It snowed in Kyoto on the last day of 2014, but I remember another snowy New Year. That was the day I went to Honkokuji beside Biwako Canal, and found scenery that took my breath away. To reach Honkokuji you must cross the red bridge over Biwako Canal and walk along the road until you reach the first red gate. Then there is a second gate of unpainted wood with guardian statues on either side. The temple was still quite new back in 2010. The wood was un-weathered, and the gate guardians, the dragon and the small torii were all gleaming gold. It was all extremely beautiful!
If you'd like to see this temple in autumn, there is a photo story here.
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I came to Japan in 2003 to teach English. I lived in Shiga prefecture for one year, and it still holds a special place in my heart. I lived in Kyoto for nine years, then moved to Machida, Tokyo in 2014 after meeting my Japanese partner. I love to take photos, and my Japan in Pictures Facebook page has some 40,000 followers. I have been the Regional Partner for Yamanashi Prefecture since 2014. I am enjoying exploring the prefectures around Tokyo (I like to get off the beaten track), and I hope the photos and stories I share will encourage more people to discover this wonderful country.