I took a bus up to northern Kyoto to visit a few places, starting with Ninnaji Temple. The temple was founded in 888 but was repeatedly destroyed over the years and none of the original buildings survive to this day. After looking around the free parts of the temple grounds I paid to go into the Goten, which used to be the high priest’s residence. The Goten is a lot nicer than you might expect for a priest’s home, but that apparently is because Nainnaji was once used as the residence for Japan’s royal family and that’s why it’s so fancy. I’d sort of describe the Goten (and Ninnaji) as a highlights reel of Japanese temples and palaces in that it’s got a bit of everything. There’s a moss garden, a rock garden, a pond with a little bridge over it, some nice rooms, elevated walkways, some small shrines, various kinds of trees, etc. While other temples and palaces do certain things bigger and better, the Goten is a good all-around place to visit.
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