Why it took me so long to get myself through the gates of Shoren-in I’ll never know. I lived in its vicinity on and off since the end of 2009 and it was less than 10 minutes walk from my front door.

I’ve walked by it on too many occasions to count when heading out or home along Higashiyama’s edge but wrote it off as just another of Kyoto’s 1600 temples…. hard to see them all really.. spoilt for choice and all that… Even my mum had managed to get there during a 2 week visit one time. She’d told me it was really lovely but I didn’t listen. Disobedient child. A really good reminder about sometimes not seeing the beautiful things right in front of our eyes. And yet another lesson in not assuming or having expectation.  Shoren-in is now on my favourite Kyoto temples list.

Once inside the first thing you see are these stunning modern screens of lotus flowers, frogs and dragonflies..

On my first visit I pawed my way across the tatami, breathing it in as the warm morning’s mild humidity allowed the mats to breathe and release.

Then sat in the sunlight for some time, gazing onto the garden, the smooth wooden deck, stepping stones, old trees and the other buildings.  I snapped away and pretended the gorgeous building was my home. The small writing desk my workspace.

Eventually I slowly wandered through the covered walkways into rooms of various sizes and energies, watching the light change over time.  This was the first time, since the events of December that I had some time to myself just to sit, the absorb and reflect and to wander without time constraints or the need to be anywhere else.  Boy did I lap it up.  Take a stroll with me?

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