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  • Robin Yong

The Ancestral Temple 美人祈願

I have been to Kyoto more than 25 times now, and I come to this place each time I am here - my ancestral temple. Here, my ancestor is being worshipped as the Goddess of Beauty. This place is not really a tourist attraction, and hence it does not appear on foreign language tourist maps. It is however part of the collection of temples that form the pilgrimage route, so the temple can get quite a bit of local devotees. Each time I am here, I can sit in the prayer hall for hours, just looking at the grand statue of the Goddess...and I bring by Geisha friends here every time.

The Goddess has been kind to us, blessing us with good health and beauty.

I remember a time when Okasan invited me over to Kyoto so that I can do photos of the Geisha girls with cherry blossoms. A pity that year, the blooming season came a month earlier so when I finally arrived in Kyoto, I was told all the cherry blossoms have faded away. For a whole week before my arrival, my trusted private driver went about all temples and gardens looking for cherry blossoms - there were none. But on the day of the photograph session, at my ancestral temple, the cherry blossoms were in full bloom...

I meet up with my Geisha friends every year around Christmas time, just before their annual breaks. Again, during this time, the trees are usually bald and the bright red maple leaves that were so prominent in early December have all expired. And again at the ancestral temple this time, the grounds were miraculously filled with beautiful brown leaves...Now you know why I get the best photos and so many awards with my photos....

I look forward to the day when the pandemic is more controlled and travel restrictions are lifted...I'd like to come visiting my ancestral temple again..


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