Alan, the other volunteer from the Portland Garden on this trip, is the ultimate volunteer (even has the word on his license plate!). He wanted to help out at the lovely Kyoto Heian Hotel garden we have visited several times. He asked me to take a few photos of him working in the garden so he could show the Portland Japanese Garden staff that he had actually volunteered internationally. We went early, about 7:15, when Mr. Saito, the former Executive Director of the hotel, volunteers to get the garden ready every morning for visitors. Alan and Mr. Saito worked steadily for about an hour, mainly sweeping and picking up dead leaves. When the garden was pristine, Mr. Saito ordered coffee for Alan and me in their lobby area that looks out into the garden. It is a really special place, very tranquil and serene.
After cleaning up, we returned to Himeji Castle (on the Shinkansen) to see the gardens. It was much better weather than when we visited the Castle and decided not to visit the gardens because of rain.
This is an unusual garden because it contains nine separate styles within it. Of course, ours contains five. One contained beds that I would have considered planting beds rather than a finished garden. Another was labeled a flower garden, but we found only a couple of plants with blooms. It was interesting to see how they are laid out, how the streams flow between them, etc. The day was a perfect fall day, and the trip was relaxing. It was our last major garden visit before returning to the US.