Text and photos by Cristina-Elena Balaceanu
The third day of our Japanese Experience has come. After a delicious breakfast at the hotel Hean No Mori Kyoto, we started the exploration of the Japanese culture in all of its forms.
First, we went to the Temple of the Golden Pavillion or Kinkagu-ji, a Zen Buddhist Temple in Kyoto (Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for more than 1000 years).
What was very interesting about this temple, besides its beauty and amazing landscape, is that its history dates to 1397 and it was originally a villa. Thus, the present pavilion structure dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt. And if you might think that the top two stories of the pavilion are painted, you’re wrong; they are covered with pure gold leaf. Amazing, isn’t it?
We continued our journey to Higashi Honganji Temple, where we have had the unique opportunity to visit the temple from the inside. I was speechless, especially because, at that time, a ceremony was being officiated. Also, what really got our attention, was the Woven Hair Rope or Kezuna, a rope made from human hair mixed with hemp, which was used for hoisting and moving the massive wooden beams of the two main halls of the Temple.
After lunch, where we were introduced to the Japanese Table Manners, we have discovered the secrets of Noh Theatre, a major form of classical Japanese musical drama performed exclusively by men with recitative chants and a small orchestra (a flute and 2 drums) accompanying the play. It is very unique and it has definitely amazed us.
The day has finished with our trip to Hyroshima by the Japanese Express Train and with what else, if not with delicious Japanese food.
It was a day full of colours, delicious food, speechless landscapes, amazing historical facts and stories, beautiful architecture, unique arts and many smiles. It was about diversity, but at the same time, it was about unity.
We have found in our diverse culture, personal experiences and background, a way though which we understood and, most important, we expanded our perspectives towards the world we live in. We have found a unity in diversity, which could be translated into the cultural exchanges and stories we do and share every day of this project.
There are other days to come, so stay tuned and you’ll discover Japan and the MIRAI Program through the eyes of those who experiences the Japanese culture for the first time.