When Mr. Selfish and I visited Japan in 2010, we fell in love with Kyoto and knew that we had to come back. We accordingly spent three wonderful weeks in Kyoto. The city has an astounding amount of places to visit – in fact, 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines. Not surprisingly, we never ran out of things to see.
One of our favorite places in Kyoto was the Philosopher’s Path, which is a two-kilometer stone path that Nishida Kitaro, one of Japan’s most famous philosophers, supposedly walked every day to meditate. The path starts at Ginkakuji, which is also known as the Silver Pavilion, and ends at Nanzenji Temple.
The Silver Pavilion, for which admission is 500 yen, is not actually covered in silver. Its name was meant to contrast it from the Golden Pavilion, which is covered in gold. The Silver Pavilion is located next to a dry sand garden. Mr. Selfish and I sat and admired the view of the Silver Pavilion from the sand garden.
Past the Silver Pavilion, there is a path leading you to a nice garden area with a pond and streams. Eventually, you come upon some steps and after the ascension, you are rewarded with a nice view of the city.
Afterward, we started our stroll down the Philosopher’s Path. Although the cherry blossoms were not in season, I could imagine just how beautiful the path would be in early spring.
The next temple along the Philosopher’s Path is Eikando Temple, which cost 600 yen for admission. The temple belongs to the Jodo sect of Japanese Buddhism. The grounds of the temple are quite extensive with many beautiful bridges.
You can also enter some of the buildings of the temple, which is rare. No photographs were allowed but suffice it to say, they were quite serene.
Finally, we visited the last temple on the Philospher’s Path – Nanzenji Temple. It is a Zen temple, and best of all, the grounds are free to visit.
Right next to Nazenji is Tenjuan Temple, for which admission cost 400 yen. The first area is a sand garden, in which Mr. Selfish and I just sat and enjoyed ourselves since we had it mostly to ourselves.
Leaving the sand garden, you come across a moss garden and pond. It was simply beautiful.
I highly recommend the Philosopher’s Path if you come to Kyoto. It is serene and lovely. I can see why a philosopher would take this walk every day.