Ninnaji’s South Garden (仁和寺の南庭) panorama
When I lived in Japan in the 1980s I didn’t get the chance to travel outside of the Tokyo and Yamanashi area. I purchased a set of postcards at the time and looked at them often. Probably half or more were from Kyoto. The only two scenes in these twenty or so postcards that I actually saw in person in the 1980s were Mt. Fuji and a Shinkansen.
Fast forward 25 years, and I was riding a bike through Kyoto stopping at any place that looked interesting without any prior research. I ended up at the entrance gate for Ninnaji and payed 500 yen. After walking around the grounds I felt a bit ripped off. Just before leaving I saw someone hand their admission ticket to a man and enter a building so I followed suit. Moments later I realized that my 500 yen was well spent. This was one of the scenes from one of those postcards I had looked at so fondly decades before! Not only that, but the place was mostly empty. Occasionally another person would wander in and gasp at the beauty of the South Garden (dantei) before heading back out, but for the most part this was my garden to meditate in by myself.