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A “Boro” Temple in Kyoto

Written on July 14, 2009

I have just returned from Japan on a buying trip and while in Kyoto I stayed in a small apartment in the heart of the city.  Each day I would leave the apartment to go out for the day and I’d pass this beautifully run-down temple–I fell in love with the repaired shoji, which to me look like a pristine boro textile or a Korean pojagi.


This old temple is immensely soulful in its simplicity and its neglect, and the stories as to how it became like this are unknown to me, but my imagination churned some heartrending tales.    Of course feral cats abound at the temple and on this day I caught site of a young woman feeding the black one, seen above.


The ramshackle roof tiles are in beautiful disarray, don’t you think?  A year or so ago this temple caught my eye when I was passing by it in the rain, and I noticed a cat,  huddled safe and dry in the eaves of the roof of this very gate.  He  was crouched amid the lavish carving in the eaves, looking smug and protected.  It was from then on that I decided to walk past this temple each day.  There is something wonderfully humble and indefinite about its appeal.


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  1. Comment by Velma:

    i know! not this structure, but growing up there was a little red house, old and meandering, i know now that it was colonial, and it’s charm was that is was as unlike my 50s ranch house as it could be. these old places need to hide out, hang on, be there. again, beautiful.

    July 14, 2009 @ 5:26 pm

  2. Comment by Kit:

    Your photos are beautiful! I am thrilled to stumble upon your blog — what an excellent resource! I am a textile artist exploring katazome techniques in my work. I look forward to exploring the archives, looking and learning!

    July 15, 2009 @ 8:05 am