Tagged zen

Sagano Bamboo Forest

When writing about places of natural beauty it’s always tempting to overuse every adjective in the book, so I’ll try and hold back the gushing prose when describing Sagano Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama (嵐山), on the western outskirts of Kyoto. Read more

Kōtō-in Temple

Of all the temples and shrines I’ve visited in Kyoto, my favourite has to be the little-known Kōtō-in (高桐院), a sub-temple of Daitoku-ji (大徳寺). I discovered it purely by chance four years ago on my first trip to Kyoto and decided to pay a return visit. Read more

Kinkaku-ji Golden Pavilion

Unlike the brightly decorated temples found in China, most in Japan are fairly sedate, preferring natural wood finishes over ornate red, green and gold motifs. Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) in Kyoto, otherwise know as the Golden Pavilion, is an exception with the majority of its exterior covered in gold leaf. Read more

Ryōan-ji Temple

Something you’re bound to see plenty of in Kyoto are zen gardens, otherwise known as “dry landscape” gardens (枯山水 karesansui). One of the finest examples can be found at Ryōan-ji (龍安寺) located in the northwest of the city which is thought to have been built in the 15th century. Read more

Kennin-ji Temple

After a chilly walk along the Philosophers Path in the morning, I headed south to Gion and the oldest Zen temple in Kyoto – Kennin-ji (建仁寺). Dating back to 1202, its grandeur is not immediately apparent but step inside and you’ll enter another world. Read more

Northern Kamakura

Back in 2012 I spent a day exploring western, central and eastern Kamakura (鎌倉市), a small town one hour south of Tokyo, jammed full of temples and shrines. In August this year I returned, this time to explore the northern reaches around Kita-Kamakura Station (北鎌倉駅). Read more

Japanese Architecture Influence & Origin

A friend recently recommended me a visual treat of a documentary, Kochuu, that looks at the roots of modern Japanese architecture and it’s influence on buildings throughout Scandinavia. It’s title translates as “in the jar”, referring to the Japanese tradition of constructing small, enclosed physical spaces, which create the impression of a separate universe. Read more

Japanese House Design

The first time I tried Pinterest I dismissed it as being yet another social network for regurgitating others content (and obsessive hoarders), but it recently came into its own when I wanted to put together a collection of traditional and modern Japanese (or Japanese-style) interior design photos. Any minimalists out there might like to check it out – I’ll be updating frequently. Perhaps Pinterest could be considered a new way of digital curation?

The Essence of Zen at Daitoku-ji

After walking along the Path of Philosophy in the morning I took a bus to what turned out to be my favourite part of Kyoto that I visited during my trip. Daitoku-ji (大徳寺) is a temple complex which contains more than twenty sub-temples and some of the finest examples of Zen architecture and design in Japan, including gardens and tea ceremony rooms. Read more