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Saturday, June 20, 2015

Tranquility and solitude in the moss garden

Gio-ji Temple, a Shingon Buddhism nunnery, is nestled in deep Sagano, Kyoto. It is a modest thatched hut with a moss garden surrounded by bamboo forests.  The moment you enter the temple, breathtaking moss garden unfolds before your eyes.  Shades of green mosses, ferns, and tall maple trees create Green Paradise.

Tranquility is green here.


The garden was dim after the overnight rainfall which stopped around the noon.
I felt like I was at the bottom of the sea where little light and sound  reach.


People were sparse.
there was silence around me which I broke with my shutter release.


Strolling around or standing still,
breathing in the moist cool breeze,
listening to the sound of tsukubai water,
mind and soul relax.




This patch of moss does not look exactly the same as the next patch.
There are many different species of mosses in the garden. 






Moss thrives in a humid environment,
can survive periods of drought. too.
It will turn brown but  will return to its rich green after watering.


Seasonal flowers bloom not to disturb the green-scape
 but to add a little of color modestly.





"In Heike-monogatari (the Tale of the Heike), there is a story that is related to this temple. A Shirabyoshi dancer Gio was loved by Taira-no-Kiyomori but was jilted when he was enslaved by the beauty of another Shirabyoshi, Hotoke-Gozen. Gio, her sister Ginyo and their mother Toji left Kiyomori and after all they entered a nunnery that was present day Gio-ji. Then, Hotoke-Gozen joined them as she knew that she would be eventually jilted also by heartless Kiyomori. It was when Gio was 21 years old and Hotoke-Gozen was 17. The four women lived here remainder of their life."

At the small thatched hall, wooden statues of Gio, her family, Hotoke-gozen, Taira-no-Kiyomori as well as the principal Buddhist image are enshrined. (Photography is not permitted in the hall.).

Steps to the thatched hut
A round window, Yoshimo-mado(window),  in the next room to the worship hall

"Gio-ji was built in the precinct of Ojo-in temple that was founded by Ryochin who was a disciple of priest Honen, the founder of Jodo-shu sect of Buddhism. The huge temple was dilapidated before long and the present day Gio-ji survived as a tiny nunnery.

In the year 1868, the temple was abandoned and Daikaku-ji took custody of graves and wooden statues of Gio-ji. The head priest of Daikaku-ji lamented over the situation and planned reconstruction of the temple. In the year 1895, Kitagaki Kunimichi, an ex-governor of Kyoto Prefecture, donated one of buildings of his villa that is the present day hall of Gio-ji. Gio-ji is now a sub-temple of Daikaku-ji and belongs to Shingon Buddhism." (Source:here)

The path down from the exit
Going back to the earthly world step by step with peace and serenity...

36 comments:

  1. The garden is beautiful, very serene. What a nice place to visit.

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  2. 雨上がりの祇王寺苔庭、静けさの中でいっそう美しいです。たっぷり水を含んだ苔はさぞふわふわ~~だったことでしょう。吉野窓から見える景色も季節ごとに移り変わるのでしょうね。良く手入れをされたお庭だと思います。私も先日京都のお寺にぶらっと行ってきました。

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  3. Beautiful green place overgrown with moss. Small house too would be happy visited. Regards.

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  4.  こんばんは。 祇王寺の初夏はこんなに美しいとは、知りませんでした。 私は、秋に行きましたので、紅葉だけを楽しんで来ました。
     苔寺では手紙で予約して、入館料を5000円位払った記憶がありますが、勿体ないことをしました。 平家物語は私の大好きな古典文学です。 祇王が、仏御前のために清盛から追い出される場面もよく記憶しています。 その時に業平の和歌、 「つひにゆく道とはかねて聞きしかど昨日けふとは思はざりしを」を心の中で思っていたのでしょうか。 それを思わせるところが有ったのをおぼろげに覚えています。
     今度はこの時期に祇王寺と天龍寺、嵯峨野竹林を歩いてみます。

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  5. A fairy garden....never see such beauty...
    Thanks for sharing.
    Have a lovely weekend !
    Anna

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  6. wow! that moss garden is like nothing i've ever seen! so incredibly beautiful!

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  7. シ Olá, amiga!
    Fotografias super lindas!!!
    Um pedaço do paraíso!

    Bom fim de semana, com tudo de bom!
    Beijinhos.
    ⋰˚هჱ
    ♬✿゚。ه

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  8. Gorgeous garden,indeed.
    And peace...we ll need it.


    thank you for your visit.
    xo
    BS

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  9. Gorgeous garden,indeed.
    And peace...we ll need it.


    thank you for your visit.
    xo
    BS

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  10. Wow, the first photos look almost unreal, like a magic garden, the fairies must come out now, and the gnomes, and the frog princes... I wonder if I would be there and sit still - shhhh shhhh - would I get a peek of them? :-)

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  11. Wow this place looks so beautiful! It would be amazing to see it in person, I love nature. Thank you for sharing!

    { sparklesideup.com }

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  12. Dear Yoko, I have had a very hard day - a day when sadness weighed heavily on my heart. Seeing your tranquil photos and reading of the moss garden has been healing. As I walked and looked and listened with you, I felt my tension fading. I love the photos of the steps which always seem to suggest a possibility rebirth to me.

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  13. Gorgeous garden !! And your pictures are great !!
    Greetings

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  14. This are awsome Pictures. I get relext just by looking at the pictures.

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  15. Vilken vacker och unik miljö. Så fridfullt att få vandra där och bara känna stillheten. Jag njuter så av dina vackra och annorlunda bilder av miljön i dina bilder.Såna platser är bra att vandra i när man är stressad och allt är ett kaos runt omkring en. Här river och kör vi skräp varje dag. Hoppas vi kan köra sista lasset i morgonbitti. Om regnet till åter ska det städas upp och vara redo för att börja bygga nytt i morgon.Skönt att få slipa allt byggdamm och mögel lukt.
    Önskar dig en fin och skön sommar
    Kram Meta

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  16. How wonderful !!! Precise nature. I love her like.
    A hug from Bejar Salamanca.

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  17. What a lovely post! Your photos are gorgeous! :)

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  18. This place is amazing! Abolsutely gorgeous photos!

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  19. 先日、当寺の苔をお手入れされている庭師さんのドキュメンタリーを見ました。
    ものすごく手間隙をかけて維持されているようでした。 

    大自然の中でそれを活かしつつ、人間の心を揺さぶる「景色」を創るというのは、最高の芸術作品だと思います。

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  20. 日本の歴史は記憶が薄くなっていたので、大変興味深く読みました。平清盛は冷たい人だったのですか?ええーっ! 彼を描いた大河ドラマが数年前にあったような?(私は見ていません)。 素晴らしいとしか言いようのない写真の数々、2番目の写真かなり気に入ってます。本当に 静寂を感じます。 苔の上を歩いたりは出来るんですか? ふかふかの絨毯のようですね。 

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    1. 雨上がりなので、苔はジュワ~、フワフワの状態でしょうね。苔の保護のため苔を踏んだり歩いたりはできません。祇王寺は苔庭を一周して眺めるようになっています。止まらずに歩くと5分くらい、さほど広くはないのですが、広さを感じました。うす暗い中、目で見た通りの素敵な苔の色が出せなくて、ゆっくりゆっくり2週まわりました。日本へ帰国の折は嵯峨野めぐりをぜひ予定に入れてください。あれだけの楓の木々、秋の紅葉も素晴らしいでしょう。

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  21. Wow - such magical and dream-like shots of the moss garden, which is an absolute delight!

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  22. Magníficas imágenes de paisajes con bellos colores que transmiten suaves sensaciones.

    Enhorabuena y un afectuoso saludo desde Gran Canaria - Islas Canarias (España).

    Andrés.

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  23. What a beautiful post that I somehow missed and am late to arrive at. When I was a child, I played in mossy forests in BC. Moss covered the ground like an emerald carpet and softened my footsteps making the world a quieter place. Nowadays although the grassy lawns turn brown on rainless days, the moss remains bright green with very little need for water or mowing. :)

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  24. ✿゚。ه

    Ótimo domingo! Boa semana!
    Beijinhos.
    ❤❤ه° ·.

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  25. Looks completely surreal! Magic, fairy land! How do you find such places? They are not abundant in Japan, are they? I am deeply impressed!
    Have a nice week, Yoko!

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    Replies
    1. Japan’s climate is suitable for moss to thrives; Japan is the heaven for moss diversity. Moss is one of the important elements of Japanese garden, but the place where the entirely ground is covered over with moss and is known as “moss garden” would be a few as far as I know. If you’re not familiar with moss, these scenes would look surreal, but these are real. Gioji Temple is on the guidebook about Kyoto. It is located at the end of Sagano, a famous tourist destination.

      Yoko

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  26. I looked your photos and I think is this real world or are painted pictures or something else. So is four first photos real? Awesome!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for your visit. They are the real scenes of the moss garden after rainfall in June.

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  27. oh my goodness, exquisite indeed!
    how i would enjoy visiting there!

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  28. What a marvelous place! It is surreal, magical, something out of a fairy tale. I would love to visit. And, your photos, as usual, are exquisite!

    Thank you for all of your comments! It's so nice to hear from you. Did I tell you my book of poetry has been published and is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other bookstores. It's called "Perched on the Edge" and contains most poems, but also the lyrics to some 27 of my songs.

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  29. What a beautiful place! Though I could find in it certain similarities, it turns out to be, as a whole, very different from our sacred spaces. It’s very spectacular but, oddly enough, in this place nothing subdues and everything contributes to the balance. It has been fantastic to obtain information about it and to cross it with you, though only using the computer and thanks to your beautiful photographies. Thanks for sharing.

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