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Kyoto, Day 3 and return to Tokyo

On the second morning in Kyoto I took the train to Arashiyama to Tenryji and the famous bamboo grove. The temple had a beautiful zen garden.

  

Next to the temple is the bamboo grove, which is absolutely gorgeous. I was lucky and the day turned really lovely and sunny. The pictures don’t really show the majesty and amazingness.

  

Right behind the grove is Okochi Sanso, the most amazing garden and my favourite location of all. The garden is around the house of an actor. He always wanted to have a zen garden and spent his life building it. I could have stayed there all day, especially with my laptop and written. It made me want my own garden with water features, little nooks and crannies and a couple of small buildings. *sigh* One can dream:). Unfortunately my camera batteries had started to run out and I could only take a few pictures.

   

I headed back to Kyoto and the Gion area. Gion is where the geishas live. In Kyoto they’re called Geiko (finished training) and Maiko (trainee). I bought a ticket for the Miyako Odori, a dance performance they do every April. I sat on the second floor on a tatami mat and had an amazing view of the stage. I could see the faces of the performers clearly. Photography was forbidden in the theatre, so here is a short clip to give you an idea.

It didn’t embed, so here is the link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jm–yxNLMFU.

It was beautiful and so amazingly colourful.

The next morning I got back to Kyoto Station and promptly got on to the wrong shinkansen, which meant it took me a little longer to get back to Tokyo. I checked into my hotel in Ginza and checked my email after 3 days without the internet:). The weather turned nasty as I went to Roppongi, so checked out the Roppongi Hills, which was mostly shopping. I then went to my favourite sushi place for dinner and attempted to go to the onsen one last time. Unfortunately the weather was so bad (typhoon winds I found out the next day), so the driverless monorail was out of service. I headed back to the hotel and had an early night. I needed it:).

 

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Tokyo, Day 3

Sorry about the silence, I had no internet for the rest of my trip and jet-lag hit me harder than anticipated. But here is more from Japan.

On Day 3 I head to Harajuku, one of the major shopping areas, but arrived too early. Below is a store entrance.

All the shops were still closed. It appears 11am is the when everybody deems it time to go shopping;). After wandering around for a little bit and having a tea out of the vending machine (not something I recommend;) I discovered the Meiji-jingu shrine. It was build in honour of the Emperor and his wife. It has a very long walkway, which was beautiful.

  

I was lucky enough to witness a Shinto wedding. I felt a little sorry for bride and groom. On one of the most important days of their lives they have snap-happy tourists taking pictures and they will be forever in random people’s photo albums. Still, they looked gorgeous;).

  

  One of the attendants wore a beautiful kimono.

My next stop was the Nezu museum. It was pretty inside, but it had the most beautiful tea garden. I could have walked around for hours. It had nooks and crannies, little stone paths and water features. The photos don’t really show the details, but may give an idea.

   

After the museum I headed to Shinjuku and took the elevator up to the observatory. Great view across Tokyo, but it was too hazy to see Mt. Fuji.

  

I wandered some more after the observatory, including attempting to buy an adapter. My battery charger is from the UK, i.e. has three pins, so I needed it adapted to the Japanese two-pin. It was an adventure:). In the evening I headed to the onsen again. I really wished for paper while I bathed. I kept thinking about my text story.