Returning to the path and further south, light dappled by the sakura 桜, the crowds became larger, but still just as relaxed.
It's impossible not to be drawn in by the charm of it all, the stream and the footbridges, the occasional whiff of some sweet snack nearby. And fallen petals, swept by the wind, accumulating as pink edges to everything.
More explosive blooms in the thick green around the temple, held until the air turns.
Five minutes down the path and into another temple, Hōnen-in 法然院. Past its distinctive thatched gate, it's surrounded by the forest that crawls out from the hills. It's a quieter and more natural space, but its gardens also have some interesting features, like large plinths of raked gravel and a striking artwork formed from a tall stack of shiny black spheres.
Down through the lane and hanging a left to the Philosopher's Path 哲学の道, where the pink and white flowers formed a canopy over the dirt and stone footpath and the stream that runs beside it. A quiet procession moved along, happily chatting and admiring the trees and taking photos.
Every so often a vendor would be selling traditional treats or ice creams and providing a place to take a break, as seen here outside Miroku-in 弥勒院.
Back out through the hedged canyon where a steady flow of people were coming in. Outside, the lane down the slope was even busier than before, with people buying snacks and browsing the shops that line the way.
A leisurely walk through the rest of the garden, over ponds and moss-covered ground, then up to the hilled section, constrained on one side by a grove of bamboo, to look over the pavilion.