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Here is the bulk of the cards I received from Ai, all showing various locations in the Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto site. This site contains 13 Buddhist temples, 3 Shinto shrines, and a castle.

First there is the Toji pagoda, the highest 5-storied pagoda in Japan:

UNESCO toji pagoda

Ai writes that she can see the pagoda from her house, which is incredibly neat. I wish I could see a beautiful UNESCO site from my house!

Next there is the Phoenix Hall of the Byodoin Temple, another Buddhist temple:

UNESCO byodoin temple

This temple is on the 10-yen coin. It was built in the 11th century and is famous for the pair of phoenix statues on the roof.

Taking a break from temples, here is the garden of the Nijo Castle:

UNESCO kyoto castle

The cherry blossoms are the most beautiful part of this card. Ai writes that I ought to visit Japan in April when the cherry trees bloom. I can only imagine how wonderful that would be.

Back to temples, here is the Kinkakuji Zen Buddhist temple:

UNESCO kinkakuji

The name means ‘Temple of the Golden Pavillion.’ It was founded in 1398.

And here is the similarly named Ginkakuji temple:

UNESCO gingakuji

Ginkakuji means ‘Temple of the Silver Pavilion.’ There were plans to cover the outside in silver leaf, hence the name, even though these plans were not completed. The temple was built in 1490.

Now for the stamps. Ai used wonderful stamps on her cards, and these are no exception. Three of the cards had stamps related to the 100 year anniversary of cherry tree exchange between the United States and Japan.

JAPAN cherry blossom1

JAPAN cherry blossom2


JAPAN flags

And the other two are lovely as well:

JAPAN snowy mountain

JAPAN UN temples

This collection of cards is so special to me. It reminds me of my own trip to Japan four years ago. I am so excited to return, though I am not sure if that will be a possibility, and certainly won’t happen soon. But I am happy for now with this little bit of Japan that can be carried with me anywhere I go.