Guide to Kansai Region

Ruriko in

“Yuka midori” , it sounds like the typical name for a Japanese woman, like Oka Midori or Tanaka Midori (LOL!) but it’s not! Even Japanese people (except those from Kyoto) might think so. However, the term “Yuka midori” (literally “green floor”) is used for the beautiful reflection of green leaves on polished wooden floors. When we hear, or see this word somewhere (like on a train station poster) we become aware of the arrival of an early summer. This time, I visited Rurikoin temple for the first time which was holding a special opening for Yuka midori!

Rurikoin (“lapis lazuli light”) is located at the foot of Mt. Hiei, near the Yase hieizan guchi station of the Eizan railway. The temple is opened to the public twice a year, during a limited period in spring and autumn. Riding on JR, one stop from Kyoto station, and transferring to Keihan railway. It takes about 10 min’ to the final stop, Demachi yanagi station. Then you need to transfer to another train, Eizan railway. Eizan is a one-car train. First it runs through a narrow and inclined route, between private houses. Then, gradually, the route is surrounded by fresh-looking greenery.

Having only traveled less than 30 minutes from Kyoto station, I felt like I was far away, having holiday! After getting off the train, crossing over a small bridge, and walking along the path for 3 min’, I got to my destination.

To my surprise, there was a long line of people waiting to get in! Even at 11:00 am! (It opens at 10:00am.) After waiting in line in front of the gate for 15 minutes, I entered. On stepping in, I was captured by the beauty of the trees and small mounds carpeted by moss. Thanks to the rain of the day before, the moss carpet looked brilliant and fluffy. Since it was originally a villa owned by an individual, and later (in 2005) it was converted to a Buddhist temple, it doesn’t have the typical look of a temple.

Rurikoin is a traditional two-storied Japanese house, constructed in an age-old style. Visitors are ushered to the upstairs first, where they will find a large table in the main room. The surface of this table is amazing. It has a mirror-like polish, reflecting all the surrounding scenery. The tableau which I was longing to see was right there!!

Well... maybe I should stop around here, I don’t want to spoil the tour for anyone planning to visit Rurikoin soon. Anyway ...I’m really proud of the Japanese sense of beauty which created “Yuka midori.”

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