Kyoto Bike Time

Kyoto Skyline from JR Station

What happens when you’re in a city like Kyoto where there is so much to see and the topography is fairly even… you get on a bike!

On My Bike

Bundaberg, where I grew up, is very flat. It has one hill, The Hummock, an extinct volcano. Its so flat that as children we would lie on our backs in the field, and looking back towards the horizon, see the curve in the earth. Kyoto central (whilst surrounded by mountains) is fairly flat, so perfect for biking it.

Having visited Kyoto before, I was aware that moving experiences surface when you least expect them; when you are between origin and destination. Biking offered the best way to be open to these in-between discoveries.

The in-between
Shinhiyoshi Jingu Shrine
Markets at Shinhiyoshi Jingu Shrine

I was headed to Sanjūsangen-dō, a Buddhist Temple known locally as Rengeō-in or Hall of the Lotus King. The interior of the Temple is divided into thirty-three bays by sets of columns. The hall houses 1000 statues of the Bodhisattva Kannon. Each may manifest into thirty-three forms to take flight and ward off evil.

View of perimeter of Sanjūsangen-dō adjacent to Yogen-in gateway
Sanjūsangen-dō special entry with courtyard and Hall beyond
Sanjūsangen-dō Hall exterior
Sanjusangendo-Hall of 33 Bay (1995) by Sugimoto

Photography inside the temple was prohibited. Japanese Photographic Artist, Sugimoto Hiroshi, was permitted to photograph the interior for his work Sanjusangendo – Hall of 33 Bays. I still remember the first time I saw this work, first hand, while working at The Queensland Art Gallery. It echoed the experience of the place: a calmness; an eternal drawing out of time and space that you can almost hear rising out of the dark.

I left Sanjūsangen-dō, visited Yogen-in again, then rode until dusk heading in the direction of home.

A Great Day in Kyoto!

See Sanjūsangen-dō official website for Interior views.

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