JPN06: Tenryu-ji

We followed the crowd found ourselves to be facing a white and wooden facade building.

This building must be Tenryu-ji”, I told Satkuru. He just looked back at me, meekly.

Used to him not answering me, I went to him and dragged his arm to make him move faster. Suddenly he called for stop and walked to the side with his DSLR ready in his hand. Curious I followed him. Just right beside the souvenir shop, he found this rectangular space where wooden benches are placed conveniently in front of the vending machines and cigarettes ash post in the middle. Interesting indeed, we’ve never seen such arrangement back in Malaysia.

We went to the main building where the ticket counters are. Satkuru paid Y1,200 (Y600 each) for the entrance fees for both temples and garden. We were given entrance ticket and map of the temple. Then we were asked to remove our shoes and wear the slipper provided.

Even the place to keep the shoes is nicely designed – so much so that Satkuru couldn’t stop taking photos there. Haha!

Tenryu-ji temple was registered as a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994. It’s one of the important Zen temples in Kyoto, so there’s no way we’re going to miss this temple.

As we walked further in, we found ourselves at the corridor overlooking a beautiful garden. On our left is the main hall while on the left is the teaching hall. We decided to visit to the left first.

The open concept in this hall enable us to look inside the building without having to take off our slippers. There, we can see mural of a dragon drawn in gold paint painted on the inner wall of the hall.

We followed crowd, walked along the corridor where soft squeaking sound can be heard easily and entered the hall from the front. We had to take off our slipper when we entered and from that moment onwards, my toes had to endure the frostbitten feeling. Though I wore the winter socks, it was so cold that the wooden floor felt like ice.

Inside the hall, there is an offering table, a large bronze urn, wooden statues a large wooden tool that is used for chanting. Few large paintings can be found at the side of the hall.


What really interests me is seeing this sign in the temple compound. There must some Christian influence here, I guess. 

It’s so cold in there that I quickly took photos and went out. Satkuru was still taking photos of the surrounding, so I waited for him by sitting at the entrance and have a quick look at the map.

In front of the main hall lies the Chokushi Gate (chokushimon). I looked up from my map and looked straight at the gate. It is said to be the oldest structure on the temple grounds. No doubt it’s old, but still solid-looking.

From the main hall, we walked to the teaching hall, as seen on the right side in the photo below.

As we weren’t allowed to enter the teaching hall, I took a peek on the teaching hall, took one photo and then went around the hall. There the corridor led us to another building at the back.

The building is just another teaching hall, which we weren’t allowed to enter. Like the previous hall, I took a peek at the hall, took a photo and then left.

There, I spot something that fascinates me. The design on top of the roof is of a peach, which I rarely see. I told Satkuru to take photo of us with the peach, as peach signifies longevity. His 60D is fun to camho with as his screen can be pulled out to face us.

Since that building is the last one in the map, we walked all the way back to the entrance, put back our shoes and entered the garden from the side entrance.

We passed by the same garden we saw earlier, but this time we went near the pond and saw few Japanese koi fishes swimming around in the pond. The garden is indeed beautiful.

We followed the trail shown on the map until we reached a fork. We referred the map to see which route we were supposed to take, but from the map, the left route leads to another garden, while the right route leads to the exit and bamboo forest.

Both of us are lazy to venture more, so we took the right route. We reach another pond where a Kannon (Kuan Yin) statue stood. Seeing that people made wishes there before (judging from the coins in the pond), I took out 2 yen – passed one to Satkuru and one for myself, made a wish and threw it into the pond.

Funny thing is when Satkuru threw his, his coin floated! Seeing this, I threw mine and it sank. We were amazed with the coin Satkuru threw and couldn’t stop looking at the water to see if there’s any ice formation on the water surface.

But it seemed none. We felt weird (like supernatural type of weird) on why his coin didn’t sink.

We were squatting by the pond and looking at the coin when a couple was walking towards our direction. Seeing this, Satkuru quickly said, come bee! Let’s chow before they spotted the floating coin!

I agreed and we fled.

Few walks later, we reached the exit of another gate. We knew if we walked out of this vicinity, we have to pay again to enter. So I asked Satkuru if there’s anything more that he would like to see. His reply was, “Don’t ask me. I’m ok with anything. DO you want to see anything here?”

I felt like smacking him in the head when he said that. But his sheepish grin made me laughed so I just dragged him out of the side gate.