Zenrin-ji   禅林寺

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Between sky and forest

Also called 'the maple leaf temple"; Zenrinji is nestled in the Higashiyama mountains to the east of the ancient capital.

Perfectly integrated into the natural environment that surrounds them, the buildings stand at different levels and are connected by a series of walkways and elevated bridges. Visitors no longer touch the ground, both literally and figuratively. The dark wood of the buildings blends perfectly with the vegetation, giving the impression of strolling among the trees themselves. Its high pagoda, the Taho-te, overlooks Kyoto and offers a wonderful view.

The site is famous for its statue of Amida Buddha (belonging to Tantric Buddhism, Vajrayana), called Amida Mikaeri. Literally "Amida looking back," he is respresented with his head turned strangely, as if he wants to look over his shoulder. This movement frozen for eternity in an awkward demeanour is remarkable. The whole site is oriented towards the West, in the late afternoon the visitor can discover all its poetry. It is impossible to leave Zenrinji without looking back.

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