Kyoto Sightseeing

Yes Virginia, it's another gorgeous garden in Kyoto, photo by jbgIf Tokyo is the beating heart of Japan then Kyoto is the soul. It is lush green gardens, serene temples and shrines and a much slower paced life style. My two favorite places were Ryoangi zen garden and Sanjusangendo temple. Ryoangi is a world heritage site, a sand garden with 15 perfectly placed stones. It reminds me of the ocean with islands rising up from the depths.  The groupings of stones suggest varied images unique to each viewer. The wall that surrounds the garden is an object of meditation in itself. The surface of oiled stucco projects ghost-like visions.  Just sitting, this lovely garden washing over me, I felt the presence of another time and place — “Ma”.

Nijo Castle garden, photo by jbg

Sanjusangendo Temple had a powerful effect on me also. It literally means 33 halls and contained 1001 exact replicas of the Kannon (Buddhist goddess of Mercy) with her many arms covered in gold leaf. The statues were guarded by 33 frightening dieties, whose Hindu roots have been transformed by Japanese sensibilities. In the center of all this was a giant statue of buddha which somehow paled in comparison.Bamboo forest in Kyoto, photo by jbg

The bamboo forest was splendid. You can see it here on the right.

Another fascinating sight was Nijo Castle, medieval shogun castle with nightingale floors, made to squeak to warn of anyone approaching. See below.

The moat, Nijo Castle, Kyoto, photo by jbg

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About Julie

The Asheville Butoh Festival is directed by the Asheville area butoh dancer, choreographer, and teacher Julie Becton Gillum. As founder of three modern dance companies, and ultimately Legacy Butoh, Gillum has been creating, performing and teaching dance in the US, France, Cuba and Mexico for over 40 years. Gillum’s primary form of artistic expression has become butoh, which she has been practicing, performing, and teaching since 1998. She has created and presented major pieces in the genre at a variety of venues in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Mexico. Gillum was awarded the prestigious 2009 Choreography Fellowship by the North Carolina Arts Council, which enabled her to travel to Japan to study with renowned butoh masters Yoshito Ohno, Natsu Nakajima, Akaji Maru, and Seisaku.