Wabi-Sabi Sole

Finding Beauty with Imperfection

Category: Zen

Zushi Sakura

This morning I decided to take a different route on my run. The route I took was one Dave and I ran a lot last year when we were training for Tokyo Marathon. It made for a little longer and little hillier run than our normal run to Zushi Beach. I knew the Sakura lined streets would be worth the extra efforts. I didn’t have to go too far to start seeing Sakura trees. They are literally everywhere.

This temple and bridge are on our normal route. I wish you could smell the incense from the temple. Add the sunrise and I found my Zen.

Shortly after I took these pictures, I turned left away from the beach and ran uphill towards Hayama. I went about another mile before turning up an even bigger hill. The view from the top was obstructed by Sakura. Not a bad reason for no view!

I decided to walk down the hill. The sidewalks were brick and very uneven from the Sakura roots. I didn’t want to trip. Plus, I wanted to savor this view.

I took a quick stop at the park to take a few close up pictures of the Sakura and a sunrise Sakura selfie.

I continued down the hill and was completely amazed with the beautiful trees. This street is less than 1.5 miles from the main gate where we live and there was no one around other than cars passing on their way to work. It was such a contrast to my day yesterday. I was happy I decided change my route so I could appreciate their beauty in the early morning.

I continued past the park near our house and took a few close up pictures.

Finally, I made it back home. I crossed the set of railroad tracks near our house and chuckled. Right by our housing complex is a river with Sakura planted along it. It’s like Meguro River, only much smaller and not crowded!

After four days of Sakura chasing, I can completely understand the obsession. I feel like I have a little Sakura crush of my own.

Kyoto Kickoff

Monday morning we caught the Shinkansen out of Shinagawa Station. Our destination was Kyoto. The trip took about 2.5 hours.

Yet again, I was giddy with excitement as we waited to board.


Most of the marquees in the trains stations and on the trains flip between Japanese and English. This is especially helpful when you don’t speak (or read) the language and you need to make sure you are about to get on the right train. No one is checking your ticket as you board the train. Therefore, the important task of getting on the right train is the responsibility of the passenger. It’s also important because the tickets issued are for a specific train. This is different than taking the local trains. Those you can ride whenever and if you get on the wrong one it’s easy to switch at the next stop in 2-3 minutes. The Shinkansen less forgiving. If you get on the wrong one you may not stop for 25-30 minutes. That’s a long way in the wrong direction with the wrong ticket. Our train was at 10:40. The 509. Anyways, we made it no problem and with much excitement. Plus, we had a view of Mt. Fuji sling the way!

Upon arriving in Kyoto, we took our luggage to our hotel. It was still too early to check in, but we had temples to chase. First on our list was the Kinkaku – The Golden Pavilion. The clear skies and afternoon sun created perfect lighting for our visit. Gold foil covers the upper two levels of the Pavilion. On top of the structure is a shining gold phoenix.

The Gardens were beautiful. We were able to catch a few views of the temple from different angles. The benefit of it not being spring and having full foliage.

Lots of prayer cards!

After leaving the Golden Temple, we hailed a cab to the Ginkaku-ji Temple or the Silver Temple.

When Dave and I planned our trip in August, Manami suggested we visit the Silver Temple. We didn’t make it because it is more remote and off the beaten path. When I mentioned to Manami, Cindy and I were visiting Kyoto, she said, “Julia, please be sure to visit the Silver temple this trip.” Ok! I am so glad I listened. The Silver Temple and the gardens are incredibly serene. It definitely moved into my top five favorite Temples. I would love to live close to the temple and visit frequently. The moss covered ground and curving pathways are perfect for a walking meditation. So much zen.

Near the main structure was a sand garden and large sand structure. The large sand structure symbolizes Mt. Fuji. Just to be clear, the large structure that looks like a stone, is actually sand!

The sand garden was really cool.

By the time we were leaving the Silver Temple, we didn’t have enough time to make it to another one that afternoon. So, we had a cream puff and shopped.

We made our way back to the hotel and checked in. I’m happy to share, our room is directly across from the Kyoto Station. We can watch and hear the trains. My favorite of course are seeing the numerous Shinkansen trains! That entire building is Kyoto Station.

We set out for dinner. We went to Kyoto Station to explore the dining options. Kyoto Station is ginormous. Lots of food and shopping. After dinner, we visited the Kyoto Tower. The night view was lovely.

Kyoto Tower was built in 1964. The tower is 430 feet tall. It is built on top of a building. The 800 tons of weight doesn’t affect the building that serves as its foundation because of the ingenious design. It has the design and appearance of a lighthouse. Kyoto Tower was built in the city center as a beacon for industry, culture, and tourism.

As we walked back to our hotel, we could see the reflection of Kyoto Tower in the glass of Kyoto Station.

We had a great start to our first afternoon in Kyoto. Tuesday we will work our way south to visit another famous Shrine and the city of Nara. Cindy’s Japan adventures continue!

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