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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:).

 

Kyoto, Day 2

The second day in Kyoto I walked for miles and miles looking at each and every temple/shrine on the way.

I started with Sanjusangendo-do with a beautiful little garden.

 

This temple is known for its 1001 statues of the 1000-armed Kanon, the Buddhist goddess of Mercy. There was no photography allowed inside, but here is an idea of what the statues look like. They were beautiful and amazing to see.

Next stop was Kiyomizu-dera, which was hidden behind tarp and scaffolding. Lots more walking lead me to Chion-in. It’s very touristy and was incredibly busy.

  

Next stop was Nanzen-ji where I climbed the very steep stairs to the second floor.

 

The attractive plastic bag holds my shoes. Can you imagine how cold your feet get and how quickly walking around in your socks? Very:).

I walked along the Philosopher’s Path to Honen-in, one of my favourite stops of the day. First the Path

 

This sign shows you how close the sights could be. And it also shows the level of detail the Japanese provide;).

Honen-in has the most beautiful Zen Gardens. I could have stayed for ages and had the opportunity to enjoy a cup of tea in one of the tatami rooms.

     

My final stop of temple marathon was Ginkakuji, the so-called Silver Pavilion, which was supposed to be covered in silver, but they never got around to it. It was a beautiful location despite being incredibly busy. You could only walk in one direction and had opportunity to see everything.

   

I then walked half way back to a little place called En. They offer you the opportunity to watch a Tea Ceremony as well as whisk up your own tea. I discovered that I am not a big fan of powder tea:). Here are just a few pictures of what the hostess did.

  

Overall it was an exhausting but amazing day:).

 

Kyoto, Day 1

On Saturday I took the shinkansen, the bullet train, south to Kyoto. The train ride was about 2 1/2 hours and at times I felt like I was flying. Unfortunately the weather turned miserable, meaning I only saw grey clouds and rain. I arrived and promptly got lost in Kyoto Station. I finally found the subway and headed to my hostel. I can’t really call it a hotel as it looks like this

Let’s just say the picture online did not look like this:).

I arrive at lunch time, so I walked back to Kyoto Station and took the train to the Fushimi area to see the Tofukuji Temple. The Temple had a beautiful Zen Garden.

  

 

Next stop was the Fushimiinari-taisha Shrine. It’s the shrine with thousands of tori gates.

  Foxes are everywhere.

  

 

A picture of the plastic food all the restaurants displayed outside.

I walked around Kyoto Station and had some dinner. This is a look down from the top floor.

After dinner I did a little shopping and headed back to the hostel. As it wasn’t very inviting I headed across the road to Starbucks for coffee and to read.