As I walked along Horikawa-dori, I saw a gate. Thinking that I would be able to enter the precincts of Nishi Honganji Temple once I passed through the gate, I hurriedly walked through the gate and found a different scene than I had expected. What I stepped into was not the precincts of the temple, but a narrow alley called Kitakoji that stretched between Nishi Honganji temple and Koshoji temple. There was a wall on either side of the straight alley, and the entrance to Nishi Honganji was nowhere to be seen. The gate I had just passed was the Kitakoji-mon Gate, which marked the entrance to Kitakoji.
Kitakoji is an inconspicuous narrow alley. However, it has a long history. It is said to have existed since the time when Kyoto was called Heian-kyo, which means it has existed for more than a thousand years. Today, the alley is just an alley connecting Horikawa-dori and Omiya-dori, sandwiched between Buddhist temples, but it was originally a small alley connecting Higashi-ichi and Nishi-ichi, the official markets of Heian-kyo.
The alley was just a series of walls with no pedestrians. I stopped passing through this historic alley and went back to Horikawa-dori to go to Nishi Honganji Temple. At that time, I never dreamed that the Honganji Karamon gate, a national treasure, was sitting at the end of this alley. What a pity. However, now that I look at this photo carefully, I can see a cover at the end of the path that says "National Treasure Karamon Restoration". Even if I had continued on my way, I would not have been able to see it because it was under restoration.
April 8, 2021
Kyoto City, Kyoto
SONY ALPHA 7R II
ZEISS BATIS 2/40 CF