It snowed in Kyoto on the last day of 2014, but I remember another snowy New Year. That was the day I went to Honkokuji beside Biwako Canal, and found scenery that took my breath away. To reach Honkokuji you must cross the red bridge over Biwako Canal and walk along the road until you reach the first red gate. Then there is a second gate of unpainted wood with guardian statues on either side. The temple was still quite new back in 2010. The wood was un-weathered, and the gate guardians, the dragon and the small torii were all gleaming gold. It was all extremely beautiful!
If you'd like to see this temple in autumn, there is a photo story here.
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I fell in love with Japan long before I came here in 2003 to teach English, and it has proved to be a lasting romance. I love the history, the traditional architecture, the food, the strange and sometimes ridiculous contrasts, and the beautiful countryside. I lived in Shiga prefecture for one year, and in Kyoto for nine years, and now I live in Machida in Tokyo. I've traveled a little in Japan, but not nearly as much as I'd like to. I like traveling by train, but my favorite way to travel is bicycle.