Friday, February 03, 2006

Palace park and shrine

Today I visited Kyoto-Gyoen, a large national park around the Old Imperial Palace, Kyoto.

Kyoto had been the capital of Japan until 1869. Since then, the emperor has been in Tokyo. (Tokyo literally means "the Capital in the east.")

This is a back shot of Hamaguri-gomon (literally "clam gate"), one of the gates of the park

a lot of camellias had bloomed; there are thousands of trees and flowers planted in this large park

an artifical brook; so beautiful

The Old Palace itself locates northwest in the park, but closed to the public, except a few days in spring and autumn each.
If you can't visit during those periods, you can make a reservation for a tour a couple of months before your preferred date.

After the park I went to Yasaka Shrine, one of the major shrines in Kyoto.

the main gate

the 'dance pavillion' in the precincts, where dances are performed in dedication to the god of the shrine.
It is setsubun(=the day before the lunar-calendric beginning of spring) today, so the performances have done as part of the setsubun festival.

one of the approaches

It was quite cold today; I saw tiny snowflakes falling on my way home. Can't believe spring begins tomorrow! :)


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