The Philosopher’s Path

The old aqueduct on the grounds of Nanzenji Temple is a must-see for anyone taking the Philosopher’s Walk in Kyoto. It is an impressive sight and a lovely path that can be taken at a leisurely pace.

There is a famous walking path in Kyoto that philosophy professor Kitaro Nishida used to frequent. It is in eastern Kyoto and is now known as the Philosopher’s Path, or Tetsugaku no Michi

Kitaro Nishida was the founder of the Kyoto School of philosophy, at a time when the Meiji Restoration was creating a stark clash between those who wished to retain Japan’s “eastern” philosophy. while Prof. Nishida sought out the balance between both disciplines. His most famous theory is that of “basho,” a theory which sought to show a non-dualistic logic, by a person using two extremes of positive and negative to find the neutral. 

Prof. Nishida would often walk a trail starting around Ginkaku-ji (the Silver Pavilion), heading southward until the Nannenji area. He meditated during these strolls, on a walk that takes roughly forty minutes to complete, if one doesn’t visit any temples. If you want to see the temples on this path (which I highly recommend), then start early. It can easily become a two and a half hour walk, and you want to leave lots of time at the end to enjoy the grounds of Nannenji.

A map, courtesy Wikipedia, can be found below: