Heian Shrine

On our last day in Kyoto, Sebastian wanted to sit and do some work at a small temple where several poets are buried (Basho among others). It was plain that he needed some time to himself when he didn't need to worry about whether I was bored or not, and I was happy to let him go. After breakfast we went in search of bento boxes for our separate lunches (no luck - too early) and I followed the canal North to the Heian Shrine while he went onto Konpuku-ji Temple.

The Heian Shrine is boardered on all four sides by main thoroughfares in Kyoto. Between the temple and the city lies a bigger garden than any I've been to in Japan. Within the garden walls, it is easy to forget that you are in a modern city until you encroach on the outermost perimeters and can hear the traffic noise.

Whoever designs the Japanese gardens in the States have really done their homework. Generally, the composition (particularly the zen fore-middle-rear ground idea) is spot on as far as I can see. However, there is definitely something different about being in a garden that was designed in the 1940s and one that was designed in A.D. 881 (with koi that I'm sure have a pedigree akin to "The Daughters of the American Revolution")

Truthfully, this trip is a wonderful opportunity to spend some precious quality time with my brother, but there is something to be said for sitting and being with your thoughts for awhile. When you are constantly sharing with a companion, it can be difficult to actually reflect upon your experiences.