Wonderful Japan – Kyoto and Nara

By | Jul 17, 2017 | Views: 255
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Kyoto and Nara were once two of ancient Japan’s capital cities that flourished as the county’s cultural and political centres. Japan’s capital city was relocated to Tokyo in the 18th century, and has remained so until today. The two prefectures of Kyoto and Nara are parts of the Kansai region, located at the south-central part of Honshu Island, together with other densely populated urban centres such as Kobe and Osaka. Though Tokyo may today be considered Japan’s main cultural and economic hub, Kansai is home to a counter-culture rooted in rich history and distinctive characteristics that have developed since the Edo Period (1603-1868).

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Recognised by UNESCO as World Heritage Sites, the Kyoto and Nara regions are inevitably considered unmissable destinations to experience Japan’s traditional culture. Much of Japanese history was played out in Kyoto and Nara, a stronghold of traditional Japanese culture. Kyoto houses 17 UNESCO World Heritages Sites with over 1,600 Buddhist temples, more than 400 Shinto shrines, and is known to be one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. Nara, on the other hand, is a much smaller city that contains 8 UNESCO World Heritages Sites and was Japan’s first capital city. Nara is also one of the most rewarding destinations for travellers in Japan.

Both Kyoto and Nara have elaborate gardens, temples, and shrines that boast a lot of cultural heritage including various Buddhist statues. Kyoto also includes an entertainment district (hana-machi), where beautiful maiko girls (apprentice geiko, slightly different from geisha) walk through rows of old houses and act as hostesses. Kyoto’s traditional culture has endured until today and continues to develop, in fields such as arts and crafts, performing arts, etc. Both Kyoto and Nara embody nature, beauty, and tradition, making them wonderful destinations for visitors to experience.

If you are planning to visit, below is some useful information to make your visit to Kyoto and Nara memorable and enjoyable.

 

Population

Based on the latest United Nations estimates, Japan’s current population is 126,047,196 as of Wednesday, June 28, 2017. This is equivalent to 1.68% of the world’s total population. Kyoto itself in inhabited by 1,473,110 people, while Nara is occupied by 359,666 people.

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Weather

Weather patterns and average temperatures vary enormously across Japan, resulting in inconsistent timing to best visit the vast country. Honshu’s climate is mainly influenced by the surrounding mountains and warm seas that bring plenty of rain and snow to the region.

However, the most pleasant time to visit Japan, despite frequent showers, is during spring, a time when even the weather reports show the steady progress of the famed sakura blossom. In Kyoto, the sakura flowers blossom in spring and the leaves turn red in late autumn, undoubtedly the best times to visit the city. In fact, all four seasons decorate the city gracefully in one way or another. As for Nara, the best times to visit are spring (March-May) and autumn (October-November). The rainy season occurs from mid-June to late July, however you can still visit during this time as it doesn’t rain every day.

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Visa Application

  1. To enter Japan as a visitor, you can apply for the “temporary visitor visa” (generally called “tourist visa”) directly at your nearest Japanese Embassy or Consulate.
  2. Citizens from countries that are eligible for visa exemption may enter Japan with their passport without prior application, unless intending to stay for a long period of time, or to work.
  3. The period of stay granted upon entering the country is 15 days for citizens of Brunei, Indonesia, and Thailand, while a period of 90 days is granted for citizens of other countries and regions. Please click here for a list of countries and entry conditions.
  4. The visa processing period is approximately 5 working days from the day after submission of application.
  5. Visas usually hold validity for three months.
  6. A single-entry visa will cost 3,000 yen (approximately USD27), while a double-entry or multiple-entry visa will cost 6,000 yen (approximately USD54). A transit visa will cost 700 yen (approximately USD7). All fees are collected in the respective currency of the country in which the Japanese Embassy or Consulate is located.
  7. Visa application fees may vary depending on the purpose of your visit and nationality.
  8. Visitors should hold passports with at least six months of validity after planned departure from Japan.
Mt. Fuji with fall colours in Japan

Mt. Fuji with fall colours in Japan

 

DO’S and DONT’S

The city’s tourism organisation, the Kyoto Convention and Visitors Bureau, in collaboration with TripAdvisor have released an infographic outlining an etiquette manual for tourists visiting Kyoto called “AKIMAHEN”, which means “DO NOT” in the local Kyoto dialect. The manual lists 18 customs from Kyoto and information on how to avoid cultural “faux pas”, or mistakes in cultural etiquette. Below is a video featuring AKIMAHEN which visitors should watch before departing to Kyoto. An online guide is also available here.

Or view the video on the server at:
http://video.tsemtulku.com/videos/AkimahenOfKyoto.mp4

 

The General Manners in Japan

DO’s

  • Slurp when eating Japanese-style noodles such as soba, udon, and ramen.
  • Finish all your food to show that you enjoyed your meal.
  • Use toothpicks (youji) with your dominant hand and cover your mouth with the other hand when food gets stuck in between your teeth.
  • Do remove your shoes before entering houses, temples, and other buildings such as restaurants and bathhouses where shoes are not allowed inside. Do check and see if you are supposed to take off your shoes and wear the slippers provided inside.
  • Do keep your voice down and do not disrupt other people’s conversations in public places especially on trains, buses, and in temples.
  • Do stand in a straight line when waiting for the train.
  • Please smoke in designated areas only. Smoking is prohibited in many public locations and so is tossing of cigarette butts.
  • While the Japanese respect foreign cultures, kissing and hugging is not a common form of public expression in Japan. You may interact with the Japanese according to your own culture.
  • Do use “sumimasen” (sorry) and “arigato” (thank you) in situations when a sorry or thank you is appropriate. The Japanese say “sumimasen” even when they actually mean “arigato” to show concern over another’s consideration.
  • Do use “yoroshiku onegaishimasu” at the end of a conversation when asking for a favour or expressing your wish for an ongoing relationship with the other person.

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DONT’S

  • Pack food from restaurants, especially high-class Japanese restaurants, as Japan is a very humid country and food sanitation is difficult. Doggy bags are generally not used.
  • Do not spit or litter on the streets.
  • Do not unwrap gifts in front of the giving party as it is rude. An exception to this is when the party giving the gift asks you specifically to unwrap the gift.
  • Do not speak on mobile phones when using public transportation.

 

Travel Tips

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Most visitors tend to fly in and out of Tokyo when visiting Japan, and use a Japan Rail Pass to travel between major cities across the country. If your itinerary is confined to Tokyo and Kansai, the following ways will be useful for you to streamline your transportation expenses.

A week-long national rail pass cost 29,110 yen. To reduce this cost, you can combine the standard fare for the 2.5-hour train ride from Tokyo to Kyoto together with the 3-day Kansai Thru (Surutto Kansai) pass that covers all destinations from Kyoto to Nara to Osaka at only a little over 18,000 yen (13,260 yen for the Shinkansen bullet train and 5,200 yen for the Thru pass). You can save an additional few thousand Yen if you catch a ride on an overnight bus between Tokyo and Kyoto, saving you accommodation costs for that night.

The above is ideal when using Kansai International Airport (KIX) for either your inbound or outbound international flights, but not in the case if you need to ride back to Tokyo. The following are three airports with easy access to Kyoto:

  1. Osaka International Airport (Itami; ITM):
    • The closest airport to Kyoto
    • A 50-minute ride away using the convenient airport limousine bus
    • On the whole the airport serves domestic flights (many airlines will provide free flights to fly you here from Narita if you fly with that airline internationally)
  2. Kansai International Airport (KIX):
    • The main international access point to Kyoto
    • Approximately a 90-minute ride from Kyoto by direct express train
  3. Central Japan International Airport (Centrair; NGO):
    • About 90-minutes away from Kyoto by airport express and shinkansen

For non-Japanese speakers, do visit HyperDia for up-to-date transportation prices and connections. This may probably be the most helpful website you will need on your trip throughout Japan.

 

Top 10 Must Visit Places in Kyoto

 

1. Kinkaku-Ji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion Temple)

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Kinkaku-ji is one of the most popular and best places to visit in Japan. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This Zen temple is located in northern Kyoto, and has two upper walls of the 3-storied pavilion covered with gold foil that shimmers in front of the kyoko-chi (mirror pond). If you arrive at dawn, just as the sun gently caresses its pure gold leaf covered facade, you get to see the gorgeous image of this pavilion floating on the water. Above its shingle roof sits an exquisite bronze phoenix.

Kinkaku-ji includes the impressive structure built overlooking a large pond that was rebuilt in 1955. It is the only building left from Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s (September 25, 1358-May 31, 1408) former retirement complex. Ashikaga Yoshimitsu was the 3rd shogun of the Ashikaga shogunate which governed Japan from 1338 to 1573. Its first floor was built during the Heian Period (794 to 1185) in shinden style – white plaster walls and wooden beams, while its upper floors were built in bukke samurai style. The second floor contains various Buddhist images, and Kinkaku-ji also houses the Buddha’s relics.

Though the interior is closed to the public, it is possible for visitors to make out statues of the Buddha and Yoshimitsu on the first floor. Nevertheless, the gardens are delightful and visitors get to admire the pavilion from different angles.

Address: Kinkakuji-cho, Kita-ku
Operating Hours: Daily from 9am-5pm
Admission:
Adults: 400 yen
Children under 15: 300 yen
Phone: +81-75-461-0013

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Hotel Chrysantheme Kyoto (0.8 km from Kinkakuji Temple)
    Address: 51 Yanagicho, Hiranokamihaccho, Kita-ku, Kyoto 603-8353, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-462-1540
    Website: http://www.chrysantheme.co.jp/english/
  2. Kyohatago Mugen (2.6 km from Kinkakuji Temple)
    Address: 548-1 Kitakodaimoncho Kuromondori Kaminagachojamachi Sagaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-8252, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-366-3206
    Website: http://kyoto-machiya-ryokan.com/
  3. Ryokan Yamazaki (2.8 km from Kinkakuji Temple)
    Address: 11 Umegahata Takahanacho, Ukyo-ku, Kyoto 616-8261, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-881-2303
    Website: http://www.ryokan-yamazaki.com/

 

2. Ginkaku-Ji (銀閣寺, Silver Pavilion Temple)

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Ginkaku-ji was converted into a Zen temple in 1490. Located along Kyoto’s eastern mountains (Higashiyama), Ginkaku-ji was formerly Ashikaga Yoshimitsu’s retirement villa modelled after Kinkaku-ji. It is a must see sight for local and international visitors while in Kyoto as it is one of the most beautiful temples in the city. Similar to the Kinkaku-ji, the interior of the pavilion is not open to the public.

The Ginkaku-ji complex consists of the Silver Pavilion, six other temple buildings, a unique dry sand garden, and a beautiful moss garden. The pavilion is 2-storied, constructed in two different architectural styles, and houses a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The Silver Pavilion is believed to have been built in order to contrast the Golden Pavilion, but it has never been covered in silver. Another explanation for the name is that the building has a silvery appearance when moon light reflects on the building’s dark exterior that used to be covered in black lacquer.

For a memorable experience, walk along a circular route around the complex grounds to view the gardens and buildings. If you climb the trail at the back of the garden, you will be rewarded with a fantastic viewpoint of the rest of the city and the entire temple compound.

It is recommended to visit right after the complex opens or just before it closes, ideally on a Monday around 10am and 4pm. If you visit during weekend or holidays, it will be packed with visitors, making it almost impossible to enjoy the place.

Address: 2 Ginkaku-ji-cho, Sakyo-ku
Operating hours:
8:30am-5pm March-November
9am-4:30pm December-February
Admission:
Adults: 500 yen
Children under 15: 300 yen
Phone: +81-75-771-5725

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Hiiragiya (3.5 km from Ginkaku-ji Temple)
    Address: 277 Nakahakusancho Huyacho Anekoji-agaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8094, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-221-1136
    Website: https://www.hiiragiya.co.jp/en/
  2. Tawaraya Ryokan (3.5 km from Ginkaku-ji Temple)
    Address: 278 Nakahakusancho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8094, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-211-5566
    Website: https://www.tripadvisor.com.my/Hotel_Review-g298564-d310306-Reviews-Tawaraya_Ryokan-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html
  3. Hotel Sugicho (3.5 km from Ginkaku-ji Temple)
    Address: 172 Moriyamacho, Oike-agaru, Tominokoji, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0953, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-241-0106
    Website: http://www.kyoto-ryokan.jp

 

3. Gion District (祇園)

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Gion is one of Kyoto’s most iconic tourist attractions, and is preserved in the style of the Edo period. It is the place where geishas are trained, and geisha makeovers are also available for visitors today as well. The geisha in Kyoto are known by the local term geiko which essentially means “a woman of art” and they do not refer to themselves as geisha which means “artist” or “person of the arts”. In the past Gion underwent a restoration project that moved all overhead utilities underground as part of the ongoing efforts to preserve Gion’s original beauty. It is a fantastic district if you want to experience Kyoto’s history and culture as it is filled with historical temples and traditional architecture.

Gion is even more enchanting after dark with guests filling old wooden teahouses, and geiko and maiko (apprentice geiko) entertaining visitors. Apart from geisha, Gion has a collection of famous streets defined by old wooden teahouses and buildings, and exclusive Japanese restaurants. The yearly July Gion Matsuri also attracts millions of visitors due to its procession of festival floats and traditional musical performances.

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Matsui Honkan Ryokan (1 km from Gion)
    Address: 405 Izutsuyacho Nakagyo-ku | (Yanagino Banba Rokkaku Sagaru), Kyoto 604-8113, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-221-3535
    Website: http://www.matsui-inn.com/en/
  2. Kinparo (1 km from Gion)
    Address: 467 Setoyacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8122, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-221-7237
    Website: http://www.newkinpa.on.arena.ne.jp/english/
  3. Mitsui Garden Hotel Kyoto Shinmachi Bettei (1.7 km from Gion)
    Address: 361 Rokkaku-cho, Rokkaku-sagaru, Shinmachidori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8212, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-257-1131
    Website: https://www.gardenhotels.co.jp/kyoto-shinmachi/

 

4. Kiyomizu-Dera Temple (清水寺, Pure Water Temple)

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Kiyomizu-Dera was first built in 798, while the present buildings were reconstructed in 1633. It is one of the most famous landmarks in the city and one of the best Buddhist temples to visit in Southern Higashiyama. The Kiyomizu-Dera is affiliated with the Hosso school of Buddhism which originates in Nara, and is another UNESCO Heritage Site in Kyoto.

Kiyomizu-Dera’s biggest attraction is the Hondo (Main Hall) that has a huge veranda made entirely out of wood, supported by pillars, juts out over the hillside. Kiyomizu-dera is situated on a mountain in Gion and is almost one with nature as it is half-shrouded by sakura trees that turn pink with sakura blossoms during spring time. During the Edo period, people actually believed that their wishes would be granted if they jumped from the 13m high cliff and survived. Over 200 people jumped and more than 85% survived according to records. The practice is now prohibited by law for obvious reasons. The valley below offers a spectacular view due to the vivid colours of Japan’s distinct four seasons that can be seen clearly from the temple.

Just below the Hondo is the Otowa-no-taki waterfall where visitors can drink the water that is believed to bestow health and longevity. Apart from the Hondo, around the precincts, are other halls and shrines. Another popular spot is the Jishu-jinja, which is a shrine up the steps above the Hondo. There is also a belief that visitors who wish for success in their love life can walk a trail roughly 18 meters with their eyes closed. If they walk between a pair of stones they will be successful. However, if they miss walking between the stones, their desire for love will not be fulfilled.

Address: 1-294 Kiyomizu, Higashiyama-ku
Operating Hours:
6am-6pm (until 6:30pm on weekends and holidays from mid-April through July and every day in August and September)
6pm-9pm during Hanatoro around mid-March, from late March to mid-April and from mid-November to early December
Admission: 400 yen
Phone: +81-75-551-1234

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Super Hotel Kyoto Shijokawaramachi (1.9 km from Kiyomizu-dera Temple)
    Address: 538-1 Shinkyogokudori, Chukyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8042, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-255-9000
    Website: http://www.superhoteljapan.com/en/s-hotels/shijyogawara/
  2. The B Kyoto Sanjo (1.9 km from Kiyomizu-dera Temple)
    Address: 2-49-1, Sanjoohashi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto 605-0001, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-762-1300
    Website: http://kyotosanjo.theb-hotels.com/en/
  3. Kyoto Traveler’s Inn (1.9 km from Kiyomizu-dera Temple)
    Address: 91 Okazaki Enshojicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8344, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-771-0225
    Website: http://www.k-travelersinn.com/english/

 

5. Ryoan-Ji (龍安寺, Peaceful Dragon Temple)

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Ryoan-Ji is a UNESCO Heritage Site that is well known for its mysterious rock garden, one of the best rock gardens in Japan that defies attempts at explanation. Daimyo Hosokawa Katsumoto (1561-1628) built the temple in 1450, however it remains a mystery as to who designed and made the rock garden as well as its purpose and the intention behind it. This temple is the most famous hiraniwa (flat garden) that reveals the stunning simplicity and harmony of Zen meditation’s principles.

There are fifteen carefully placed rocks that seem to drift in a sea of raked white gravel enclosed by an earthen wall. Visitors have an unimpeded view from the viewing platform right above the garden itself. However, no matter which angle you view it from, you can never see all fifteen stones. Apart from this, visitors can tour the extensive grounds of Ryoan-ji that includes larger trees and moss gardens and the particularly striking Kyoyo-chi pond (best seen in autumn).

Address: 13 Ryoanji-Goryo-no-Sita-cho, Ukyo-ku
Operating Hours:
8am-5pm March-November
8:30am-4:30pm December-February
Admission:
Adults: 500 yen
Children under 15: 300 yen
Phone: +81-75-463-2216

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Kaden (5.0 km from Ryoanji Temple)
    Address: 191 Chigiriyacho, Higashinotoin Higashiiru, Rokkakudori, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8133, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-212-7000
    Website: http://kyotokaden.jp/en/index.html
  2. Luck You Kyoto (5.1 km from Ryoanji Temple)
    Address: 590-16 Kakimotocho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8357, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-366-3211
    Website: http://luckyou-kyoto.com
  3. Hoshinoya Kyoto (5.1 km from Ryoanji Temple)
    Address: 11-2 Genrokuzancho, Nishikyo-ku, Kyoto 616-0007, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-50-3786-1144
    Website: http://hoshinoyakyoto.jp/en/

 

6. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove (嵐山竹林の小径)

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The soaring stalks of bamboo at the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove are one of Kyoto’s top sights. Pictures of the Arashiyama Bamboo Grove, along with the Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine’s torii tunnels, and Kinkaku-ji are often seen together in materials promoting trips to Kyoto. Entering this lush and extensive bamboo grove is like entering another world with endless stalks that seem to continue in every direction.

The bamboo in Arashiyama grow thick and strong, giving shade to cool down in the summer, while bringing warmth during the winter, as beams of sunshine descend through the trees. The grove runs from outside Tenryu-ji’s north gate to just below the Okochi Sanso villa, and its footpath is 500m long. Standing in the middle of this sprawling bamboo grove gives you an incredible feeling, and is quite different than any other forest you will ever visit.

Address: Arashiyama, Ukyo-ku
Operating Hours: 24 hours daily
Phone: +81-75-861-0012

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Gosho Nishi Kyoto Heian Hotel (7.9 km from Bamboo Forest Street)
    Address: Karasuma Kamichojamachi agaru, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto 602-0912, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-432-6181
    Website: http://kyoto-heian-hotel.com/english/
  2. Azumaya Ryokan (7.9 km from Bamboo Forest Street)
    Address: Shichijo-agaru Horikawa-dori Shimogyo-ku | Nishi Honganjimae, Kyoto 600-8399, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-371-2364
    Website: https://www.adumaya-kyoto.com
  3. Ryokan Shimizu (8.1 km from Bamboo Forest Street)
    Address: 646 Kagiya-cho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8317, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-371-5538
    Website: http://www.kyoto-shimizu.net/eng/index.html

 

7. Fushimi Inari-Taisha (伏見稲荷大社)

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The Fushimi Inari-Taisha is the 1,300-year-old central shrine (taisha) for 40,000 shrines across Japan dedicated to Inari, the Shinto deity of rice and sake (Japanese rice wine) and was built by the Hata family in the 8th century. It stretches 230 metres (750 feet) up a hill with hundreds of bright red torii (gates) behind it, forming one of the most memorable and impressive sights in the whole of Kyoto.

The taisha consists of five shrines that stretch across the wooded slopes of Inari-san with a pathway that wanders 4km up the hill and is lined with dozens of atmospheric sub-shrines. As you walk up the hillside, you will come across hundreds of stone fox statues along the way. Foxes are considered the messenger animals of Inari. Keys are often depicted hanging from the mouths of the foxes, and are actually keys for rice granaries. Traditionally, the Japanese see foxes as sacred animals, capable of ‘possessing’ humans through their favoured point of entry – under the fingernails.

Within Japanese culture, deities began to be worshipped to ensure prosperity in business, as the role of agriculture decreased. This shrine holds incredible spiritual and personal significance to the locals and attracts millions when they come to pay their respects during the Japanese New Year. In the area you will also find vendors selling the sweet tsujiura senbei, a type of local cookie that is believed to be an early predecessor of the American-style fortune cookie.

Address: 68 Yabunouchi-cho, Fukakusa, Fushimi-ku
Operating hours: Dawn to dusk
Admission: Free
Phone: +81-75-561-1551

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Hotel Kanra Kyoto (3.2 km from Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine)
    Address: 190 Kitamachi Karasuma-dori Rokujo Sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8176, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-344-3815
    Website: https://www.hotelkanra.jp/en/
  2. Kyomachiya Ryokan Sakura Honganji (3.3 km from Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine)
    Address: 228 Butsuguyacho Aburanokoji Hanayacho Sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8347, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-343-3500
    Website: http://www.kyoto-ryokan-sakura.com/sakura/en/
  3. Vessel Hotel Campana Kyotogojo (3.4 km from Fushimi Inari-taisha Shrine)
    Address: 498 Shimomanjujicho, Todoindori gojo-sagaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8180, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-353-1000
    Website: https://www.vessel-hotel.jp/campana/kyoto/

 

8. Kyoto International Manga Museum (京都国際マンガミュージアム)

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The Kyoto International Manga Museum the world’s first museum dedicated solely to Japanese comics. It is located in downtown Kyoto and is a must-visit destination for manga lovers. The museum is a joint project between Seika University and Kyoto City. The premises used to house an old elementary school that has now been remodelled to accommodate the enormous, all-encompassing manga collections, and provides lots of space for weekend art workshops that teach manga techniques, as well as for international conferences.

The museum is one of the largest in Japan that houses a collection of over 300,000 items and features a number of permanent and temporary exhibitions and events. Among the museum’s unique features is a Wall of Manga that is 200m long. It also houses 50,000 volumes of the last 50 years’ worth of manga, and includes rare or old series that are difficult to find commercially that visitors can read freely. Most of the manga in this museum can even be taken outside, if you would rather read on the lawn. For English readers, you will also find some English-language manga displayed in the international section.

Address: Karasuma-dori, Oike agaru, Nakagyo-ku
Operating Hours: 10am-6pm
Closing Days: Wednesdays and during New Year’s holidays
Admission: 500 yen
Phone: +81-75-254-7414

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Kamogawakan (1.1 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum)
    Address: 104 Nakajimacho Sanjodori Kawaramachi, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8004, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-221-4007
    Website: http://www.kamogawa-kan.co.jp/english.html
  2. Mifuku (1.2 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum)
    Address: 140 Wakamatsu-cho, Ponto-cho Sanjo-sagaru, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-0000, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-221-5696
    Website: http://www.yado-web.com/kinki/kyoto/egb21/egb21.html
  3. Sawaya Honten (1.7 km from Kyoto International Manga Museum)
    Address: 25, Kawahara-cho, Shogoin, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto 606-8397, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-761-4141
    Website: http://www.kyotokyoto.jp/accommodations/detail_syukuhaku.php?scd=24

 

9. Nishiki Ichiba (錦市場, Nishiki Market)

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Nishiki Ichiba is the perfect choice for travellers wanting to try the authentic tastes of local Kyoto on a small budget, and is actually Kyoto’s largest traditional food market. Situated between Kawaramachi Street and Karasuma Street in downtown Kyoto, this market is a feast for the senses. It is historically known for its preservation of tradition, and is renowned for its almost infinite choice of delicious foods and goods.

The market is a narrow, yet bustling five-block long shopping street filled with more than 100 shops and restaurants. This lively retail market is known as “Kyoto’s Kitchen” as it specialises in everything related to food, from fresh produce and seafood to kitchenware. It is also from this market that seasonal foods and some of Kyoto’s specialities such as Japanese pickles, dried seafood, sweets and sushi emerged. Some of the shops give out free samples of their specialities readily, or even sell their special dishes on skewers that are meant to be eaten then and there. Ready-made foods are also sold in a few small restaurants and food stands.

Usually the stalls specialise in one kind of food and are often attached to a store specialising in the same dish. With a history of several centuries, many stalls in the market have been operated by the same families for generations. The market started as a fish wholesale district, and the first shops opened in around 1310. At a later period in time, it changed from a wholesale market to more retail orientated businesses when a larger variety of shops began to move to the area. Today, Nishiki Ichiba remains Kyoto’s most important market and is often packed with locals and tourists alike.

Address: Nishikikoji-dori, Nakagyo-ku (between Teramachi and Takakura)
Operating hours: Daily from 9am-5pm, varies for individual stalls
Closing Days: Some stalls may close on Wednesdays and/or Sundays

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Hotel Sunroute Kyoto (0.9 km from Nishiki Market)
    Address: 406 Nanbacho, Matsubara-sagaru, Kawaramachi-dori, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8027, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-371-3711
    Website: http://www.sunroute.jp/english/hotelinfo/kinki/kyoto/index.html
  2. Shiraume (1.0 km from Nishiki Market)
    Address: Shirakawa-hotori, Shinbashi-dori, Gionmachi, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-561-1459
    Website: http://www.shiraume-kyoto.jp/en/
  3. Hotel San Crane
    Address: 264 Daigocho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8106, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-361-0650
    Website: http://www.sancrane.com

 

10. Nijo-jo (二条城, Nijo Castle)

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Nijo-jo is located in central Kyoto and was built by the Order of Tokugawa Ieyasu (founder of the Edo period) in 1626. The Order of Tokugawa Ieyasu was the last military government of feudal Japan. This castle is one of the most awe-inspiring sights of the city, and is where the Shoguns (military warlords) wielded their power over the emperors throughout the Edo period, as demonstrated through the castle itself.

The castle is characterised by low but grand and imposing structures surrounded by gorgeous gardens, different from the more famous Himeji-jo in Himeji which soars skyward in a manner similar to European castles.

The complex includes the Ninomaru Palace, known for its “nightingale floors” designed to squeak to alert residents of the presence of intruders. The almost rococo decorative panels and carvings in their flamboyance reflect the magnitude of power and attitudes of the occupying warlords. The interior is mostly preserved in its original form, and you can walk around barefoot on the tatami mats that line the floor, letting history come alive. The Seiryu-en garden that surrounds the castle buildings is a wonderful garden that is worth a leisurely stroll through. Over the years the castle went through periods of physical change, such as expansion and ruin, and as governments rose and fell, the use of the castle similarly changed, leading to various building structures and a multitude of walls, moats, and elegant gardens.

This castle is on everyone’s “must-see” list, therefore it is best to visit just after the complex opens in order to beat the crowds. It is often packed full with Japanese school children out on school excursions, and hordes of tourists arrive on buses throughout its opening times.

Address: 541 Nijojo-cho, Nijo-dori, Horikawa Nishi iru, Nakagyo-ku
Operating hours: 8:45am-5pm, last entry at 4pm
Closing Days: Tuesdays in December, January, July, August, and December 26-January 4
Admission:
Adults: 600 yen
Junior and high school students: 350 yen
Elementary school students: 200 yen
Phone: +81-75-841-0096

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Hotel Grand Bach Kyoto Select (1.7 km from Nijo Castle)
    Address: 363 Naramonocho, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8004, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-221-2211
    Website: http://www.grandbach.com/kyoto/en/
  2. Kyoto Itoya Hotel (1.7 km from Nijo Castle)
    Address: 712 Yakushimaecho, Karasumadori, Matsubara Agaru, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8416, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-365-1221
    Website: http://www.itoyahotel.com/eng/
  3. Hotel Gran Ms Kyoto
    Address: 410-3 Shimomaruyacho, Nakagyo-ku, Kyoto 604-8006, Kyoto Prefecture
    Phone: +81-75-241-2000
    Website: http://granms.jp/en/

Note: Agoda would probably be the best accommodation search site with discounts up to 80% off and more properties to choose from than any other website. You can also search the internet for accommodation that would suit your needs as a traveller.

 


 

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Nara

Nara is just an hour away by train from Kyoto and is a must-see in Kansai. With most of its attractions concentrated within the Nara Park, including the Todaiji Temple that houses a huge Buddha statue in the Big Buddha Hall. It is highly recommended that those visiting Kyoto make a short detour to Nara as a side trip. Nara was Japan’s former capital city before the capital moved to Kyoto in the 8th century. There are a number of sites of great historical significance scattered around Nara, many of which are World Heritage Sites.

Nara is in the most central area in Japan, only 35km south of Kyoto and some 28km north of Osaka. The railroad system in Nara is extremely complicated, providing more options for travel from Kyoto station than is necessary. The two companies connection Kyoto and Nara with regular train lines are:

  1. JR Nara Line Y690:
    Pick this is the option if you hold a JR Rail Pass. The Miyakoji Kaisoku Express will get you to Nara from Kyoto in 45 minutes. These trains leave every 30 minutes from Kyoto Station and JR Nara Station and cost about 710 yen. You can also use the local Futsu line, which will get you from Kyoto station to Nara station in about 70 minutes.
  2. Kintetsu Nara Line Y1110:
    The private Kintetsu line is by far the fastest way to travel to and from Nara to Kyoto. The JR Rail pass is not applicable on this line and it takes only 35 minutes for the journey. This line operates from a different but equally central train station. The express train leaves twice every hour and costs about 620 yen. The Kintetsu Nara station is actually closer to Nara Park, so taking this train from Kyoto to Nara has a major advantage.

 

Top 10 Must Visit Places in Nara

 

1. Todai-ji (東大寺, Eastern Great Temple)

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Todai-ji is one of the main attractions in Nara. Built in the 8th century, the temple has a far-reaching history that has prompted it to be recognised as a World Heritage Site. Within its Daibutsu-den (Great Buddha Hall), is the famous Daibutsu, The Great Buddha, originally cast in 746. It is one of the three largest and most well-known statues in Japan. The Daibutsu is 16 metres high, and is made from 437 tonnes of bronze and 130kg of gold.

The Great Buddha Hall, where the statue is located, is also stunning. One of the pillars there has a hole in it which is the same size as the Buddha statue’s nostril. It is believed that crawling through this hole will bring you happiness and legend says that one will receive enlightenment in the next life by doing so. Make sure to keep your eyes open to find this hole in a supporting pillar!

Address: 406-1 Zoshichou, Nara City
Opening Hours:
8am-4:30pm (November-February)
8am-5pm (March)
7:30am-5:30pm (April-September)
7:30am-5pm (October)
Admission:
Adults: 500 yen
Children below 12: 300 yen
Last entry at 30 minutes before closing
Phone: +81-742-22-5511

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Hotel New Wakasa (0.5 km from Todai-ji Temple)
    Address: 1 Higashimachi, Kita-Handa, Nara-shi 630-8274, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-23-5858
    Website: http://wakasa-bettei.com/lg_en/
  2. Kikusuiro (0.9 km from Todai-ji Temple)
    Address: 1130 Takahatacho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-23-2002
    Website: http://www.kikusuiro.com
  3. Daibutsukan (1 km from Todai-ji Temple)
    Address: 250 Takahatacho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-23-5111
    Website: http://www.daibutu.com/english/

 

2. Horyu-ji (法隆寺, Temple of the Flourishing Law)

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Horyu-ji is the oldest temple in Japan as well as the oldest wooden temple in the world. It was founded by Prince Shotoku in 607 who is considered to be a great patron of Japanese Buddhism. Before the capital moved to Kyoto at the end of the 8th century, Horyu-ji was one of the seven great temples that flourished in the capital. This list of seven great temples includes: Todai-ji, Daian-ji, Yakushi-ji, Saidai-ji, Gango-ji, Horyu-ji, and Kofuku-ji. Horyu-ji’s five-storey pagoda is exceptionally popular and admission is free.

Both the main hall and the five-storey pagoda were originally built around 600 CE but rebuilt around 700 CE after a fire. The other 26 buildings within the complex were built before 800 CE. The main hall, pagoda and the 26 buildings are all undisputedly the oldest wooden buildings in the world. As the pagoda was built first, it deserves the title for being the absolute oldest wooden building in the world. They are all undoubtedly part of a World Heritage Site.

Horyu-ji is also known to house the country’s rarest and most important treasures including priceless relics from the Asuka (538-710) and Nara (710-794) periods, the Kudara Kannon and the Dream-changing Kannon.

Address: 1-1 Horyuji Sannai, Ikaruga, Ikoma
Opening Hours:
8am-5pm (February 22-November 3)
8am-4:30pm (November 4-February 21)
Admission: 1000 yen
Phone: +81-745-75-2555

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Kakimotoya (5.4 km from Horyuji Temple)
    Address: 5-8 Shigisan Higashi, Ikoma-gun, Sango-cho 636-0831, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-745-72-8000
    Website: http://www.kakimotoya-english.com
  2. Gyokuzoin (5.9 km from Horyuji Temple)
    Address: 2280 Shigisan, Ikoma-gun, Heguri-cho 636-0923, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-745-72-2881
    Website: https://www.tripadvisor.com.my/Hotel_Review-g1121312-d1368330-Reviews-Gyokuzo_in-Heguri_cho_Ikoma_gun_Nara_Prefecture_Kinki.html
  3. Grand Sunpia Nara (6.3 km from Horyuji Temple)
    Address: 92-15 Takadacho, Yamatokoriyama 639-1132, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-743-51-1120
    Website: https://travel.rakuten.com/hotel/Japan-Nara_Prefecture-Yamatokoriyama-Grand_Sunpia_Nara/145493/

 

3. Nara Koen (奈良公園, Nara Park)

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Nara Koen is large park located in central Nara established in 1880. It is the location many of Nara’s main attractions such as Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Kasuga Taisha and the Nara National Museum. The park is home to hundreds of deer that roam free within its vicinity. As deer were considered to be messengers of the gods in Shintoism, they have become a symbol of the city and are designated as a natural treasure.

Shinto (“the way of the gods”) is Japan’s major religion alongside Buddhism and is an indigenous religion. It is as old as Japan itself. The deer at Nara are surprisingly tame unless you attempt to feed them which is when they can be aggressive. Nevertheless, there are shika-senbei (rice crackers) being sold at 150 yen around the park and some deer have learned to approach visitors and ask to be fed.

This park has picturesque scenery during all four seasons, making it an excellent place to visit during any time of the year.

Address: Noboriojicho, Nara-shi
Opening Hours: 24 hours daily
Admission: Free

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Hotel Sunroute Nara (0.8 km from Nara Park)
    Address: 1110 Takabatakecho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-22-5151
    Website: http://www.sunroute.jp/english/hotelinfo/kinki/nara/index.html
  2. Tsukihitei (1.2 km from Nara Park)
    Address: 158 Kasuganocho, Nara 630-8212, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-26-2021
    Website: http://www.gambo-ad.com/english/hotel/index.php?ar=13&id=78
  3. Hotel Asyl Nara (1.6 km from Nara Park
    Address: 1-58 Aburasakacho, Nara 630-8247, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-22-2577
    Website:https://www.worldheritage.co.jp/asyl/en/

 

4. Kasuga Taisha (春日大社, Kasuga Grand Shrine)

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Kasuga Taisha is a World Heritage Site built around the 8th century by the Fujiwara family and served as their tutelary shrine established to the deity responsible for the protection of the city. The Fujiwara were exceptionally influential during most of the Nara and Heian periods. Kasuga Taisha has been rebuilt periodically, every 20 years, for many centuries. However, the periodic rebuilding was discontinued at the end of the Edo Period.

Considered one of the model shrines of Nara, Kasuga Taisha is adorned with hundreds of lanterns offered by worshippers that gives a touch of subtle elegance to the shrine. The lanterns are only lit during the bi-annual Lantern Festivals that occur in early February and mid-August respectively.

Visitors can explore beyond the shrine’s offering hall for free and pay an admission fee to go into the inner area that provides a closer view of the shrine’s inner buildings. In inner most area lies the main sanctuary that contains multiple shrine buildings. These buildings display the distinctive Kasuga style of shrine architecture that is characterised by a slanting roof extending over the front of the building.

Address: 160 Kasugano-cho
Opening Hours:
6am-6pm (April-September)
6:30am-5pm (October-March)
Inner area: 8:30am-4pm (closes occasionally)
Admission: Free (outer area), 500 yen (inner area)
Phone: +81-742-22-7788

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Kotonoyado Musashino (0.4 km from Kasuga Grand Shrine)
    Address: 90 Kasuganocho, Nara 630-8212, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-22-2739
    Website: http://www.yado-web.com/kinki/nara/nara04/nara04.html
  2. Nara Hotel (1.3 km from Kasuga Grand Shrine)
    Address: 1096 Takabatake-cho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-26-3300
    Website: http://www.narahotel.co.jp/eng/
  3. Asukasou (1.5 km from Kasuga Grand Shrine)
    Address: 1113-3 Takabatakecho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-26-2538
    Website: http://www.asukasou.com/english/index.html

 

5. Kofuku-ji (興福寺, Kofukuji Temple)

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Kofuku-ji was once the Fujiwara’s family temple that was transferred from Kyoto in 710. Situated just a short walk from Nara’s centre in the Nara Park, is one of the city’s “Big Three” must-see temples along Todai-ji and Horyu-ji. Being one of the most beautiful and historic temples, Kofuku-ji is naturally listed as a World Heritage Site.

Established at the same time as Nara itself in 710, Kofuku-ji used to consist of over 150 buildings at the height of Fujiwara’s power. Today, a few of these buildings of great historic value still remain, including the famous three-storey and five-storey pagodas first built in 730 and recently rebuilt in 1426. The five-storey pagoda is 50m high and is Japan’s second tallest, seven meters shorter than the five-storey pagoda at Kyoto’s Toji Temple. The Kofuku-ji’s pagoda is both a landmark and symbol of Nara.

Within the Kofuku-ji compound is the National Treasure Museum, the Eastern Golden Hall, and the Northern and Southern Octagonal Halls. The National Treasure Museum was recently renovated and exhibits part of the temple’s great Buddhist art collection, while the Eastern Golden Hall features a large wooden Yakushi Buddha (Medicine Buddha) statue. Both Northern and Southern Octagonal Halls date back over a thousand years, and also house some of the temple’s precious artefacts. The reconstruction of these two buildings were completed in 1210 and 1789 respectively, and are open to the public only for a few days in a year.

Kofuku-ji’s main building was the Central Golden Hall, which was unfortunately destroyed in 1717 due to fire. A smaller scale replacement hall was built in the 1800s and has recently undergone a restoration project, to mirror its former glory. Reconstruction works are currently ongoing and are scheduled to be completed in the year 2018.

Address: 48 Noborioji-cho
Opening Hours: 9am-5pm, the grounds are open around the clock
Admission: 600 yen for the National Treasure Museum; 300 yen for the Eastern Golden Hall (800 yen combined ticket)
Phone: +81-742-22-5370

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Sarusawaike Yoshidaya (0.1 km from Kofuku-ji Temple)
    Address: 246 Takabatakecho, Nara 630-8301, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-23-2225
    Website: https://travel.rakuten.com/hotel/Japan-Nara_Prefecture-Nara-Sarusawaike_Yoshidaya/50455/
  2. Yado Yoshino (0.2 km from Kofuku-ji Temple)
    Address: 19 Imamikado-cho, Nara 630-8374, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-22-3727
    Website: http://www.yado-yoshino.com
  3. Ryokan Matsumae (0.3 km from Kofuku-ji Temple)
    Address: 28-1 Higashi Terabayashicho, Nara 630-8362, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-22-3686
    Website: http://www.matsumae.co.jp/index2.html

 

6. Heijo-kyu (平城宮, Heijo Palace or Nara Imperial Palace)

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Heijo-kyu was the central part of Nara when it was Japan’s capital. The original building was unfortunately destroyed and its reconstructed building now operates as a historical information centre for visitors to catch a glimpse of what the area was like over 1,000 years ago as the centre of politics, culture and religion. Its architecture was inspired by Chang-an, the ancient capital of the Chinese Tang dynasty.

Heijo-kyu is also a World Heritage Site that still displays Nara’s glory to a certain degree. It thrived as the first large-scale international city of Japan. Heijo-kyu is considered a part of national cultural heritage, and is also designated as one of Japan’s Special Historic Sites. The Agency for Cultural Affairs implemented the “Basic Scheme for the Preservation and Development of the Heijo Palace Site as a Special Historic Site” in 1978 making Heijo-kyu the place where the ancient culture of Japan is passed onto future generations.

Address: Saki-cho, Nara-shi
Opening Hours: 9am-4:30pm
Closing Days: Mondays (or following day if Monday is a national holiday), December 29 to January 3
Admission: Free
Phone: +81-742-30-6753

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Nara Royal Hotel (1.2 km from Heijokyu Ruins)
    Address: 254-1 Hokkejicho, Nara 630-8001, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-34-1131
    Website: http://www.nara-royal.co.jp/lang/index.html
  2. Toyoko Inn Nara Shin Omiya Ekimae (1.7 km from Heijokyu Ruins)
    Address: 4-3-2 Shibatsujicho, Nara 630-8114, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-36-1045
    Website: http://www.toyoko-inn.com/e_hotel/00183/
  3. Hotel Nikko Nara (2.6 km from Heijokyu Ruins)
    Address: 8-1 Sanjo Hommachi, Nara 630-8122, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-35-8831
    Website: https://www.okura-nikko.com/japan/nara/hotel-nikko-nara/

 

7. Yoshino-yama (吉野山, Mount Yoshino)

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Yoshino-yama is a magnificent mountain best known for its sakura blossom. It has 30,000 sakura trees planted around the slopes that gives a spectacular view during mid-April every year. Visitors can easily see 1,000 sakura blossom trees at once that gives rise to the expression hitome senbon, which means “a thousand trees at a glance”.

Besides the spring sakura blossoms, stunning views can also be enjoyed throughout the year here, especially the autumn leaves. Yoshino-yama offers spectacular scenery throughout the year: new green leaves in summer, hydrangeas in June during the rainy season, autumn leaves at the end of October, and white landscapes in winter.

The whole of Mt. Yoshino is registered as World Heritage Site, and includes World Heritage Buildings such as the Yoshino Mikumari Shrine, the Kinpu Shrine, the Kinpusenji Temple and the Yoshimizu Shrine.

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Ebisukan (0.2 km from Mt. Yoshinoyama)
    Address: Yoshino-gun, Yoshino-cho 639-3115, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-746-32-3031
    Website: http://www.ebisukan.yoshino.jp
  2. Yumoto Hounoya (0.2 km from Mt. Yoshinoyama)
    Address: Nakasenbonkoen, Yoshinoyama, Yoshino-gun, Yoshino-cho 639-3115, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-746-325-121
    Website: https://www.kayak.com/Yoshino-Hotels-Yumoto-Hounoya.799316.ksp
  3. Ikkyuan (0.4 km from Mt. Yoshinoyama)
    Address: 240-1 Sakai-machi Muromachi-dori Gojo Sagaru 2 chome, Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto 600-8162
    Phone: +81-75-342-2123
    Website: https://www.nagomi-kyoto.com/ikkyuan/eng/

 

8. Yakushi-ji (薬師寺, Healing Buddha Temple)

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Yakushi-ji (薬師寺) was constructed by the 40th emperor of Japan, Emperor Tenmu (r. 673-686 CE), in the late 7th century dedicated to the recovery of the sick Empress. Yakushi-ji is a World Heritage Site that has eight buildings within its grounds that form a strictly symmetric layout: on a central axis are the main and lecture halls flanked by two pagodas. Its unique architectural style is another one that was inspired by Chang-an, the ancient capital of China during the Tang dynasty.

Yakushi-ji is one of Nara’s seven great temples and the mother temple of the Hosso school of Buddhism – the oldest Buddhist sect in Japan. Its main hall was rebuilt in the 1970s after being destroyed by fire and houses a Yakushi (Medicine Buddha) trinity which is a masterpiece of Japanese Buddhist art, as well as among many other art objects.

The temple’s East Pagoda dates from 730 and is the only structure to have survived many fires that have beset the temple over the years. Just like the West Pagoda, it is three-storeys high though it appears to have six stories. The Yakushi Nyorai (Medicine Buddha) statue housed here is a national treasure from the Hakuho Period (645-710). It is 255cm high and cast in bronze. It was commissioned by Emperor Temmu in 680. The complex is huge with many other attractions worth visiting, so it is recommended to allocate extra time to for this location during your visit.

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Construction Notice:

The Yakushi-ji’s East Pagoda is undergoing major renovation works over a time period of almost ten years (until June 2020), during which the pagoda is covered by scaffolding. The other buildings are unaffected and still make a worthwhile visit.

Address: 457 Nishinokyo-cho
Opening Hours: 8:30am-5pm, last entry at 4:30pm
Admission: 1100 yen (800 yen when Genjo-sanzoin Garan is closed)
Closing days: Genjo-sanzoin Garan is closed from mid-January through February, from July to mid-September (except Obon in mid-August) and in December
Phone: +81-742-33-6001

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Accommodation Nearby

  1. Sun Hotel Nara (3.4 km from Yakushiji Temple)
    Address: 4-21 Sanjohonmachi, Nara 630-8122, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-25-2111
    Website: http://www.sunhotelnara.jp
  2. Comfort Hotel NARA (3.5 km from Yakushiji Temple)
    Address: 321 3 Sanjo cho, Nara 630-8244, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-25-3211
    Website: https://travel.rakuten.com/hotel/Japan-Nara_Prefecture-Nara-Comfort_Hotel_Nara/70284/
  3. Super Hotel JR Nara Ekimae (3.7 km from Yakushiji Temple)
    Address: 500-1 Sanjocho, Nara 630-8244, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-27-9000
    Website: http://www.superhoteljapan.com/en/s-hotels/nara-lohas/

 

9. Chugu-ji (中宮寺, Chugu-ji Temple)

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Chugu-ji is located next to the Horyu-ji Temple and is a historic nunnery located in the Ikaruga district, south west of Nara. It is a small temple but famous for housing Japan’s two national treasures in the Main Hall, which are a superb Miroku Bosatsu (Bodhisattva Maitreya) statue, and a replica of the Tenjukoku Shucho Mandala that was embroidered after the death of Prince Shotoku by imperial courtiers. Chugu-ji belongs to the Shotoku school temple of Japanese Buddhism.

Chugu-ji was originally the palace of Prince Shotoku’s mother during the Asuka Period (538-710) and converted into a nunnery by Prince Shotoku after his mother’s death. Chugu-ji’s chief priestesses were traditionally imperial princesses. The temple is considered one of the three Yamato monzeki nunneries, that is to say that the temple has a special connection with the imperial family since the chief monk or nun would often be a member of the imperial family.

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One of the main attractions of Chugu-ji is the black camphor wood statue of Miroku that sits in the Main Hall. It is regarded as a classic of Asuka Period art that was described as: “one of the three smiling masterpieces of the world along with the Sphinx of Egypt and the Mona Lisa painted by Leonardo da Vinci.” in a temple pamphlet. The Miroku sits with its right hand raised to its face in thought and was believed to have been originally painted but had a lacquer finishing that gives the image its unique resinous black colour.

Address: 1-1-2 Horyuji-kita Ikaruga-cho, Ikaruga-gun
Opening Hours: 9am-4:30pm March 21-September 30; 9am-4pm October 1-March 20
Admission: 500 yen or 400 yen if you have bought a ticket to Horyuji
Phone: +81-745-75-2106

Accommodation Nearby

  1. Sun Hotel Yamatokoriyama (3.7 km from Chuguji Temple)
    Address: 635-1 Tsutsuicho, Yamatokoriyama 639-1123, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-743-23-0111
    Website: http://www.sunhotel-yamatokoriyama.com
  2. Super Hotel Nara Yamatokoriyama (4.7 km from Chuguji Temple)
    Address: 205-1 Sugimachi, Yamatokoriyama 639-1121, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-743-57-9800
    Website: http://www.superhoteljapan.com/en/s-hotels/nara/
  3. Shiroyama (9.0 km from Chuguji Temple)
    Address: 15-12 Monzencho, Ikoma 630-0266, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-743-73-4717
    Website: https://www.booking.com/hotel/jp/shiroyama-ryokan.html

 

10. Nara-machi (奈良町, “Nara Town”)

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Registered as a Unesco World Heritage Site, Nara-machi was developed into a merchant district around the 15th century. Prior to that, the whole area used to be occupied almost fully by Gango-ji’s once-spacious grounds. The temple was one of the most important temples in Japan during the Nara Period.

In the Edo and earlier periods, many buildings of Nara-machi were machiya – a long and narrow townhouse-like building that served as the local shops for merchants and living quarters similar to those in Kyoto. The machiya store fronts were often kept narrow for tax savings, as taxes were calculated based on a machiya’s street access rather than its total size. Though once a sprawling compound, a handful of machiya and temple buildings have been preserved today as museums, cafes and shops.

Nara-machi is particularly atmospheric when most of the visitors have dispersed and the lanterns in restaurants are being lit. The Edo period is really brought back to life as you stroll down these traditional Japanese streets.

Here is a list of Nara-machi’s main attractions:

  1. Gango-ji (元興寺, Gango-ji Temple)
    Opening Hours: Daily 9am-5pm, last admission at 4:30pm
    Admission: 500 yen
    KN48-1
    Gango-ji Temple was one of Nara’s seven great temples, and originates as Asukadera (Japan’s oldest temple) in Asuka that was moved to Nara in 718. Gango-ji today is only a small fraction of what it used to be.
  2. Koshi-no-Ie (ならまち格子の家, Nara-machi Lattice House)
    Opening Hours: 9am-5pm
    Closing Days: Mondays and the day following a national holiday (except weekends), December 26 to January 5
    Admission: Free
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    Koshi-no-Ie Residence was a former merchant home that is preserved and opened to the public.
  3. Nara Kogei-kan (なら工藝館, Nara Craft Museum)
    Opening Hours: 10am-6pm, last admission at 5:30pm
    Closing Days: Mondays and the day following a national holiday (except weekends), December 26 to January 5, and between exhibitions
    Admission: Free
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    This museum serves as an introduction house to famous Nara’s arts and crafts such as kogakumen masks, high-quality writing brushes and inks, etc.
  4. Nara-machi Shiryo-kan (奈良町資料館, Nara-machi History Museum)
    Opening Hours: Daily 10am-4pm
    Admission: Free
    KN48-4
    This museum in the centre of Nara-machi exhibits many artefacts related to the district’s history with explanations in Japanese only.
  5. Imanishi-ke Sho-in (今西家書院, Imanishike Shoin Traditional House)
    Opening Hours: 10am-4pm, last admission at 3:30pm
    Closing Days: Mondays, summer holidays and winter holidays
    Admission: 350 yen
    KN48-5
    This residence is located in the eastern part of Nara-machi and was a former residence of the Kofuku-ji temple official. It has a large interior, a pleasant garden, and a space for enjoying green tea and Japanese desserts.

KN49

Accommodation Nearby

  1. People’s Inn Hanakomichi (0.9 km from Nara-machi)
    Address: 23 Konishicho, Nara 630-8226, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-26-2646
    Website: http://hanakomichi.co.jp/en/index28.html
  2. Toyoko Inn Nara Kintetsu Eki-mae (1.0 km from Nara-machi)
    Address: 16-1 Nishimikadocho, Nara 630-8225, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-85-1045
    Website: https://www.toyoko-inn.com/e_hotel/00249/index.html
  3. Tenpyo Ryokan (2.8 km from Nara-machi)
    Address: 9 Higashimukinakamachi, Nara 630-8215, Nara Prefecture
    Phone: +81-742-22-0551
    Website: https://www.agoda.com/tenpyo-ryokan/hotel/nara-jp.html?cid=-218

 

Travel Books

Before you go to Japan we highly recommend you read A Geek in Japan: Discovering the Land of Manga, Anime, Zen, and the Tea Ceremony for a better understanding of modern Japanese culture and lifestyle.

Authors: Hector Garcia

KN50

Comprehensive and well informed, it covers a wide array of topics in short articles accompanied by sidebars and numerous photographs, providing a lively digest of the society and culture of Japan. Designed to appeal to the generations of Westerners who grew up on Pokemon, manga and video games, A Geek in Japan reinvents the culture guide for readers in the Internet age.

Spotlighting the originality and creativity of the Japanese, debunking myths about them, and answering nagging questions like why they’re so fond of robots, author Hector Garcia has created the perfect book for the growing ranks of Japanophiles in this inspired, insightful and highly informative guide.

 

How to move around Japan

The best way to get around Japan is by using a Japan Rail Pass, a very convenient and budget-friendly way to travel throughout the country. For train route ideas and city guides, check out the Japan by Rail book.

Authors: Ramsey Zarifeh

KN51

Practical information – planning your trip; what to take; getting to Japan from Europe, North America and Australasia

City guides and maps – where to stay (all budgets), where to eat, what to see in 30 towns and cities; historical and cultural background

Kilometer-by-kilometer route guides – covering train journeys from the coast into the mountains, from temple retreat to sprawling metropolis and from sulphurous volcano to windswept desert; 34 route maps

Railway timetables – Bullet trains and all routes in this guidebook

Plus – Customs, etiquette, Japanese phrases and 40 color photos

 
Sources:

  • https://www.jnto.go.jp
  • https://matcha-jp.com/en/2548
  • https://www.tsunagujapan.com/8-must-see-sights-in-nara-the-first-capital-of-japan/
  • http://www.cyclekyoto.com/kyoto-to-nara
  • https://japancheapo.com/travel/touring-kyoto-nara-kobe-osaka-cheap-thru-pass/
  • https://www.travelocafe.com/2013/02/kyoto-japan-top-places-attractions-to-visit-see.html
  • https://theculturetrip.com/asia/japan/articles/the-top-10-things-to-do-and-see-in-kyoto/
  • https://www.roughguides.com/destinations/asia/japan/kyoto-nara/
  • https://www.lonelyplanet.com/japan/kansai/kyoto
  • http://www.city.yokohama.lg.jp/ex/stat/jinko/city/new-e.html
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prefectures_of_Japan
  • http://www.japan-guide.com
  • http://www.mofa.go.jp/index.html
  • https://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/basic-info/experience-japanese-culture/the-dos-and-donts-of-manners.html
  • http://www.insidekyoto.com
  • http://www.touropia.com/tourist-attractions-in-kyoto/
  • http://www.kasugataisha.or.jp/about/index_en.html
  • http://heijo-kyo.com/en/
  • http://www.yoshinoyama-sakura.jp/english/

 
For more interesting information:

 

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About Pastor Adeline Woon

Adeline Woon is a Buddhist Pastor and a Sangha-to-be in Kechara who enjoys learning and sharing the Dharma with others. Due to her deep interest in Buddhism from a young age, Adeline enrolled herself into the Dharma Drum University in Taiwan, where she graduated with a Master in Religious Studies in 2012.
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8 Responses to Wonderful Japan – Kyoto and Nara

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  1. JP on Aug 3, 2017 at 11:29 pm

    Kyoto and Nara are 2 very beautiful cities. It’s really incredible how many temples and shrines there are in Kyoto. The Japanese have an eye for the aesthetics and keeping things clean and well maintained. It is truly magical to be there.

    Of all the places mentioned in the article, my favourite would be Todai-ji at Nara and Kyomizu-Dera Temple in Kyoto. The big buddha statue in the temple of Taodai-ji is magnificent and grand. I can sit there all day and do my prayers. The altar area of Kyomizu-Dera is surreal. It is one of the best Buddhist altar I’ve ever seen. The old wooden structure of the temple combined with tarnished bronze fixtures, bronze offering items and a gold thousand arm Kuan Yin statue were a perfect combination of understated elegance. The Japanese’s eye for detail and their taste are simply amazing.

    On a spiritual note, it would be beneficial to visit these holy temples as they are blessed by hundreds of years of prayers and good wishes. Kyoto and Nara are a must see if you ever travel to Japan.

  2. Wan Wai Meng on Jul 29, 2017 at 10:30 pm

    The pictures of the Temples so beautiful. The culture and beauty of the environment enhances the architectural structures of Japan. It almost seems like in every building the Japanese try to bring nature into the entire aesthetics of it.

  3. Fong on Jul 20, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    Religion is central to the Japanese and together with tradition, it is what keeps them rooted in a dense and fast pace life. The sheer number of temples itself tells a story of faith. Though there has been much violence in their past, there is also beauty. And, it is to this beauty of spirit and tradition that they move with towards the future.

  4. Jace Chong on Jul 19, 2017 at 10:57 pm

    Thanks Rinpoche and the blog team for sharing with us such a beautiful place on earth!

    The article is so comprehensive that with this itself, I feel like I have gone to Kyoto and Nara. It’s a well preserved place and everything is so well kept through centuries. The Buddhist temples there are beautiful, and they are rested in such beautiful scenery around it.

    I have never been to Japan, but I like their culture through the comics, books and movies that I have been reading and watching since young. I like their common discipline of keeping places in well order, and the people are very well mannered in general.

    May more tourists and visitors go to these beautiful places and get blessings from Buddha, planted seeds to practice Dharma.

    Thank you.

  5. Stella Cheang on Jul 19, 2017 at 12:53 pm

    It is impressive and inspiring at the same time to read about the way Japanese preserve their culture and tradition. They take great effort to look into details in their preservation work, for example moving the utilities underground, training modern people in the traditional of Geishe, as well as planting of 30,000 sakura trees in Yoshino-yama mountain range. These tasks are enormous but once accomplished, will achieve priceless results. Thank you, Pastor Adeline, for this comprehensive sharing.

  6. Samfoonheei on Jul 19, 2017 at 7:40 am

    Wow….there is so many place of interest Kyoto and Nara can offer to tourist.Both the cities are rich in history with many beautiful ancient temples and shrines. Nara has some of the most impressive first-rate sights in all of Japan,including the famous Daibutsu at Todai-ji Temple, Kasuga-Taisha Shrine and Nara-koen Park, with its famous semi-wild deer. Kasuga Taisha Shrine, the most significant in Nara, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site just to mention afew.
    Kyoto is the most beautiful city with more than a thousand temples, about 1,600 Buddhist temples, plus 400 Shinto shrines, a trio of palaces, and dozens of beautiful gardens and museums. Kyoto has more World Heritage Sites than any other city.That is iteresting.
    Thank you Pastor Adeline Woon for sharing such a detail informatives post , making it easier for anyone travelling there for the first time.I have not been to Japan at all ,love to one day.

  7. Anne Ong on Jul 18, 2017 at 11:04 pm

    I love to read and see pictures of beautiful places and countries. It helps to broaden my knowledge and expose me to places where i can’t go.
    I also love to know about different cultures and etiquette,the do’s and dont’s are very important to know when we visit different countries.
    Love some of the beautiful pictures such as,3. Nara Koen, Nara Park),8. Yakushi-ji, Healing Buddha Temple),7. Yoshino-yama, Mount Yoshino),6. Arashiyama Bamboo Grove,9. Chugu-ji, Chugu-ji Temple) .
    Pastor Adeline, I have commented on your beautiful article as i promised earlier. Hope to read more on beautiful countries like these. Thank you very much 🙂 _/\_

  8. CindyH on Jul 18, 2017 at 11:43 am

    Thank you for such an informative write up about Kyoto and Naro. Both are really appealing in their own way and the best part is that both have evolved and embraced modernisation without losing the historical and cultural essence. Both actually are actually big towns but apparently retain the “small town feel” due to such successful retainment of their traditions, and especially with the traditional architectures. It is also very interesting to observe the blending and compromises between old and new. Take for example, “Gion Matsuri” an annual festival of purification which takes place in July (and lasts for the entire month). It is said to be one of the oldest and largest festivals in Kyoto. Whilst this tradition started back to the ancient years as a divine solution to counter any plagues or contagious outbreak, to this day, the preservation of such tradition is still strong even when the people embrace different faiths. In fact, in addition to the annual festival, whenever an outbreak occurred, this practice would be carried out as a traditional precautionary action plan. It is also quite common to spot Geishas amongst the office workers and tourists around the towns. Their strong identification with culture and its preservation is also evident from the effort in educating people with their customs and etiquette. Be that as it may, the towns are so picturesque that one can pleasantly discover something scenic and some even breathtakingly so, at almost every corner.

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  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 10:58 PM
    Danny Bowman’s case is extreme, more of a mental problem instead of a vanity issue. However, many people around us are addicted to taking selfie. Even though it might be just showing off their beauty to gain attention, it should not be dismissed lightly. Because of their excessive love for themselves, they lack the empathy for others. This is the real issue. When someone place all the attention on themselves and expect others to do the same, it is against the practice of Bodhicitta. And if it not corrected at early stage, it will become a habituation and strong imprint that will also affect them in their next life.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/selfie-addiction-is-no-laughing-matter-psychiatrists-say.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 05:59 PM
    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this sharing on Dr. Joona Repo’s work. In his book “Phabongka Dechen Nyingpo: His Collected Works and the Guru-Deity-Protector Triad,” Dr. Joona Repo’s impartial recollections of Pabongka Rinpoche serves to debunk certain perception people have towards this erudite master, who was brought into question because of his emphasis on Dorje Shugden and what was deemed as sectarianism practices.

    Through presenting the vastness and diversity of the works by Pabongka Rinpoche and records of his teaching against sectarianism, this book empirically presents a balanced view of Pabongka Rinpoche against those baseless allegations. The fact that Pabongka Rinpoche wrote extensively about Vajrayogini and had visions of Heruka proved that he is no ordinary Lama.

    Pabongka Rinpoche was, in fact, the reincarnation of a well-known scholar Changkya Rolpay Dorje who was the Royal Tutor to the Chinese Emperors. Because of this sensitivity, Pabongka RInpoche was not recognized his lineage by the power of the day. This in itself is a hint that there are more than meet the eyes.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/the-collected-works-of-h-h-pabongka-rinpoche.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:24 PM
    Very inspiring and powerful quotes for us to have a deep thought of it. Which we will need to remember at all times in our spiritual journey.
    I do loves these quotes…
    Remember, if we wish to make an offering to our teacher, no offering is greater than that of our own dharma practice..~Geshe Tsutrim Gyeltsen

    Never abandon your spiritual teacher no matter how many inner obstacles you need to overcome……~Tsem Rinpoche

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing all these powerful quotes which will change our lives and should not be ignored.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/quotes-that-should-not-be-ignored.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:23 PM
    Wow beautiful and meaningful this precious poem wrote by Rinpoche.And the lyrics of the song made from the poem below by Gavin Gooi is fabulous. Could not beliveve it from a poem to a lovely songs. Nice to hear and i love listerning each and every words said….very touching poem from sadness to happiness expressed .Rinpoche’s Guru Devotion and the love for His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing .

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/me/a-poem-to-my-teacher.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 12:22 PM
    Its a interesting post with 2 giants countries discussing over movie market. Hollywood producers who are increasingly looking to tap the country’s fast-growing box office into China market.However there is restriction .They hopes China will increase the quota and the share of revenues more in line with international markets. And even has openly criticized China on trade.China is likely to raise the quota of imported films as part of recent trade talks.
    China are trying to protect its growing domestic film industry from Hollywood domination. The most best measure is the strict quota limiting the number.
    Brad Pitt was back in China nearly 20 years after being baned over a film about Tibet .Time has changed China policy on celebrities entering China.
    Thank you Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/china-raises-movie-quota-hollywood-on-best-behavior.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Tuesday, Aug 22. 2017 10:05 AM
    You won’t believe what this former Citibank vice president has to say. One of the most powerful and inspiring speeches you will ever hear in your life! Plse take a few moments to listen to this. It is worth it.-
    https://www.facebook.com/mercyforanimals/videos/10152917764269475/?hc_ref=ARTTZV6szVgZXaepZJFJ_-wCZ1U-SiyFA3jzC20EoNgCNwsOyTV_ELImvK3Lq_IgBBQ
  • Lin Mun
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 09:48 PM


    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these precious pictures. It shows so much about Guru Devotion and a very close Guru and student relationship. The love and care of a Guru to his students are unlimited.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/gurus-love-their-students.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 07:53 PM
    This article reminds me of how, in general, people understand the need to have a strong and fit psychic body but rarely willing to take action to go through the training. Let alone Dharma training of the mind which is much more tougher. Because our habituation has conditioned us to perceive and think a certain way, and the need to unlearn and relearn is not part of our program.

    To me, understanding the need to be trained and having the courage to go through the training is a process in itself. The mind has to be conditioned to understand the need of the training which is to eliminate the “i” and the importance of the training which is to speed up the journey of crossing the ocean of samsara.

    Most importantly, we must recognize it is very rare for us to be in a perfect human condition, meet the dharma and the perfect Guru, therefore, we must not imagine that we have time by thinking there will always be tomorrow. Actually this is the conversation in my mind sometimes… lol.

    Thank you, Rinpoche, for this article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/training-shouldnt-be-optional.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 10:54 AM
    A beautiful true story shared, I have seen patients suffered under cancer treatment ,at times I felt sad for them and lost of words at times. Most practitioners I have come across thinks of their profit but did not take a real effort to understand their patients pain. When we care for our patients, encourage them really makes a big difference in their life. In my line of duty I have seen many patients suffered in pain, fear, anxiety and very emotional. When we are in the patients shoe,, we can understand and feels the pain as well. As a health provider its only my duty to provide words of encouragement, help and care for them.
    Dr.Richard Teo spoke the very truth ,to inspire the younger generations of furture doctors when embark on their journey to be in health professioner ,to think of others too. Do agree with Dr.Richard Teo in private practice doctors made lots of money but at the end of the day they are not happy in life. We go through life attaching to things, wanting them to last forever. But they don’t last anyway. .Over time, we just came to accept that all good things in life must end. Nothing is impermanent
    Since we all know death is inevitable. To Live a meaningful life till to the fullness to learn and practice Dharma ,to transform ourselves, lighten up and makes us a better person.If you want happiness for a lifetime, helping, caring for others can change our life. We should always appreciate people when they are alive.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these inspiring post and hope more people will be inspired . Saluting Dr Richard Teo, who have touched the lives of thousands on views of life at the end of his lives.At the time of writing he has passed away since in 2012.May he have a swift rebirth.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/inspiration-worthy-words/this-will-change-your-life.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 10:53 AM
    Amazing worth travelling there to see for myself such a holy place. Being there will be a tremendous blessing as it is one of the places where Manjushri the Buddha of Wisdom’s energy abides.Wow ….As a natural reserve it is the home of China’s three holy mountains, which are Jampelyang, Chenresig and Chana Dorje.Looks very beautiful and the scenic views were just amazing to be there.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing ,i would like to travel there someday to enjoy the beauty of these Holy mountains.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/travel/excellent-travelogue-of-holy-places-in-tibet.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Monday, Aug 21. 2017 10:52 AM
    The former N.B.A. player Stephon Marbury has become a beloved celebrity since playing for professional basketball in China. Marbury was able to change China’s basketball culture.From NBA to CBA …he lead the team to national victory, winning three Chinese Basketball Association.
    A 300-square foot museum dedicated to Stephon Marbury’s career was opened in China, where the former NBA star has flourished since deciding to play there.He was given a Green card for his outstanding contributions.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this inspiring…Never give up even though he failed with the NBA but he found success after playing for CBA.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/current-affairs/stephon-marbury-embraces-china.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Sunday, Aug 20. 2017 03:09 PM
    Beautiful ,meaningful songs if you listern and reading the lyrics.
    In the stillness of remembering What you had,And what you lost…,And what you had…and what you lost …..well said i love this part.
    Fleetwood Mac was not my favourite singer though yet i enjoyed this oldies songs.
    Since now i have Dharma in me i do like to listern to Buddhist songs example of Tsongkhapa’s blessings songs and Tibetan music.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this meaningful song for relaxing after a stressful day.
  • jason
    Sunday, Aug 20. 2017 02:56 AM
    Past few years, my grandmother,Aunty, Uncle passed away. I feel sad but this also create awareness to me that death is the final destination of everyone in samsara. Practicing of Dharma really help me in knowing that we must achieve final liberation and no more rebirth.
    Besides that, we must appreciate the moment we gather with anyone and share Dharma to them.
    Thanks Datuk May to remind me that to spend more time with the love one. I really grateful to my family and friends.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/a-generation-gone.html
  • Tsem Rinpoche
    Sunday, Aug 20. 2017 01:03 AM
    For steven d –

    Dear Steven, Thank you for your question. I appreciate your wish to become better, improve your health and to continue your journey.

    In regards to your question, there are many dimensions that need to be addressed in order to ‘assign’ a specific Buddha’s practice for a person. Some of the factors are:

    1. Temperament
    2. Malady
    3. karmic affinity
    4. Immediate pressing needs
    5. Long term needs
    6. If the person has been in dharma and understand dharma well
    7. How much time a person has daily or in general for practice/what other practices they have
    8. Living conditions (has space and quiet or with busy family)
    9. If the person is willing to take vows as there are ‘higher’ and more in-depth practices if vows can be taken
    10. How many or what other sadhanas/practices is already being done. Sometimes we can intensify one of the practices the person is already doing.

    These are a few of the factors I would examine before I suggest a practice for someone.


    Remember to always go for a qualified medical treatment in your country or place of residence and then with this treatment you can apply various spiritual practices in addition to the medical treatment.

    Spiritual practices can help heal as they purify the karma fueling the problem but medical treatment takes care of the problem that is karmically already opened. So important to do both. By doing practice you can ‘lessen’ the problem either by intensity or duration. and sometime get well. If you ask me to give a general sweeping answer for the general crowd or for a person I don’t know much about, I would suggest these practices:

    1. Black Manjushri http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=70674
    2. Avolokitesvara (Chenresig) (four armed, thousand armed, etc)
    3. Loma Gyonma http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=64691
    4. Medicine Buddha http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=44277

    Any of the the above four practices is helpful in general and overall. You don’t have to do all but just one would suffice and according to your tradition of Buddhism. You do not need initiation or take on vow commitment but you can do these practices daily and or in full retreat. Would be good to be vegetarian with good motivation as less harm done to other sentient beings directly and indirectly will help the healing process. Read up on the practices well before starting. Much information on the internet.

    It is good to learn up on the 9 round breath meditation daily also. Take 20 minutes daily to do this breath meditation. You can do the breath meditation first and then any of the four practices you choose or just breath meditation alone. (Theravadin Buddhist can just do the 9 round breath meditations daily and be consistent with this practice and you will see your mind release, open up and become calmer. You can do this breath meditation no matter who you are and if you are ill or healthy. This meditation has many benefits you can research and learn up. No ill effects with this meditation even if done ‘wrongly’.) Breath meditation is highly recommended by me for all persons both spiritual or not, young or elderly, Buddhist or otherwise as using the breath powerful and can be done anywhere and anytime. Breath is fundamental and we must breathe, so this is using meditation to manipulate the breath to heal our bodies and bring some peace to our minds. Done daily is highly beneficial.

    I hope this sincerely helps you. I send you my good wishes and for your healing. We all need healing. May you be happy, well and achieve your goals, Tsem Rinpoche
  • steven d
    Saturday, Aug 19. 2017 10:28 PM
    Namaste,

    Thank you for sharing all this beautiful buddha images, prayers and information for so many to learn from and be guided.

    Question for Rinpoche:

    What practice, prayer or deity (‘s mantra) would you advise for the uninitiated in regards to healing the causes of trauma, ptsd, dissociation and grounding into your physical body?

    I got diagnosed with PTSD 6 yrs ago, at age 29, right after my spiritual awakening after which all the past rauma revisited me in the course of 2 weeks.

    I wasn’t under the guidance of a lama or teacher at that time and still am not.

    Are there any practices you would advise? As there are so many people with trauma and PTSD (10% of the population in Western countries) , there would be so many to benefit from your wise words.

    I have read that certain deities have more affinity for certain diseases/imbalances. Are there any deities that are specifically related to releasing trauma or the above-mentioned afflictions/asymptoms.

    In love

    Steven


1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

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I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

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I pity men who occupy themselves exclusively with the transitory in things and lose themselves in the study of what is perishable, since we are here for this very end- that we may make the perishable imperishable, which we can do only after we have learned how to approach both.~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

(This quote is very powerful from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He seems to be a powerful thinker and can think beyond daily and ordinary thoughts. Like I shared, only the study of dharma is going to lead to the imperishable. Any other studies of this world only are temporarily beneficial which is perishable. Of course he is not referring to dharma, but he realized ordinary pursuits leads to perishability. If he knew dharma, he would see the vastness of Buddha\'s omniscience.  Tsem Rinpoche)
2 days ago
I pity men who occupy themselves exclusively with the transitory in things and lose themselves in the study of what is perishable, since we are here for this very end- that we may make the perishable imperishable, which we can do only after we have learned how to approach both.~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (This quote is very powerful from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. He seems to be a powerful thinker and can think beyond daily and ordinary thoughts. Like I shared, only the study of dharma is going to lead to the imperishable. Any other studies of this world only are temporarily beneficial which is perishable. Of course he is not referring to dharma, but he realized ordinary pursuits leads to perishability. If he knew dharma, he would see the vastness of Buddha's omniscience. Tsem Rinpoche)
One of the nicest Taras I\'ve seen. I like her shade of green and the lotus on the left which is lower as her hand is lower so it\'s very balanced looking. Her face looks young, motherly, kind and yet regal.
2 days ago
One of the nicest Taras I've seen. I like her shade of green and the lotus on the left which is lower as her hand is lower so it's very balanced looking. Her face looks young, motherly, kind and yet regal.
(1st photo) Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in the centre and Ven Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende on the extreme right. After the unfair ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners was forcibly instituted by Tibetan leadership onto the people and monasteries, the monasteries split. Over 600 monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery left and set up Shar Gaden Monastery. The Tibetan leadership did their best to get the authorities to close Shar Gaden Monastery but Shar Gaden had registered so there was nothing Tibetan leadership can do. It was very sad. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende left Gaden Shartse Monastery to be the abbot of the newly formed Shar Gaden Monastery in South India where they can continue Dorje Shugden practice. Prior to the ban Lati Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende can meet up, share and be close as they all had been very close. After the ban this was not allowed anymore. Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people had to be segregated. They cannot mix. The previous prime minister of the Tibetan exiled government said that Dorje Shugden people and non Dorje Shugden people are like the mustache and the mouth and it has to be separated. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
(1st photo) Kyabje Lati Rinpoche in the centre and Ven Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende on the extreme right. After the unfair ban against Dorje Shugden practitioners was forcibly instituted by Tibetan leadership onto the people and monasteries, the monasteries split. Over 600 monks from Gaden Shartse Monastery left and set up Shar Gaden Monastery. The Tibetan leadership did their best to get the authorities to close Shar Gaden Monastery but Shar Gaden had registered so there was nothing Tibetan leadership can do. It was very sad. Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende left Gaden Shartse Monastery to be the abbot of the newly formed Shar Gaden Monastery in South India where they can continue Dorje Shugden practice. Prior to the ban Lati Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende can meet up, share and be close as they all had been very close. After the ban this was not allowed anymore. Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people had to be segregated. They cannot mix. The previous prime minister of the Tibetan exiled government said that Dorje Shugden people and non Dorje Shugden people are like the mustache and the mouth and it has to be separated. Tsem Rinpoche
You can see in this 2nd photo, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche blessing a child and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende standing next to the child. The monasteries were happy, united and had good samaya with each other prior to the ban. The ban destroyed everything and unity and harmony. It is very sad to see this. These pictures are from Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende\'s collection. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
You can see in this 2nd photo, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche blessing a child and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende standing next to the child. The monasteries were happy, united and had good samaya with each other prior to the ban. The ban destroyed everything and unity and harmony. It is very sad to see this. These pictures are from Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Phende's collection. Tsem Rinpoche
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, His Eminence Lati Rinpoche (next to Zong Rinpoche) and below Lati Rinpoche is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche (sitting below Lati Rinpoche). This is a puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery. A rare and blessed photo and nice to save. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche on the throne, His Eminence Lati Rinpoche (next to Zong Rinpoche) and below Lati Rinpoche is Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche (sitting below Lati Rinpoche). This is a puja in Gaden Shartse Monastery. A rare and blessed photo and nice to save. Tsem Rinpoche
ou can save this rare thangka of 1,000 armed Heruka. I\'ve never seen this thangka or any of this form before and it\'s the first time. You can print out or keep or use. I found this online and it\'s beautiful. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned this Heruka 30 years ago to us and since then I have never seen this in painting or statue at all till now. He has many legs and many faces too. Very special and unique. Seeing Heruka or thinking of Heruka plants the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstream. Tsem Rinpoche
4 days ago
ou can save this rare thangka of 1,000 armed Heruka. I've never seen this thangka or any of this form before and it's the first time. You can print out or keep or use. I found this online and it's beautiful. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned this Heruka 30 years ago to us and since then I have never seen this in painting or statue at all till now. He has many legs and many faces too. Very special and unique. Seeing Heruka or thinking of Heruka plants the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstream. Tsem Rinpoche
This is Venerable Lhakpa Tsering from Tibet. He has passed away a few years back of natural causes and as he was older. He was one of the high ranking and official oracle of Dorje Shugden, Namka Barzin, Kache Marpo and several other high protectors. He was famous in Tibet for his correct trance of Dorje Shugden and extremely powerful clairvoyance advice of Dorje Shguden. He has been taking trance since Tibet. In 1959 he left Tibet for India and settled in Kalimpong. He continued to take trance in Kalimpong of Dorje Shugden for government officials, local persons, high lamas, monasteries, nuns, monks and even foreigners. For over 40 years his wonderful oracular ability to take trance and give advice and prophecies has benefited so many people. He was trained and blessed as an oracle by the previous Dromo Geshe Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery. I\'ve had a chance to stay at his house, meet him and see him in trance. It was a great blessing and amazing experience. Tsem Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
This is Venerable Lhakpa Tsering from Tibet. He has passed away a few years back of natural causes and as he was older. He was one of the high ranking and official oracle of Dorje Shugden, Namka Barzin, Kache Marpo and several other high protectors. He was famous in Tibet for his correct trance of Dorje Shugden and extremely powerful clairvoyance advice of Dorje Shguden. He has been taking trance since Tibet. In 1959 he left Tibet for India and settled in Kalimpong. He continued to take trance in Kalimpong of Dorje Shugden for government officials, local persons, high lamas, monasteries, nuns, monks and even foreigners. For over 40 years his wonderful oracular ability to take trance and give advice and prophecies has benefited so many people. He was trained and blessed as an oracle by the previous Dromo Geshe Rinpoche of Sera Jey Monastery. I've had a chance to stay at his house, meet him and see him in trance. It was a great blessing and amazing experience. Tsem Rinpoche
Why seek anything else when you have the illustrious practice of Vajra Yogini from the lineage of the Crazy Wisdom Mahasiddha Naropa? Nothing in samsara created by ordinary men can surpass the practice of Vajra Yogini elucidated to us by the Buddha. Nothing in samsara’s knowledge no matter how incredible can surpass the knowledge embodied in the dharma by the Buddha. Samsara knowledge is limited. When we study Buddha’s knowledge (Dharma) it guarantees our future with no limitations. Spend more time studying dharma than samsaric knowledge. Why even compare? Surrender samsara as death and loss are it’s only results and engage in Dharma practice all the way. Vajra Yogini is dharma and dharma is Vajra Yogini. Give everything for Vajra Yogini’s practice. Start now as a preliminary practice even without initiation (blog article: Starting on Vajra Yogini Now- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4395). Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Why seek anything else when you have the illustrious practice of Vajra Yogini from the lineage of the Crazy Wisdom Mahasiddha Naropa? Nothing in samsara created by ordinary men can surpass the practice of Vajra Yogini elucidated to us by the Buddha. Nothing in samsara’s knowledge no matter how incredible can surpass the knowledge embodied in the dharma by the Buddha. Samsara knowledge is limited. When we study Buddha’s knowledge (Dharma) it guarantees our future with no limitations. Spend more time studying dharma than samsaric knowledge. Why even compare? Surrender samsara as death and loss are it’s only results and engage in Dharma practice all the way. Vajra Yogini is dharma and dharma is Vajra Yogini. Give everything for Vajra Yogini’s practice. Start now as a preliminary practice even without initiation (blog article: Starting on Vajra Yogini Now- http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=4395). Humbly, Tsem Rinpoche
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sada Andreyev. She visited him in Los Angeles. Taken in Tsem Rinpoche\'s room in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre.
3 weeks ago
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sada Andreyev. She visited him in Los Angeles. Taken in Tsem Rinpoche's room in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre.
Young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sonia Waskin. She visited him in Los Angeles, California.
3 weeks ago
Young Tsem Rinpoche with his cousin Sonia Waskin. She visited him in Los Angeles, California.
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Taken outside of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre where Tsem Rinpoche was living. Los Angeles, California, USA
3 weeks ago
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Taken outside of Thubten Dhargye Ling Buddhist Centre where Tsem Rinpoche was living. Los Angeles, California, USA
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Los Angeles, California, USA
3 weeks ago
Pictures of the teenage Tsem Rinpoche with his two cousins Sonia and Sada. Los Angeles, California, USA
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his parents Boris and Dana Bugayeff. And on the extreme right is Tsem Rinpoche\'s cousin Toktun Gugajew. This was in Howell, New Jersey, USA
3 weeks ago
The young Tsem Rinpoche with his parents Boris and Dana Bugayeff. And on the extreme right is Tsem Rinpoche's cousin Toktun Gugajew. This was in Howell, New Jersey, USA
Tsem Rinpoche attending the wedding of Carmen Kichikov\'s brother. Tsem Rinpoche is 2nd from the right and in his adolescence. Howell, New Jersey, USA
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche attending the wedding of Carmen Kichikov's brother. Tsem Rinpoche is 2nd from the right and in his adolescence. Howell, New Jersey, USA
When my adorable Dharma boy came home to me. I love you Dharma boy. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
When my adorable Dharma boy came home to me. I love you Dharma boy. Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche in Taiwan as a baby where he was born
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche in Taiwan as a baby where he was born
Tsem Rinpoche as a baby holding an umbrella
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche as a baby holding an umbrella
Think about this...
3 weeks ago
Think about this...
Our frustrations have meaning when it\'s for others and a greater cause.
3 weeks ago
Our frustrations have meaning when it's for others and a greater cause.
It is much better to be doing good things for others than just for ourselves.
3 weeks ago
It is much better to be doing good things for others than just for ourselves.
Contemplate this please...
3 weeks ago
Contemplate this please...
Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E. Continue reading here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=37831
3 weeks ago
Is there life beyond the grave? If the soul exists, does it survive death? If so, when did the belief first arise that the soul may reincarnate, to be born anew in another physical body? Before we unlock the future we must find the keys to the past. I’m Leonard Nimoy. Join me and open the door to ancient mysteries beginning now, here on A&E. Continue reading here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=37831
It was a great honour for myself and Kechara to have His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende visiting us. He is a courageous and extremely brave abbot emeritus of the monastery during it\'s most difficult time.~Tsem Rinpoche - Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132602
4 weeks ago
It was a great honour for myself and Kechara to have His Eminence Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Phende visiting us. He is a courageous and extremely brave abbot emeritus of the monastery during it's most difficult time.~Tsem Rinpoche - Please read more here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132602
This is a powerful picture of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and the current incarnation of Trijang Rinpoche meeting together in the year 2000 when Trijang Rinpoche was 18. All three lamas are Dorje Shugden practitioners. In fact Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen was the one that first encouraged my practice of Dorje Shugden when I was 16 years old when I joined his beautiful Thubten Dhargye Ling centre in Los Angeles. I lived with Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen for 8 years before proceeding to Gaden Monastery in South India. Later Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to our Los Angeles centre and granted sogtae (permission ceremony) to practice Dorje Shugden for life as requested by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen had tremendous faith in Trijang Rinpoche. 

Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was innovative, dedicated and very much focused on bringing dharma to many. He had tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden as I had the honour to meet him many times. He would seek advice from Dorje Shugden many times via the oracle of Gaden Monastery. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche have since passed away while the current Trijang Rinpoche is a perfect lineage holder and practitioner of Dharma while he keeps Dorje Shugden as his personal protector as he has done so for many lifetimes. 

This is a powerful and beautiful picture of three great lamas of Buddha’s lineage and also of Gaden Monastery. ~Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
This is a powerful picture of Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche and the current incarnation of Trijang Rinpoche meeting together in the year 2000 when Trijang Rinpoche was 18. All three lamas are Dorje Shugden practitioners. In fact Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen was the one that first encouraged my practice of Dorje Shugden when I was 16 years old when I joined his beautiful Thubten Dhargye Ling centre in Los Angeles. I lived with Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen for 8 years before proceeding to Gaden Monastery in South India. Later Kyabje Zong Rinpoche came to our Los Angeles centre and granted sogtae (permission ceremony) to practice Dorje Shugden for life as requested by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen had tremendous faith in Trijang Rinpoche. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche was innovative, dedicated and very much focused on bringing dharma to many. He had tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden as I had the honour to meet him many times. He would seek advice from Dorje Shugden many times via the oracle of Gaden Monastery. Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen and Kensur Kyabje Lati Rinpoche have since passed away while the current Trijang Rinpoche is a perfect lineage holder and practitioner of Dharma while he keeps Dorje Shugden as his personal protector as he has done so for many lifetimes. This is a powerful and beautiful picture of three great lamas of Buddha’s lineage and also of Gaden Monastery. ~Tsem Rinpoche
A beautiful photograph of a path walking down from Manjushri Hill in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
1 month ago
A beautiful photograph of a path walking down from Manjushri Hill in Kechara Forest Retreat in Malaysia.
This picture is of KB lovingly holding Mumu while he tries to stand up. I was in the room with them and someone else took this picture. It is a very sad and poignant picture because just a short while after this picture was taken, Mumu passed away with all of us present. This was the last picture of my little Mumu alive. We immediately did puja for Mumu and he is sorely missed by many as he touched our lives deeply. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This picture is of KB lovingly holding Mumu while he tries to stand up. I was in the room with them and someone else took this picture. It is a very sad and poignant picture because just a short while after this picture was taken, Mumu passed away with all of us present. This was the last picture of my little Mumu alive. We immediately did puja for Mumu and he is sorely missed by many as he touched our lives deeply. Tsem Rinpoche
For years I have been doing this everywhere I go, no matter where or what country I am in. Always be kind to animals.
1 month ago
For years I have been doing this everywhere I go, no matter where or what country I am in. Always be kind to animals.
Practising makes you better at something. If you keep practising in laziness, that is what you will become good in. If you keep practising generosity, that is what you will develop. Keep practising in what you want to become good at.
1 month ago
Practising makes you better at something. If you keep practising in laziness, that is what you will become good in. If you keep practising generosity, that is what you will develop. Keep practising in what you want to become good at.
Real spirituality is kindness.
1 month ago
Real spirituality is kindness.
Our time on this earth in this lifetime is short. It\'s our choice what will look back on when we are in our final moments.
1 month ago
Our time on this earth in this lifetime is short. It's our choice what will look back on when we are in our final moments.
Materialism, desire and greed never result in happiness.
1 month ago
Materialism, desire and greed never result in happiness.
Never ever eat our friends. Go vegetarian.
1 month ago
Never ever eat our friends. Go vegetarian.
It is a privilege to serve the Dharma and to serve others. Real freedom comes in serving others.
1 month ago
It is a privilege to serve the Dharma and to serve others. Real freedom comes in serving others.
Compared to humans and all other sentient beings, animals have just as much right to happiness and freedom.
1 month ago
Compared to humans and all other sentient beings, animals have just as much right to happiness and freedom.
Dharma is not something I engage in as something separate from me. Dharma has been me since young.
1 month ago
Dharma is not something I engage in as something separate from me. Dharma has been me since young.
How much we are willing to suffer is how compassionate we are.
1 month ago
How much we are willing to suffer is how compassionate we are.
Dharma is the medicine of the mind prescribed by the Buddha.
1 month ago
Dharma is the medicine of the mind prescribed by the Buddha.
How much effort we are willing to put into our practice, is how much results we will get.
1 month ago
How much effort we are willing to put into our practice, is how much results we will get.
What do you worship on your altar, meat or compassion? One develops coldness and encourages lack of empathy, and one choice encourages attainments.
1 month ago
What do you worship on your altar, meat or compassion? One develops coldness and encourages lack of empathy, and one choice encourages attainments.
Where does patience come from? Think about it closely
1 month ago
Where does patience come from? Think about it closely
Indian sadhus and mendicants also very happy to receive Bhagwan Dorje Shugden
1 month ago
Indian sadhus and mendicants also very happy to receive Bhagwan Dorje Shugden
Tsem Rinpoche with the great Geshe Namgyal Wangchen of Drepung Loseling Monastery. Read more: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132495
2 months ago
Tsem Rinpoche with the great Geshe Namgyal Wangchen of Drepung Loseling Monastery. Read more: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=132495
Some of my favorite people
(1st row) Alexandra David-Neel, Nicholas Roerich, Helena Roerich, Anagarika Govinda
(2nd row) Walter Evans-Wentz, John Blofeld, Bill Porter (Red Pine), Ekai Kawaguchi
2 months ago
Some of my favorite people (1st row) Alexandra David-Neel, Nicholas Roerich, Helena Roerich, Anagarika Govinda (2nd row) Walter Evans-Wentz, John Blofeld, Bill Porter (Red Pine), Ekai Kawaguchi
Do share this message and create more awareness. Thank you
2 months ago
Do share this message and create more awareness. Thank you
All that we want in samsara is just fleeting and illusionary and we are tired of chasing something that is so short lived, Lady Buddha Dakini Vajra Yogini, please embrace me as you did Naropa with great affection and lift me to your Kechara Paradise in my rainbow body. ~Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
All that we want in samsara is just fleeting and illusionary and we are tired of chasing something that is so short lived, Lady Buddha Dakini Vajra Yogini, please embrace me as you did Naropa with great affection and lift me to your Kechara Paradise in my rainbow body. ~Tsem Rinpoche
Lady Buddha Diamond Dakini Vajra Yogini, you appear in so many forms, guises and methods out of great compasion to bring me to your paradise of Kechara heaven. Bless me to waste no more time and engage in my spirituality thoroughly and may I see your coral visage soon. Bless me that I surrender all my games, attachments, projections and endless chasing of all that is futile in samsara now.... Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
Lady Buddha Diamond Dakini Vajra Yogini, you appear in so many forms, guises and methods out of great compasion to bring me to your paradise of Kechara heaven. Bless me to waste no more time and engage in my spirituality thoroughly and may I see your coral visage soon. Bless me that I surrender all my games, attachments, projections and endless chasing of all that is futile in samsara now.... Tsem Rinpoche
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. There is so much to explore. I have compiled 20 MUST VISIT places for you to see in Sri Lanka. Enjoy the post and the great pictures! Enjoy: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=127234
3 months ago
Sri Lanka is one of the most beautiful places I have visited. There is so much to explore. I have compiled 20 MUST VISIT places for you to see in Sri Lanka. Enjoy the post and the great pictures! Enjoy: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=127234
 http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/chat-pictures/chat-8yzmaqog68754.jpg Sacred and holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini being escorted from the Vajra Yogini temple on the streets on festival day to bless the masses. Tsem Rinpoche
3 months ago
http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/wp-content/gallery/chat-pictures/chat-8yzmaqog68754.jpg Sacred and holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini being escorted from the Vajra Yogini temple on the streets on festival day to bless the masses. Tsem Rinpoche
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    2 days ago
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    These are the heartbreaking scenes we see over and over again, that we share in the hopes of telling the stories of those who otherwise would have suffered and vanished from this earth without a trace. This is Norma Jean. Free for a little over five months, she knew more happiness than millions of her sisters ever will. But she couldn’t escape the fate genetically programmed into her as an egg producing machine. She seemed more lethargic than usual this morning, so we brought her inside to administer fluids and antibiotics in the hopes of pulling her through until we could get her in to see our vet. She couldn’t hang on. She died this evening shortly after this video was taken, severely infected from the rotting egg yolk adhered to various organs throughout her abdominal cavity. Like virtually every single one of her sisters, caged or free range, rescued or not, she paid the ultimate price for eggs (from FB)
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    Over 30 years ago, I made my choice that His Holiness Zong Rinpoche is my root guru and I have never wavered from it since or had second thoughts or doubted. There can never be a flaw or negative quality in anything that comes from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/great-lamas-masters/kyabje-zong-rinpoches-advice-on-dorje-shugdens-practice.html
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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

  • August 22, 2017 01:55
    jason asked: what is the significance of a solar eclipse in terms of sadhana practice besides multiplying merit
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Jason, Thank you for your question. It is good to see you here. As you have rightly pointed out, during solar eclipses the merit from engaging in virtuous actions are greatly multiplied. Therefore there are many prescribed practices one can do during these times to generate a lot of merit, such as engaging in prayers, making abundant offerings, animal liberation, taking precepts for the day, etc. In terms of sadhana practice, the main benefit here would be the multiplication of merits generated. However on a tantric level, since the movements of the planets are linked to the movement of energy within the universe, and therefore one’s body, there would be subtle changes in the psychic winds within the body as well. On the whole, the patterns of the universe are mirrored within the psychic winds in the body as well. The tantric system that deals with these movements in the most detail is the Kalachakra Tantra, which you can read more about here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/tibetan-astrology/introduction-to-tibetan-astrology.html In the Kalachakra Tantra it is said that when a solar eclipse occurs, merit is either multiplied a thousand, ten-thousand times, or a hundred-thousand times. The sun and the moon are linked with the psychic winds, channels and drops with tantric practice. According to the Kalachakra Tantra everyone breathes 21,600 time every day and our minds are said to ride on the winds within our bodies. The majority of the winds within out body are karmic winds, in that they come about and are affected by karmic tendencies. During an eclipse however, more wisdom winds are said to prevail in the body. As these circulate in the body, doing Dharma practice, especially tantric practices in which you use these winds, one can achieve spiritual attainments at a speed that would not normally be possible. In traditional mythology, there is a celestial body known as Rahu. This isn’t actually a physical planet, but a node on the orbit of the moon. When Rahu appears, he is said to swallow the sun for some time, this is the ancient explanation of a solar eclipse. Rahu is also known as the “dragon’s head”. Within the Kalachakra Tantra, practitioners use Rahu to bring the sun and the moon under control. As the sun is associated with psychic channels on the right side of the body, and the moon with psychic channels on the left side of the body, what this means is that the practitioner controls these energies and brings them into the central psychic channel instead. Thereby the solar eclipse is said to mirror a tantric yogi’s ability to bring the psychic energies of the left and right side into the central channel. Once in the central channel the yogi can engage in the higher psychic energy meditations in order to gain spiritual attainments and even enlightenment. For an everyday practitioner therefore, the main benefit of practicing during a solar eclipse is the multiplication of merit. For a tantric practitioner however, it is a time that they can make use of the energies of nature to boost their practices. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 18, 2017 01:27
    Todd asked: Does Rinpoche have any information on the deity Rakta Yamari, who is believed to be an emanation of Manjushri?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Todd, Thank you for your interesting question. Rakta Yamari is indeed a wrathful emanation of Manjushri, in the form of a yidam or meditational deity belonging to the Anuttarayoga, or highest tantra, class of deities. The practice has been incorporated into all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism: the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug. Generally speaking some of the wrathful forms of Manjushri can be classified into three groupings, the Rakta (blood-red), Krishna (blue-black), and Vajrabhairava (adamantine terrifying). Since Rakta Yamari is therefore a classification of deities, it would be hard to give information here on all of them. The specific forms of Rakta Yamari differ in how the main figure appears and the number of other deities in the mandala. Of particular note, is that each of these forms and their practices has their own lineage of practice as well. Whilst there are forms of all three classifications within the four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, certain lineages place more emphasis on a particular form than others. For example, within the Gelug lineage emphasis is placed on Vajrabhairava Yamantaka, of which there are two forms in particular that are practiced: 13-deity Yamantaka, and Solitary Hero Yamantaka. In fact Vajrabhairava Yamantaka is one of the three main Anuttarayoga Tantra deities practiced in the Gelug lineage, which we follow, alongside the Akshobhyavajra variant of Guhyasamaja and Chakrasamvara. There are two important lineages of Rakta Yamari practice: the 13-deity Rakta Yamari, and the 5-deity Rakta Yamari practice. Both of these practices can be traced back to an important lineage holder, the Indian Mahasiddha Virupa. In the case of the 5-deity Rakta Yamari lineage, he was taught the practice by a wisdom dakini. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 17, 2017 19:26
    Aldric Wilson DuXing asked: How can the alleged "DiSanShr" "Dorje Chang Fo" Yi Yun Gao be the actual incarnation of Buddha Dipankara Buddha?
    Pastor Niral Patel answered: Dear Aldric Wilson DuXing, Thank you for your question. Unfortunately, I do not know much about Yi Yun Gao to be able to comment on this. However, within Buddhism we do believe that the Buddhas, out of their compassion appear in human form to help sentient beings in whatever way they can. Within Tibetan Buddhism there is a long history of recognising great masters as the physical body emanations (also known as tulkus) of the Buddhas. The logic behind this is that the Buddhas are all compassionate and so help sentient beings in any and all means that they can. This would obviously include taking the physical form of a human. To say that the Buddhas cannot or do not do this, would be limiting the abilities of the enlightened beings, which goes against the scriptures. In fact, in the scriptures it states that Buddhas can emanate out in countless different forms at the same time. This includes animate beings, such as humans, animals, etc., and also inanimate objects such as bridges, or other things. These emanations, or incarnations if in human form, can be recognised by those who have the ability to perceive the enlightened beings, such as highly attained masters or other emanations themselves. That is why you see only the highest masters within the Tibetan Buddhist traditions recognise others as incarnations of the Buddhas. Other methods of confirming this can include checking with an enlightened Dharma protector, such as Dorje Shugden, when in trance of a qualified oracle. Those who really are emanations of the enlightened beings do not actually need to be recognised as such, as they will always help others no matter if they are recognised or not. However the recognition of such beings is more for us, as practitioners to gain merit by helping them achieve their goal of helping other sentient beings. But as I mentioned earlier, these beings do not self-proclaim themselves but are recognised as such by other highly attained masters who are trustworthy and really work for the cause of helping others by upholding and practicing the holy teachings of Lord Buddha. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • August 16, 2017 00:47
    Anonymous asked: Sorry about the link not working. They can be found at dharmawheel.net and then looked under Tibetan Buddhism and then under topics which are under all the other lineage topics. Since this is recent, the title "Crazy Scandal somewhat related to Gelug hitting Taiwan" should come up. But anyway, here are the sources in that case: https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/12/mary-jin-gebis/ https://maisonneuve.org/article/2013/06/18/when-monks-come-town/ https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/08/14/bw-dorje-shugden/ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ad355FqDQuo https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XzvPhv_eldk http://www.blisswisdom.org/statement/1854-1006 https://ladakh2017blog.wordpress.com/2017/07/24/dalai-lama-speaks-to-chinese-devotees-about-bliss-and-wisdom/
    No reply yet
  • August 15, 2017 01:43
    Anonymous asked: Hi, although this is not a question, I would like to bring awareness towards a particular cult in China and Taiwan that has been having scandals with their leader, Mary Jin. The cult has been defaming the Dalai Lama and has begun supporting Shugden here even though that's not really bad. However, I would like to bring attention so they may not begin corrupting the Buddhists here. Even though I used a dharmawheel website, it has links to its sources: https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=40
    pastor answered: Dear Anonymous, Thank you for bringing this to our attention, however the link you provided does not work. I do not know anything about this particular person or their organisation, so I really can’t say much. However, there are some people out there who use religion for their personal gain, and twist the teachings to suit their greed. These sorts of people are often embroiled in scandals and the like and often have views that go against common sense. That is why it is very important to check that a teacher is qualified, is practicing, and is teaching the Dharma as it should be according to the scriptures. All students are encouraged do to so and this in mentioned clearly in the scriptures themselves. The actions of a teacher should be in line with actions laid out in the scriptures and their views should match the logic laid out in the scriptures as well. Once we see a teacher’s qualities, and we have made sure that what they practice is real and genuine, we can devote ourselves to that person fully. We at Kechara, following the teachings of His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, think very highly of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, as he is the emanation of the Buddha of compassion, Chenrezig. Similarly, we also believe that Dorje Shugden is the emanation of the Buddha of wisdom, Manjushri. For us, both are enlightened beings, and many practitioners all around world follow this belief as well. We are saddened to see or hear when others talk badly about either, since both are enlightened beings capable of benefiting the world tremendously. Thank you.
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Dorje Shugden
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