Kyoto

More temples in Kyoto! Buildings are often simple wooden halls resting on large pillars, with elaborate roofs but very simple inside. Walls are white or rice paper, or occasionally painted with murals; there is very little furniture. Floors are covered with Tatami mats. Tatami mats are made from fine soft woven straw, and are so ubiquitous in Japan that they are used to measure floor space. You might hear of a six-mat room, which is about 23 square meters – slightly complicated by the fact that there are three slightly different standard Tatami sizes.

The gardens are often more interesting than the buildings. They are always meticuously landscaped, often working with huge moss-covered spaces and raked gravel ornaments. They are maintained with more care and attention than any English golf lawn; I have seen women with white gloves carefully picking clean moss gardens.

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