A Visit to Western Kyoto’s Konzou Temple
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Mezzanine Level from Above Konzou Temple in the mountains of western Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/125 sec, f/14, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mezzanine Level from Above
Konzou Temple
in the mountains of western Kyoto, Japan

Fueled by an unheard-of 14 hours of sleep last night (I went to bed at 7pm! Got up at 9am!! First time anything like this in.... hmmm, how old is Anthony?), I escaped the crush of tourists enjoying the cherry blossoms in my area and took Anthony on a trip across Kyoto and into the mountains to visit the Konzou Temple (金蔵寺), a temple I first visited somewhat by chance during my bamboo-filled Western-Kyoto Mountain Drive that I posted about two months ago.

I didn't mention the temple by name in that post because I thought I'd follow up with a post all about it with some of the many pictures I got that day, but, like most of what I want to post about, I never got around to it.

Anyway, I'd been wanting to visit while there were cherry blossoms, so I took the opportunity to do so today. Anthony doesn't care about temples and mountains and pretty things, but I needed to clear him out of the house for a while to give Fumie a chance to work on preparations for his upcoming year in first grade.

Entrance Gate Anthony deposits the requested 200 yen (about US$2) -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 1250 — map & image datanearby photos
Entrance Gate
Anthony deposits the requested 200 yen (about US$2)

This temple is built on the side of a mountain, and so there are steps.... lots of steps. You can see some in the background of the picture above, and in the picture below as we start to climb them...

Waiting for Daddy -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/640 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Waiting for Daddy
Nearing the Top the top of this set of steps, that is; there are many more in our future -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/320 sec, f/10, ISO 640 — map & image datanearby photos
Nearing the Top
the top of this set of steps, that is; there are many more in our future
Tranquil -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48 mm — 1/320 sec, f/9, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Tranquil

There was almost no one there, so we essentially had the whole place to ourself. (When I first visited two months ago, I didn't see another soul the whole time, so in comparison, today's few people was a crowd.)

Small Water Feature -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 40 mm — 1/320 sec, f/8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Small Water Feature
Curiosity -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 70 mm — 1/800 sec, f/4.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Curiosity

I think that path leads to the a bathroom, and what used to be the caretaker's residence. If anyone lives there now, it's not apparent. But the place is generally very well cared for, so perhaps they're just good at being invisible.

More Curiosity -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 34 mm — 1/320 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
More Curiosity

The litter/palanquin above was apparently used by some kid who would grow up to be a famous shogun – Tsunayoshi Tokugawa – and/or his mom, or something, while he lived here at the temple during his childhood. (The temple dates to 1639, according to a web page I found, and the kid was born in 1646, according to the Wikipedia link.)

The wooden plaque in the lower left of the photo above explains it, but I couldn't understand much of it. There were no signs prohibiting entrance to the display area (normally, there would be in a case like this, if entrance was prohibited), so I let Anthony go in after taking his shoes off, and bade him not to touch anything.

Simple Sensibilities -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 42 mm — 1/125 sec, f/5.6, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Simple Sensibilities
Mountain Stairs and Sakura -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 60 mm — 1/800 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Mountain Stairs and Sakura
Pink-n-Green -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/640 sec, f/5.6, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Pink-n-Green
What's in There? -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24 mm — 1/125 sec, f/7.1, ISO 900 — map & image datanearby photos
What's in There?

This was the largest building on the site, up a flight of steps from the level with the cherry blossoms and old shogun's litter (which I called the “mezzanine level” in the caption to the first photo). That level also had a few large buildings, so it's hard to guess which is the “main” building, especially since I don't really know what “main building” means in the context of a Buddhist temple.

I do know that the big black pot to Anthony's right is for incense. You can see Fumie lighting some with Anthony at a similar (but larger) urn in this 2007 photo from the Nanzen Temple near our place.

Lion Guardian -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 40 mm — 1/800 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Lion Guardian

I liked the stark shadows the midday sun made on this stone lion, and exaggerated them in post processing. It sort of falls flat, I think, but my thinking something falls flat has shown itself to be a good indication that others will like it (and vice-versa), so I'm including it in today's post.

The lion was part of a pair guarding the entrance to a small but elaborate cemetery temple for some famous (yet dead) guy. I think I recall from my previous visit that it's for an emperor, but it may well be the aforementioned shogun. I'll have to check my earlier photos for a name. Here's a bit of a wider view, this time with shadows artificially reduced in post processing...

Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 32 mm — 1/800 sec, f/3.5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos

Now that I look at the big characters in the lower-right of the photo above, I have to wonder whether it's not a reference to the grave of the shogun, who was noted as the “dog shogun” due to his laws protecting animals. The character at left means “grave”, but I don't know one at right, although one component of it is the character for “dog”. (Anyone who knows what it means is probably laughing hysterically at my silly guessing.)

Speaking of silly guessing and Japanese, I made such a silly mistake last week that I actually made a waitress laugh at me. Normally, they would never break out of their customer-service never-do-anything-to-make-the-customer-feel-bad mode, but this was just too silly. I was at a family restaurant with two very similar pictures on the menu, one marked with 「ロースステーキ」 (loinsteak) and the other 「一口ステーキ」. In my silliness, I misread 「一口」 as 「ーロ」 and wondered whether it was a typo, or something, because 「ーロ」 would make absolutely no sense whatsoever in that situation.

Silly me! It wasn't 「ーロ」, but rather 「一口」, which was really quite obvious from the context, and I felt wholly stupid. 「一口ステーキ」 is, of course, cubed steak. I'm still blushing.

Anyway, back to our visit to the Konzou Temple. Being on a mountain, it sometimes offers amazing views...

Checking Out the View -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 62 mm — 1/125 sec, f/18, ISO 220 — map & image datanearby photos
Checking Out the View

I posted a similar photo, sans Anthony, in my previous post, although today was only marginally less hazy than then. (It was much warmer today, though. Rather than freezing my fingers off during the hour-long ride there, today was short-sleeve weather.)

Heading back down, the “mezzanine level” again called out to be photographed, as a lone lady with red backpack enjoyed the quiet vista from the shade...

Someone Enjoying “Me” Time that's about to be interrupted by a genki 6-year-old -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 44 mm — 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Someone Enjoying “Me” Time
that's about to be interrupted by a genki 6-year-old
Anthony Enjoying Some “Juice Time” with a Gatorade-like sports drink, something he never gets at home -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 34 mm — 1/500 sec, f/2.8, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Anthony Enjoying Some “Juice Time”
with a Gatorade-like sports drink, something he never gets at home
Anthony's Creative Efforts his camera tilt was very specifically done for (some unknown) effect.... photo by Anthony Friedl -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Anthony Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 28 mm — 1/1000 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Anthony's Creative Efforts
his camera tilt was very specifically done for (some unknown) effect....
photo by Anthony Friedl
Deer Carved in Stone photo by Anthony Friedl -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Anthony Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 28 mm — 1/320 sec, f/5, ISO 200 — map & image datanearby photos
Deer Carved in Stone
photo by Anthony Friedl
Baseball Practice in the Parking Lot -- Konzou Temple -- Kyoto, Japan -- Copyright 2009 Jeffrey Friedl, http://regex.info/blog/
Nikon D700 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 48 mm — 1/125 sec, f/8, ISO 250 — map & image datanearby photos
Baseball Practice in the Parking Lot

My bribe to get Anthony to go with me was that we'd play catch at the temple. We played a bit when we first arrived at the otherwise-empty parking lot, then headed on up in search of another place to play. (In some of the photos, you can see him with an orange bag; that's his mitt and ball.)

We never did find a better place, so returned to play some more in the still-empty parking lot. I got him the glove and ball for Christmas, but we haven't had much chance to use them until the recent warmer weather. (We tried a bit, for example, during our recent trip to Awaji Island).

Today's second session in the temple parking lot witnessed the first time he actually caught the ball with the glove. After catching it once, he really started to get the hang of it, and ended up catching it almost a dozen times in the short time we played.

All in all a good day, and we hadn't even had lunch yet.


All 6 comments so far, oldest first...

Thank you for this delightful tour. I’m sure Anthony enjoyed himself as I did, vicariously.

— comment by Karen from Florida on April 12th, 2009 at 4:53am JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

I looked 「奉献」online and it says: offering, dedication.
The kanji is pronounced 「ほうけん」. The [hou] means to offer or volunteer as in 「奉仕する」, to server. The [ken] means to present or offer as in 「献血」、to give blood.

If you look at the photo of the dear carved in stone, you can see the kanji 「献」on the side.

I’m envious. The only big shrine I’ve ever been to is in Fukuoka, Dazaifu Tenmangu Shrine.

Great photos. I can’t wait to see your next ones!

Wow, I feel silly… not as silly as with the waitress, but silly nevertheless. Not sure why I thought that was grave (墓)… I guess they’re both sort of layered the same in my non-linguistically-leaning mind. I wonder whether this “donation/offering” is associated with temples, while the 奉納 that means the same thing that’s so common at the Fushimi Inari Shrine is for shrines?

I don’t recall seeing any shrines while on Amami, but I did see one on Kakeromajima. In Kyoto, temples and shrines are more common than habu are on Amami 🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by Earnest Barr from Amami on April 12th, 2009 at 6:23pm JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

They have a couple of shrines here in Amami, albeit, they’re not very big. I should get out sometime and photograph them. They have one here in the city that’s probably the biggest on the island but it doesn’t compare to the big ones in your photos.

— comment by Earnest Barr from Amami on April 12th, 2009 at 7:03pm JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Don’t feel bad about the mix-up- it could be worse. I was reminded of a story I heard from my wife, of a western woman, who thought the black and white funerary envelopes looked attractive and used one to post a letter to a Japanese freind!

What, they’re not okay for normal letters???     🙂 —Jeffrey

— comment by Bob on April 12th, 2009 at 9:00pm JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

such beautiful pictures.. how i wish to fly to japan for a lovely visit to such temples!!

— comment by Leon Koh on April 12th, 2009 at 9:28pm JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink

Beautiful pictures. It seems like a world away ..so quiet and peaceful. I had a laugh when you wrote Anthony doesn’t like Temples and shrines. Pretty typical of 6 yr old boys!

— comment by Sonal, MN on April 13th, 2009 at 11:46pm JST (8 years, 8 months ago) comment permalink
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