14 May: Kudos to Kyoto – 2014 GSA Distinguished International Lecture Tour
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The Ginkaku-ji Temple grounds (foreground) were established in 1482.
Kyoto is a ‘must see’ historic city with more than 2000 temples and shrines; one is seemingly around every corner, with serene gardens, mossy grounds, and lacy maples. At the foot of the mountains amidst the stately shaped trees, you almost feel transported back to the time of past emperors. From narrow streetways, to homes, to shrines, so many of the entrances are designed in such an inviting way. There is a tremendous variety and abundance of beautiful sites. We toured several temples, and walked the Philosopher’s Path along a watercourse.
Yoshida shrine (c 991) is only a short walk from Kyoto University.
So many of the pathways to shrines are inviting.
I gave a talk at Kyoto University in the clock tower building, followed by an artfully presented French-style meal at an evening reception. A group of students and faculty enjoyed the delicious meal and stimulating conversation. I am grateful to the generosity of the Japanese sponsors (listed in the Tokyo blog posting) that provided for my time in Japan.
My sedimentology hosts – Professors Hajime Naruse, Tetsuji Muto, Miwa Yokokawa took us on a walk before my talk. Here we stopped at the Ginkaku-ji Temple, a World Cultural Heritage Site Zen temple established in 1482. It is renowned for its beautiful grounds, mossy, with lovely raked sand patterns, including one representing Mt. Fuji.
Ginkaku-ji Temple Zen monks rake and sculpture the granitic sand (from the nearby mountain) in shape of Mt Fuji, a mysterious artform.
This has to be the most polite “do not enter” message I’ve ever seen- a large square shaped rock with a ribbon tied around it to block the pathway…..
A kind paleontology student gave me with three geologic cookies: left to right – foraminifera nougat, chocolate columnar basalt, and palmier pastry cross bedding. Yum, they were tasty as I read the printed map and explanations of the geologic localities and description for each cookie.
My sedimentary/paleontology colleague, Hiromi Honda, was the resident expert who helped navigate us on the extensive bus system around Kyoto and to the famed Golden Pavilion; the Zen Temple covered in gold leaf. I wish I could have stayed in Japan longer, as shopping especially looked like it could be a great pastime…
The impressive Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavilion) covered in gold leaf has burned down several times throughout its history, with the present structure rebuilt in 1955.
On to China, next stop- Shanghai!