Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Re-Visit I (temple ten)

With my parents recently in town, we had lots of adventures all over Osaka/Nara/south Kyoto area. One of the things we were able to do is visit a couple of the temples on the pilgrimage route, both of them re-visits for me.

One was in Uji, which is a bit south of Kyoto City. Uji is apparently famous for its role in the Tale of Genji, which I scandalously enough have never read (yes despite my interest in old things, Japanese things, and reading things... maybe the overlap of all three is just too much for me). But it's also home to Mimuroto-ji, temple number ten.

Parents by the gate
I first visited Mimuroto-ji (or Mimurodo-ji, I saw it written both ways) last June 12th. It was actually my first weekend out after Shannon died, part of a big excursion that included Kobe, Kyoto, and Tokyo at the week's beginning, a fairly exhausting itinerary, but one that I had planned pretty far in advance. I did not plan in advance to go to Mimuroto-ji, that was Nami and Hiroshi's call. Even when we went I chose not to get my pilgrim book stamped because I still thought, back then, that I would do all the temples in order.

In my attempt to take a semi-candid group shot I insisted, "Hiroshi-san, put the camera DOWN."
 Of my three-city journey, my favorite day was Kyoto with Dre, Nami, and Hiroshi, because between the rain and warmth (of both air and company), I felt very safe, and like it was okay either to be sad or not, so I was and was not. They took us to Mimuroto-ji because it has a famous hydrangea garden, which we enjoyed quite a bit. The recent re-visit was less than spectacular because the grounds are mostly home to the impressive garden, and we had come at a time when it was off-season for almost every feature of their repertoire.

It's still nice at this time of day in the end of winter... but it's not yet spring. it looks a little dead-ish.
Since the cherries were late this year, and the azaleas, hydrangeas, lotus, and autumn foliage are still some time off, there was not much to see but the pines, a few plum trees, and the (modest, compared to the hydrangeas) rock garden. The re-visit was fairly quick, though I did make sure to stop and replace the umbrella I'd bought at the first visit, later stolen from outside our karaoke bar.

Even though they weren't blooming then, the lotus were at least leafy.

In April, I did the incense for family.

In June, I lit one for hers.

For me, Mimuroto-ji is a place of these memories.

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