Kinkaku-ji is among the most beautiful places in Kyoto. The location is a Zen garden with a pretty lagoon, dotted with miniature islands, and the site of one of the most loved Buddhist temples in Japan, known as the Golden Pavilion.
Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto Shrine located on the foothills of a mountain in Kyoto, is dedicated to the Inari spirit protecting agricultural production; it is famous for its thousands of red-orange torii gates connecting several religious buildings.
The Kiyomizu-dera Temple located on a mountain by a waterfall is one of Kyoto’s many historic religious sites attracting Buddhist pilgrims since the eighth Century. Current structures include the Main Hall and a large terrace overlooking the city.
The minivan rear-ended a taxi and sped through a red light striking several pedestrians before crashing into a utility poll. Eight people were killed, including the driver, and eight others injured.
Figurines of the “beckoning cat”, also known as lucky cat, or fortune cat (known in Japan as “'maneki-neko”), are sold to the faithful in shops outside Fushimi Inari. Maneki-nekos are a common Japanese lucky charm, which can bring benefits to the owner. The figurine is usually made of ceramic, with a decoration around the neck, adorned with coins or food items, and holding up a paw. White cats are for good luck, black cats for good health, and gold cats bring monetary wealth.
The Golden Pavilion reflects its image on the water from almost anywhere along the cherry tree-lined paths surrounding the pond. On the roof of the pavilion there is a gold-leafed figure of a phoenix, a mythical bird.
The Golden Pavilion has three floors and stands 12.8 meters high. Each floor is designed in a different style yet the three harmonize well and create a spectacular architectural effect. In the days of Yoshimitsu, the first floor was used as a reception hall; the second floor, built in the style of samurai houses, was where Yoshimitsu held private meetings with honored guests. The third floor was used for intimate meetings with friends, and tea ceremonies.
Wooden tablets with the shape of a fox head known as “Ema” can also be purchased for a small charge. Worshipers can draw the face of the fox, write their wish in the reverse of the tablet and hang it in special racks.
View of the Main Hall and the Kiyomizu Stage. The wooden structure was assembled without the use of metal nails. The Kiyozumi stage stands 14-meters over the ravine and is supported by 139 inter-locked wooden pillars.
The fox statues, usually a male and a female, represent the messengers of the spirit or Kami of the Inari deity. They wear a votive red bib and hold a scroll or a key in their mouth. The scroll contains Buddhist readings and the key allows access to the granary where the rice is kept.