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The End of Kyoto

Kyoto Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 7 › view all entries
Over looking the Noji Palace grounds

Well we conclude our Kyoto exploits (pretty much) yesterday (the 25th). Kyoto was unbelievable. All the culture packed into such a packed city. We started our first day with the purchase of a city bus pass which gave us access to all the city buses which made traveling very easy. We started the day by visiting the Silver Pavillion which is in Northeastern Kyoto. This was a very good start to the japanese experience. The temple itself was pretty cool with the amazing japanese architecture. What I found most amazing about this place was the garden complete with sand sculptures. The sand was built up about 1 foot off the ground with waves in it, but what was most amazing was the sand rendition of Mt. Fuji (I wish I could post some pictures because I really cant do anything juctice in words).

The breath-taking Golden pavillion
Next we attempted to go to the Imperial Palace, but found out it was closed on weekends. Then we went a few blocks further to the Nijo-jo castle. This place was amazing. The entire site was surrounded by a gigantic moat. Inside the grounds were the gardens, palace and castle. The palace was huge, but no cameras allowed; it used to be where the local shogun resided during the year. So after a tour inside the palace we walked through the garden we found another moat with surrounding the castle itself. A moat inside a moat, weird, but there is no way in hell someone was getting in there. NExt we went to the Golden Pavillion. Even though this is now reconstruction because some crazed monk burned the original down, seeing the pavillion for the first time blows your mind away.
Toji Pagoda
It isnt very big or overly exciting, but almost the whole thing is covered in gold leaf. When the sun caught this thing... Wow. Thats all I can say.

The next day we caught a few more temples and shrines. We started by walking about 20mins from our hostel to To-ji Temple. These grounds host Japanese largest pagoda, a towering 5 stories. Trying to take pictures of this thing was challenging because in order to get an all encompassing shot of the temple you had to face the sun and glare was brutal. Anyways, the temple here was pretty cool, full about 20 Budda statues (well they are all different "personalities" of Budda, at least that what I got from it). Next we ventured our way to this amazing temple on stilts called Kiyomizodera. The view from here was pretty cool, but it was kind of a downer because there were way too many tourists.

Kiyomizudera built on the cliff face, held up by stilts
The one cool thing was we went off on a side temple where you were lead underground in the pitch black. You were told to make a wish then follow the wall until you found the lighted shrine where your wish would come true. Sounds corny, but it was actually kinda fun. Anyways, from there we hit the downtown shopping area. This was our first experience of true Japanese shopping. Their "malls" definitely dont follow traditional Western malls. Basically they cover an alley way and have a sidewalk sale and not only are they packed but so compact that you barely have room to go side to side. The cool thing is that all the stores are built up instead of wide. For instance, the SportsChek at Park Royal would probably be about 30 floors tall. Anyways, we finished up here and made our way back sightseeing.
The countless torri lining over 7kms of pathways at Fushimi Inari Shrine
We went to a place called Nanzen-ji Temple. This also was a major tourist sight, but it was pretty cool. The highlight was definitely the irrigation; there was a bridge built on arches, but the reason for the bridge was to conduct water around the grounds. After we were finished here, it was getting late, but I pushed for one more shrine that was open 24/7, Fushimi-inari. This was definitely worth the travel time (it was about a 15min train ride south of town). The shrine was "protected" by foxes all over the place, but the amazing thing about it was that the walkways from shrine to shrine were lined with orange toriis (basically these huge post and lintle things) that were squished so close together that you could squeeze through them.

After we checked out on our last day we finally got to visit the Imperial Palace which was definitely not a letdown. You had to get an offical pass to enter the palace and it was manditory to be on an official tour. It was really worth the wait though, but Ill let the pictures speak for themselves. Then we packed up and went to the train station bound for Hiroshima.

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Over looking the Noji Palace groun…
Over looking the Noji Palace grou…
The breath-taking Golden pavillion
The breath-taking Golden pavillion
Toji Pagoda
Toji Pagoda
Kiyomizudera built on the cliff fa…
Kiyomizudera built on the cliff f…
The countless torri lining over 7k…
The countless torri lining over 7…
Kyoto train station
Kyoto train station
Silver Pavillion
Silver Pavillion
Sand in representing Mt. Fuji
Sand in representing Mt. Fuji
My first Asian photo... uh-oh
My first Asian photo... uh-oh
Silver pavillion and sand garden f…
Silver pavillion and sand garden …
Jenny standing along the walls sur…
Jenny standing along the walls su…
The emperors personal garden.
The emperors personal garden.
The throne room at the Imperial Pa…
The throne room at the Imperial P…
Looking out at the moat within a m…
Looking out at the moat within a …
Jenny and I at the Golden Pavillio…
Jenny and I at the Golden Pavilli…
Kiyomizudera again
Kiyomizudera again
Aqueducts at Nanzenji
Aqueducts at Nanzenji
The temple gardens at Nanzenji
The temple gardens at Nanzenji
Entrance gates to the Fushimi Inar…
Entrance gates to the Fushimi Ina…
Kyoto
photo by: ys484