Kyoto buddhist temples : the lesser known paths

Kyoto is very well known for its traditional side and its countless shrines and temples. Among the last are amazingly beautiful structures registered as UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Far less known are the many small temples scattered around town, some of them so tiny one have to really look to find them in between the modern buildings and the effervescence of the shopping streets.

I have a thing for those small temples.

Their very existence breaks the rhythm of the otherwise modern side of Kyoto. Like a reminder of things past. Still so much alive.

And although they are often overlooked by visitors, it is easy to see they still hold an important place within the local community.

One of those small temples is the Chugenji (仲源寺), still standing in Gion district.

It is literally stuck in between souvenirs shops and restaurants, but once you enter the small compound, you find yourself in a whole other world.

Just a few steps are needed to see everything in there, and yet the atmosphere is amazing.

The short time I spent there, I saw half a dozen persons of various age come in and engage in quiet prayer.

Not the quick and formal prayer often seen in bigger shrines or temples. But a more dignified, deeply involved kind of contemplation.

This was a very moving experience for me. So much that I didn’t have the heart to take the pictures I came for and disturb the atmosphere of the place, until there was no one left praying.

This was such a nice place to be for a while, just to let this peaceful atmosphere sink in.

I’ll definitely go back !

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2 Responses to “Kyoto buddhist temples : the lesser known paths”


  1. 1 amber leilani October 23, 2008 at 3:39 pm

    this was such a lovely post and the pictures are, as always, just stunning.
    i had already stumbled upon them on your flickr sight and marked several as favorites.
    i can’t even imagine how wonderful it is to live in a city with such rich culture and history. it must be amazing!

  2. 2 mycraftyways October 24, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Thank you Amber !

    Kyoto is an amazing place. It is not a huge city but the obvious presence of an incredible cultural heritage makes for a really peculiar atmosphere. I feel people (locals, born and raised here, I mean) here have a strong connection to the place and a deep involvement in the cultural life of the city.

    And well, it’s a beautiful place !


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