Kyoto’s Aqueducts and Nanzenji Temple

Have you ever heard the story of the Eiffel Tower in Paris?

When it was built, the residents were against it.  Now it’s iconic to Paris.

In 1890, the aqueducts were built to move water from Lake Biwa into the thirsty and growing city of Kyoto.  When the designs were released, many Kyoto residents protested and called their “Romanesque” look too “western” and not suitable for the ancient Japanese capitol.

To this day, they feed the city, water moving over them at a rate of 2 tons per minute.  They’ve also become a tourist attraction in a city filled with them.

It was fun taking our pictures under the arches.

Dark interiors are common in zen Buddhist temple and created by long, gently sloping eaves.

I personally love the feel of the wooden floors underfoot. You just glide over it.

This is an example of a kare-sansui or “dry garden”. In Zen Buddhism you spend years training to obtain an “Mushin” mind or “empty mind”. A state where the mind is clear of judgements and emotions, one that learns to focus on the present.

Some say the dry garden represent the universe stripped down to its most basic elements.  I’ve also heard that creating the gardens helps the monks clear their minds.  What do you seen in the dry gardens?

In contrast to Shingon Buddhism, Zen Buddhist temples are symmetrical and do not build themselves to blend into nature. Instead they conform nature to their structures.

The cedar used in most temples is very difficult to get in Japan these days because it takes the trees a long time to grow.

Nanzen-ji Temple is pretty spectacular.  Sometimes in Japan a lot of temples can start to look alike.  However, these are pretty unique.

If you would like to see and hear more about this day please check out my video:

Kyoto’s Aqueducts Video

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