April 12, 2008
by Tomomi Nakashima
Where would you like to go to get a feeling for the “real” Japan? I would have to recommend you visit some temples and shrines to experience traditional architecture with a sense of space and open simplicity. A great part of Japanese culture is the enjoyment, and understanding, of the simplest of things both man-made and natural. One place where you can discover each is Jingo-ji Temple.
Jingo-ji Temple is located in Takao in the northwest of Kyoto City and is set back quite deeply on a mountainside. The temple was erected by Wakeno Kiyomaro who lived from the end of the Nara era to the beginning of the Heian era and was a person heavily involved in the formation of Heiankyo. He welcomed both Saicho, who was a priest and founding father of the Tendai Sect, and Kukai (Kobo Daishi), a priest and founding father of the Shingon Sect to the temple and invited them to make it their base of training. These actions effectively established Jingo-ji as the birthplace of buddhism in the Heian era.
I spoke to a visiting tourist from Hiroshima, and this is what she had to say:
“I was recommended by a friend to come here and now I know why, as this is a place really worth visiting. It is totally refreshing and the valley itself is particularly wonderful. The photos of the valley are not nearly as beautiful as seeing it with your own eyes!”If you want to enjoy Japanese culture in the heart of nature, you should go to Jingo-ji Temple. You can, of course, go there by yourself, but it is far more enjoyable to go with someone with whom you can share the experience. Please enjoy a truly relaxing time here!