reiho-kan Open for Spring!Reiho-kan, the temple museum, opened April 1st for the spring session. It will be open until May 27th. Although it is all written in Japanese, you can see a document listing the items on display here! While some of the most famous pieces are on display every time, other items are changed every session! Tickets for Reiho-kan cost ¥500.

 

Meals at Omuro Kaikan Hall

Occasionally guests who stay at Omuro Kaikan Hall are surprised to discover that the meals are not shōjin ryōri, Buddhist vegetarian cuisine. Although by staying at Omuro Kaikan Hall guests are staying on the temple grounds, because at Ninna-ji the goal is to offer guests the same comforts and atmosphere as that of a Japanese-style inn we offer traditional Japanese food instead of Buddhist cuisine.

If you stay at Omuro Kaikan Hall, or even if you just decide to eat at the restaurant for lunch during the day, you will be treated to delicious Kyoto cuisine, which includes fish and meat.

Here are some photographs of the types of meals served at Omuro Kaikan Hall, you can see a some other examples here and here.

Breakfast featuring boiled tofu        Dinner at Omuro Kaikan Hall

Above: Breakfast (left) featuring boiled tofu and grilled salmon and dinner (right) that includes sashimi as well as famous Kyoto foods such as pickles and yuba (a tofu product).

Below: Another example of dinner, the exact items served vary depending on the time of year. No matter when you visit you can enjoy fresh ingredients and appreciate the Japanese sensitivity to the seasons at Omuro Kaikan Hall.

Dinner at Omuro Kaikan Hall

The restaurant in Omuro Kaikan Hall serves lunch from 11am to 1pm, so even guests who are not staying the night can enjoy traditional Kyoto cuisine during their visit to Ninna-ji!

For more information about staying overnight at the temple, please see this page.