We visited Kitano shrine in the rain, the kind with a bell to call for God and many talisma to wear based on your wish and dreams.
I feel intrigued to study Japan's history now. I marveled in the symbols and clever designs including the so called nightingale floors which squeak as you walk on them in order to notify presence of an intruder. As the tour guide explains the dress codes for samurai and emperor I think to myself what a hierarchical society it has been! In the castle there were some rooms with maquette of samurai people carrying two swords and also of an emperor and shoguns the figures of which reminded me of the old cartoon we used to watch on TV in Iran, the Tale of Three Brothers. In one room there were the ladies, all in beautiful kimonos, all carrying a small sword. Our guide explained that the sword was not for protection in case they were invaded, but to kill themselves to protect their honor in case an enemy approached them!
It has started raining cats and dogs now...
Kikaku or the Golden Pavilion was mesmerizing with beautiful Japanese gardens surrounding a Golden temple.
Got a lecture on the difference between Shinto shrine versus Buddhist temple with the Shinyo shrine being oranges with an entrance gate and also with a bell to call te Shinto God while the Budist temple has neither of these.
Afternoon was filled with visiting the Heian Jingu Shrine which resembled Chinese temples to me with it's red colors and dragon and tiger symbols, the temple of Sanjusangendo with a renowned long wooden hall housing 1001 status of Kannon, and the temple of Kiyomizu which was atop a tall hill.
Of this all I was most fascinated by the 1001 Statues of Kannon. There were thirteen guardians for the statues almost all of which were Indian deities except for one, which was Ahura Mazda, the ancient Persian Diety of Goodness. I never would have anticipated this! Unfortunately it was prohibited to take pictures and after some time searching failed to find good notes in English. I'm so intrigued to go back to this one. With my family enshala :)