This book presents a true journey into the heart of the Kyoto experience--one which brings you deep into the world of Kyoto's ancient Zen Buddhist culture. Kyoto's Zen heritage represents one of mankind's greatest achievements--recognized by the large number of temples, shrines and gardens which have been declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Millions of visitors travel to Kyoto yearly in search of their secrets, and here for the first time is a comprehensive overview of each major site. Over 50 temples and gardens--including all World Heritage Sites--are captured here in sensitive photos by acclaimed Kyoto-based photographer John Einarsen. A detailed introduction to each temple by local expert John Dougill includes information about special opportunities for visitors--such as early morning meditation sessions, temple food offerings and special green tea sets provided to enhance the contemplative experience--along with other "insider" information that no other guide provides. A preface by Rev Takafumi Kawakami, the deputy head priest of the Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto, serves to place the book within the context of eastern and western Buddhist thought and practice. His widely viewed TED Talk "How mindfulness can help you to live in the present" has been viewed by over 100,000 people.
Author John Dougill is a professor at Ryukoku, Kyoto's largest Buddhist university. He has written many books about Japan including In Search of Japan's Hidden Christians, Japan's World Heritage Sites and Kyoto: A Cultural History. In addition to running the Green Shinto blog, he is the associate editor of Japanese Religions and founder of the "Writers in Kyoto" group. He lives in Kyoto, plays chess and loves to wander the banks of the Kamogawa River. Photographer John Einarsen is a photographer, designer, curator and founding editor of Kyoto Journal, an international magazine on Japanese and Asian culture established in 1987. His photographs have been published in Kyoto: The Forest Within the Gate and Small Buildings of Kyoto. From 2013-2015 he served as an advisor to the Japan Times and in 2013 received the Commissioner's Award of the Japanese Cultural Affairs Agency. He lives near Kyoto's Nanzenji temple. Foreword writer Rev. Takafumi Kawakami is deputy head priest of Shunkoin Temple in Kyoto, where he teaches Zen meditation classes in English to 5000 foreign visitors annually including groups from Harvard, Sloan and other schools. He co-hosts study abroad programs in Kyoto for students from Bryn Mawr, University of Oregon and other colleges and teaches Japanese hospitality and corporate wellness seminars. He has developed a mindfulness smartphone app called Myalo and supervises JINS MEME ZEN (a mindfulness program using a wearable computing device). His is the first Buddhist temple in Japan to publicly offer same-sex wedding ceremonies, and he has been a member of the U.S.-Japan Leadership Program of the U.S.-Japan Foundation, since 2008. His 2015 TED Talk "How mindfulness can help you to live in the present" has been viewed by over 100,000 people.