The words ‘yuka midori’ might sound like the name of a Japanese lady not only to foreign tourists but also to Japanese people who don’t hail from Kyoto. Those from Kyoto know better, as this is where the Rurikoin temple in Kyoto is situated. It is this temple where the term ‘yuka midori’, which literally means ‘green floor’, is used to describe the beautiful reflection of green leaves on polished wooden floors.
When we hear or see these words somewhere (like on a train station poster) it is considered as the herald of early summer. This year, I visited Rurikoin temple for the first time while it was holding a special opening for the yuka midori!
My Visit to the Rurikoin
Rurikoin (literal meaning: ‘lapis lazuli light’) is located at the foot of Mt. Hiei, near Yase Hieizanguchi station of the Eizan railway, a small one-car train. First, it runs on a narrow and inclined route, between private houses. Then, gradually, the route is surrounded by fresh-looking greenery. The temple is only opened to the public twice a year, during a limited period in spring and autumn.
Having only traveled less than 30 minutes from Kyoto station, I felt like I was far away, enjoying a holiday! After getting off the train, crossing over a small bridge, and walking along the path for 3 minutes, I got to my destination.
To my surprise, there was a long line of people waiting to get in, even at 11 am (it opens at 10 am.) After waiting in line in front of the gate for 15 minutes, I was able to enter. Upon 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 it was only converted to a Buddhist temple in 2005, 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 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 vista which I was longing to see was right there!
I think yuka midori has been created from a Japanese sense of beauty and love of nature, and I hope that many foreign tourists will get to enjoy this natural spectacle. If you would like to visit Rurikoin, please mention it to us when you plan your trip with us, and we can check whether the temple is open during the time you are in Kyoto.