Kanga-an: The Buddhist Temple with a Bar

When visiting Kyoto, some temple fatigue might set in after a couple of days. So it’s always a good idea to explore something different–like another temple. But this time, with a bar!

Kanga-an dates back to the 17th century when the retired emperor Go Mizuno ordered its opening to enshrine the Holy Spirit of Residential Protection. Today it is a place for relaxing after a day’s work. It is not a well-known place, specially to foreigners. It doesn’t shout its presence even when you’re standing right at the gate. The only reason I found myself standing there was an article at Japan Times.

In spite of the rain, the place seemed interesting enough to warrant a visit. The article mentioned fucha ryori, a Chinese -influenced vegetarian food that is supposedly some of the best food in Kyoto. Plus there’s an assortment of drinks to wash the food down:  green tea, Guiness, Kohaku Yebisu, plum wine, and more.  But I guess it’s really the idea of wining and dining in a temple that excited me.

When I entered the gate, there was a stony path lit by small lanterns. The path led to the main building. But there was no chatter, or laughter, or clinking of glasses. Just silence and the eery feeling that someone was watching.


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