Rediscovering the Chion’in Temple, Part 2

Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 170mm — 1/250 sec, f/5.6, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Heading Down
one of the many stairways at the Chion'in Temple (知恩院)
Kyoto, Japan

Picking up from yesterday's Rediscovering Kyoto’s Chion’in Temple via a Short Mountain Hike, where I had descended on a mountain trail into a back area of the Chion'in Temple that I hadn't known existed. Yesterday's post ended with me getting to the main area I'd always known about...


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 65mm — 1/250 sec, f/4.8, ISO 2200 — map & image datanearby photos
Quaint Little Bridge

I'd seen this area briefly last year, at the end of the roof-repair visit, when it was lit up for an evening lightup event. Here's a photo from Nov 2, 2013:

a picturesque bridge at the Chion'in Temple in Kyoto Japan (知恩院)
Nikon D4 + Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8 @ 24mm — 1/50 sec, f/6.3, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Evening Lightup
last year
去年の秋
Desktop-Background Versions
1280×800  ·  1680×1050  ·  1920×1200  ·  2560×1600  ·  2880×1800

(A similar shot appeared late last year as decoration on a post about Garmin's horrible products.)

At that time the area was closed off so I couldn't investigate further, but yesterday I was free to stroll around. The view from on top of the bridge, looking lengthwise down it, shows one of the bazillion little outlying structures that are common at temples...


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Minor Outlying Structure

Looking the other way, you currently see only the big shell structure protecting the main building while it undergoes a decade of restoration.


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 125 — map & image datanearby photos

What I didn't realize before is that there's a whole other area tucked behind the main temple building, up a long flight of step:


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 65mm — 1/250 sec, f/4.8, ISO 5000 — map & image datanearby photos
Yet Another Area I Didn't Know About

Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
Looking Back Down

Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 95mm — 1/400 sec, f/5, ISO 450 — map & image datanearby photos
Not a Bad View

Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 116mm — 1/500 sec, f/5.3, ISO 1400 — map & image datanearby photos
Roofs
more of the temple's buildings still awaiting my discovery

As high as the nice view suggests we are, we're only at the height of the shell-building roof:


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 240mm — 1/1000 sec, f/6, ISO 720 — map & image datanearby photos
Five Crows

This area had a couple of extra temple areas, including the main entrance to the No Passage temple seen in yesterday's post. I saw Japanese tourists heading in, so I suspect I was right that the sign meant don't use as a shortcut path and not no entrance.

But my attention was brought to a little door leading to the mountain that had another closed 4pm - 6am sign on it, and since it was 3:55, I decided to avail myself of the five minutes to see what was beyond the door.


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
Where I Must Return
within five minutes or face a night on the mountain

I'll have to revisit this entire area when I have more time and more-appropriate lenses. It's really quite tastefully done, but the nasty orange traffic cone pretty much destroys the scene, another example of the aesthetic discord I find so often in Japan.

More steps, though increasingly rough and natural, lead to a spidery areas of little grave areas tucked here and there. One of the larger areas:


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/4.5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos

Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 58mm — 1/80 sec, f/4.8, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Paths Not Taken
because my time was almost up

Descending to the more refined temple area, I could enjoy (as much as the lack of time allowed) uncommon from-above perspectives.


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 116mm — 1/400 sec, f/7.1, ISO 6400 — map & image datanearby photos
Roof Detail

The whole temple would close soon, so I retraced my steps back toward the main area, and was about to descend down to and through the temple's huge main gate when I decided to see what was tucked around the other unexplored side of the protective-shell building.

What I found was that the temple has a whole complex of buildings and gardens — the normal attraction of temples for tourists like me — that I hadn't even known about. Lacking time, lenses, and reasonable attire (I was dressed for mountain hiking, like this), I saved them for another day, but continued away from the main area to find that there was another gate...


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/5, ISO 2500 — map & image datanearby photos
North Gate

As evidence of how surprising this was to me, let me note that I lived for a year with my living room 150 meters from here... 20 seconds if you run quickly. I had no idea.

To be fair, this gate is not visible from the road, and, I think, not normally accessible except from the inside for use as an exit.


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 58mm — 1/250 sec, f/5, ISO 3200 — map & image datanearby photos
View From the Gate
down toward the road

To reach the road, I first had to go down a windy series of steps...


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/18, ISO 400 — map & image datanearby photos

... through a small passage under a building, until you finally come out at pavement...


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 50mm — 1/200 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1800 — map & image datanearby photos
Finally at the Road?

Except, that's not the road, that's part of the driveway to the temple's back administrative offices.


Nikon D4 + Sigma “Bigma” 50-500mm OS @ 58mm — 1/250 sec, f/6.3, ISO 1600 — map & image datanearby photos
View From the Road

This view I recognized, having gone by hundreds of times. It's right next to the Shoren'in Temple, and about 85 yards from the entrance to where I used to live.

For the last decade I've lived much farther away — almost half a mile — so I guess that's my excuse for not having more than the most superficial understanding of the Chion'in Temple. It was such a delight yesterday to discover not only so much more, but to also realize that perhaps the best parts are still waiting to be discovered.

Heading back during the fall foliage season, perhaps in three weeks, is high on the agenda.


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