August Flower Arrangement

August Jiyu-ka ArrangementThis beautiful arrangement features a branch from a willow tree (shidare) and flowers from a mulberry bush (kuwa).

The vase adds to the very modern feel of the arrangement.


Mini 88 Temple Walk

88There are 88 small temples on one of the mountains behind Ninna-ji Temple.  These temples were built as an homage to the very famous 88 Temples on the island of Shikoku. While visiting all of the full-sized temples of Shikoku is the preferred option, the mini-pilgrimage was created for those who cannot make the journey.

The mini-pilgrimage route is built on a mountain, and so it is always open. However, there are only certain days when it is possible to collect evidence of your visit to each temple by completing a stamp book. These days are referred to as the 88-Temple Walk days, and they held once each month during  late spring into summer and fall. The Walk is sometimes canceled due to inclement weather, however, so there are often less chances to participate each year than planned. The walk is scheduled on Sundays.

The remaining 88-Temple Walk Days are as follows:

September 9th ・ October 14th ・ November 11th

To collect stamps, go to Kondo (the Main Hall of Ninna-ji) between 9-12 on the day of the walk, and purchase a stamp book for 300 yen. You will then be pointed in the direction of the hiking path. Collect stamps from each temple along the 3 km route to complete the walk.

I recommend the walk for visitors who have a lot of time to spend in Kyoto and enjoy hiking and the outdoors. No reservations are required, just come to Kondo the day of the walk and start hiking!

A look at the repairs at Chokushi Gate

Repairs to Chokushimon

This is the right side of the gate if you view it from outside of Goten. Things are certainly a bit messy!

Repairs to Chokushimon
On the side of the gate that faces into Goten you can see much more progress has been made. On the upper portion you can see the bare roof, the bark covering on the entire roof will be removed and then replaced. Notice that the wooden beam up at the top was actually covered with tiles. They have been temporarily removed.

And just in case you forgot what the gate looks like normally… The side you see visible in this photo is the same as the 2nd picture above.


I look forward to seeing the freshly redone gate later this fall!

From up high…

Repairs to Chokushimon

I was able to take a few pictures of the construction at Chokushi Gate today. I thought that the scaffolding is rather high in comparison to the gate’s height, but then I realized that it is the roof that is the main target of the repairs!

Being up in the scaffolding gave quite a different perspective on the Nio Gate and the pathway through the temple grounds.

In the foreground you can see the material that is being removed from the roof of the gate. Look forward to another post with pictures of the actual repairs in progress!

Chokushi Gate Undergoing Repairs

Chokushi Gate Under Repairs

This is all that can be seen of the Chokushi Gate for a while….

It will be undergoing repairs and maintenance until the end of November. It is unfortunate that guests visiting during this time period won’t be able to see the gate, but these repairs are necessary to ensure that the gate will be strong and beautiful for years to come.

There are still many beautiful sights at Ninna-ji to see the summer! It is still cool inside Goten and the garden is as beautiful as ever!

Hydrangea in Bloom

Blue Hydrangeas

The hydrangea, called ajisai in Japanese, are in bloom all around Kyoto this time of year! In many places the hydrangea have already begun to wither, but there is one bush here at Ninna-ji that seems to have just come into full bloom and full color. It is right behind the ticket booth near the Nio Gate, if you visit within the next few days be sure to take a peek!
Hydrangea beyond tied omikuji

Upcoming Event: “Laughter & the Heart of Health”

Onishi Chijo, a lead monk here at Ninna-ji, will be giving a lecture at Omuro Kaikan Hall on June 30th at 2:00pm. The event is free but is limited to the first 150 guests, seating beings 1 hour before the lecture starts.

The talk is entitled “Warai to Kenko no Kokoro” (“Laughter & the Heart of Health).

“With failure comes laughter, and with success comes profound emotion. Life is fun because there are things we cannot do.”

See the front and back of the flyer for more information. The lecture will be in Japanese.