Daitoku-ji is a Buddhist temple in North West Kyoto founded in 1315. We heard it has a sweet bamboo garden to walk through and thought that would make a good zen spot to add to our hitlist.
We cab it over to save some time. The first building we stumble upon is Daisen-in, “The Academy of the Great Immortals”. This is a smaller sub-temple with a zen garden. They don’t allow pictures. We do a quick scoot around and it’s a peaceful, groomed sand and rock garden with found rocks that resemble boats, turtles and whatnot. The areas follow a water theme through waterfall, river, middle-sea, and ocean sections. Everything is pristine and perfect. We sit by the rock ocean for a bit and take it in.
I find it funny that you can’t take pictures but then right beside all of this spiritual stuff is a booth where they sell trinkets and cheap remakes of the temple artifacts.
We exit and soon find ourselves at a gate to what looks like the main grounds. There is a concrete walk beside the main temple and a few more sub-temples. It also looks like there are some residential buildings in here with no-entry signs and commuter cars.
Around the back is another sub-temple. You can’t go in but there is a little garden around the side.
Ok, this is all pretty neat but we wanna see that bamboo garden. We consult a map and it leads us down another well groomed path to the other side of the grounds.
…but the bamboo garden is closed! For seismic retrofit?! From June 2017 to March 2019! Sheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet! We really wanted to walk through there. I lean over the blockade to snap a pic but I’m sure it does no justice compared to walking through it. That sucks.
Ok, good try. We follow the trail back to the entrance and spot a good looking cafe across the street. Walked a lot so far and have a bit of the nummies and beer craving. Cafe du Mon? The French Cafes just won’t stop in Japan. They’ve all been killer so far, so we have no hesitation trying this one.
Cafe du Mon
Oh this place is actually Italian, scusami. We check in inside and tell them we’d like the street side table out front. They bring us some menus and waters. We put some moretti beers in. Actually the menu suggests this place is a fusion of Italian, French and Japanese and it looks tremendous.
The beers come out and we’re in a little slice of relaxation heaven.
Then the food lands and sheesh it looks great! I get a dry green curry that is served with some fresh veggies and chicken. Slightly spicy with some ginger and a soft egg yolk nestled on top to mix all abouts, amazenums! The plates have tiny origami cranes perched on them. Nice touch, I’ll be saving that.
What a great find. Bamboo garden might have been a bust but this certainly wasn’t. Sitting outside the temple just watching some slight car and pedestrian traffic has it’s own moment of zen.
We go inside to pay up and also pay our respects to the chefs and server. It was outstanding.
Ok, that’s Location #2 down for the day, what’s next? Ah yes, the Kyoto coup de grace, Kinkaku-ji. The picturesque golden temple. No way we’re missing that!