Kyoto Temple

Not All Who Wander are Lost

I went on a walk searching for a temple. I got lost and it started to rain…hard.

It often happens to me during my travels. I tend to get lost, I even TRY to get lost. Sure I have my phone, so I am never TRULY lost, but believe me…I get lost. I also like to walk places. I feel like I get to see more and see the color of places if I walk. Sometimes I am detrimentally stubborn about it, but the wander is hard to satisfy.

This day, my wandering soul found this beautiful place at the top of a small hill. I am not entirely sure where in Kyoto it is, but this entry was very beautiful and nestled quietly away allowing for reflection. I generally don’t care for people in my photos, but this couple seemed to fit.

Photo Technical Info

  • Aperture: ƒ/4
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Taken: 15 November, 2015
  • Focal length: 17mm
  • ISO: 2000
  • Shutter speed: 1/800s
  • Title: Kyoto Temple

The Snail that Said Slow Down

Finding Meaning

I think, if you listen, the universe sends you messages. I was hiking Fushimi Inari-taisha in Kyoto, Japan. The day was grey and rainy, but I had arrived early before the truly overwhelming mass of people. I also knew the physical toll the Kyoto mountains would take on many tourists and the further I hiked, the fewer people I would find. Furiously I climbed, passing people, stopping only for photos, perhaps I missed some things. All of a sudden, I came upon a lake surrounded by this fence, it was a welcome serene sight and a respite for the ever upward climb.

It was then I noticed the snail, alone on the fence. People hurried by all to involved to notice the snail. In a flash, the Sun broke gloriously through the clouds and reflected power from the surface of the still water. The snail continued all the same, but I heard the message. The snail was saying, “slow down”.

The rest of my hike was alive with light, that danced off the rain drops still clinging to the endless Torii Gates of Fushimi Inari-taisha. I did slow down, people came and went, but my speed now allowed them to pass by with ease, and me to linger to find things hidden in the Japanese wood. I took some of the best photos of my trip, because I listened.

Photo Technical Info

Traditional and Modern Tools in Japan

Turning Japanese

If it seems like I have Japan on the brain lately it’s because I DO! I am headed to Japan in a few months for the Cherry Blossom season! I have wanted to be in Japan during this time for a long time and only missed it by a few weeks in 2015. Hopefully this year I will get lucky since the time from bloom to fall is VERY short!

This is a collection of tools used by the caretakers of Meiji Jingu. I love how there is a mix of traditional brooms and modern tools as well.

Photo Technical Info

Traditionally Dressed Japanese Kids at Meiji Shrine

Finding History

There is an old adage in Hollywood traditional ascribed to W.C. Fields, but universally known, “Never work with animals or children”. To those not acting however, they are like gold! What could be more adorable than two small children all dressed up in traditional garb to visit Meiji Jingu in Tokyo.

I am always looking for some elements of time or even timelessness, contrasts between the old and new. Does this work in that sense?

Photo Technical Info

Buddha Tooth Relic Shrine


If you haven’t noticed I tend to visit quite a number of churches, temples and shrines on my travels. I love seeing how other cultures look at religion; how they react to their faith. I have a personal soft spot for Buddhism, for no particular reason, it just speaks to me in a different way than western religions. Something seems to draw me to the East, but alas my patience is poor which is no excuse. Today’s photo is where I entered the shrine. What I found inside was interesting and not unlike other Buddhist shrines. Except upstairs.

The Reliquary Room

On the upper floor of the shrine (you would miss the elevator if you weren’t looking) is a reliquary made of gold purported to contain a fragment of one of the Buddha’s canine teeth. It was rescued from his funeral pyre. I don’t know it the is true, but there is an eternal quality that surrounds the space. I sat for a long time and listened to the monk’s chants of blessings. People knelt, he blessed them. I didn’t ask for a blessing; I know not why. I pondered the place for a very long time sitting silently on a meditation cushion in full lotus. Perhaps if you are ever in the area … stop by, I would love to talk to someone else about their experience.

Photo Technical Info

Ornate Door at Meiji Jingu


A quick post today…this door caught my eye when first entering Meiji Jingu. It’s a simple door, wonderfully carved but not the one you would go through. There is a much larger entry to the left, but I found this one…I don’t know why, but I was drawn to it’s smallness. I was drawn to it’s simplicity.

Prayers of the World

Writing your Dreams

I knew very little of Meiji Jingu Shrine before I visited. I knew what the guidebook told me about the space to honor the spirit of the Emperor and his wife. The site is full of tourists, but also with regular Japanese people spending time in ceremony. It was a strange cosmic convergences where the practitioners lost in the murmurations of prayer form some harmonious counterpoint with the wandering spirits of overwhelmed travelers. Perhaps we are one in the same, no different as we both seek something we can’t understand or begin to explain.

All Languages Welcome

One of the things people do at the temple is purchase one of these cards (Ema) to write their dreams. I am not certain dream is the correct word. Prayer is likely more accurate, but the former seemed accurate for the few cards that I could decipher. What struck me was the variety of language contained in the Ema. Shinto does not make some of the demands of other religions. You are generally not required to profess your faith, which seems a very open and inviting.

Barrels of Sake

Sake In Strange Places

Honestly sake isn’t really my thing. I have had it numerous times before and perhaps I just haven’t found the right kind, but it seems very much like vodka to me…I am not sure why anyone would drink it straight. These barrels are at the Meiji Jingu shrine in Tokyo, Japan. Yes shrine…these are an offering to the deities of the shrine. It is a tradition that has gone on for generations.