The Philosopher’s path is a beautiful walk during cherry blossom time through the northern part of Higashiyama district. We combined walking the path with some stops along the way at various temples, and ended at the Keage Incline. The path gets its name from one of Japan’s famous philosophers – Nishida Kitaro. It’s said that he would practice meditation while walking this route on his daily commute to Kyoto University. The path follows a canal that is lined with hundreds of cherry trees which makes for a very cherry blossom walk!
The path starts at the Ginkakuji (Silver Pavillion) and ends in the neighbourhood of Nanzenji. Our first stop was at Ginkakuji, a lovely zen temple modeled after Kinkakuji (the Golden Pavillion). I found the sand cone and sand garden interesting and a great example of Japanese landscape architecture.
We continued our walk to Eikando, a Japanese Buddhist temple complex. The temple has a long history, in the Heian period (750-1185) a court noble donated his villa to a priest who then converted it into a temple. The grounds were really pretty here.
We continued along Philosopher’s path until we reached Nanzenji Temple which dates back to the mid 13th century. This is one of the most important Zen temples in all of Japan. There’s a large brick aqueduct that passes through the temple grounds. It was built during the Meiji Period (1868-1912), and it’s part of a canal system that was used to carry water and goods between Kyoto and Lake Biwa in neighbouring Shiga Prefecture.
After Nanzenji Temple, we strolled to our last stop at the Keage Incline. It used to be an important transport route but is no longer used. Little did we know how crazy busy it would be, but we saw it…kind of. The cherry blossoms sure bring out the people!
These boats on the canals carried goods that they received from the Keage Incline.
On our way back to our hotel we walked along the Okazaki Canal. Since we still had some daylight, we decided to make one more quick stop to see Heian Shrine. It has a short history, dating back to 1895. It’s dedicated to the spirits of the first and last emperors.
We came across this celebration or competition taking place at the entrance to the Shrine. We weren’t sure what was happening but there was a lot of jumping around and smiling faces.
A day just wouldn’t be complete without some kind of ‘cherry blossom’ dessert!
We kept finding these beautiful spots close to our hotel!
Where we stayed: Hotel Resol 👍