Kyoto again: Kiyomizu Temple is a must-see
Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 28 of 93 › view all entries
July 11th, 2008 – by: skitzcw
People are way too enthusiastic and awake at 7AM on a Saturday morning. All the old people have already started their routine walks, and all the tour guides have pushed it upon the tourists to get the most out of their vacation by checking off their temple sight-seeing locations. Only the businessmen in suits and college students looked a little dreary at their long day ahead. And where did I fit in? I was hung-over from the night before, stumbling with 3 hours of sleep, and led by my delusional view of the world. I shuffled with the morning crowd as a zombie â I guess I wasnât that different.
As I mentioned before, Kyoto is filled with culture. There are dozens of temples and shrines sprinkled throughout the culture areas, but I consider only a handful of major attractions. I think you can experience most of this in 5 days. Each day would be filled with miles upon miles of pebbled paths and streets filled with small houses, but you would absorb as much culture as you can endure. I suggest taking breaks to some city areas instead of trying to spend 5 consecutive days experiencing this beast. Thereâs too much walking and all the white folks would probably get burnt after the first day out in the sun. Now I see why there are so many umbrellas even though thereâs not a cloud in the sky.
This walk was centered on Kiyomizudera, which was highly suggested by every person I asked about Kyoto sightseeing for the past three months. The hype was built up, and for some reason I expected a bit of disappointment compared to my imagination. From the postcard pictures and website images, I built the image of a glowing dragon made of leaves, encircling an enormous temple on the overhang of a cliff. Its scales would be fluttering in the cool breeze and shimmering with the reflections of fiery desire for attention. This may sound difficult to compare, or even top, without the changing leave colors from the autumn foliage, but trust me when I say that the view was spectacular.
I didnât imagine the layers of detail with every type of tree surrounding the temple.
I walked from Kawaramachi station to reach Kiyomizudera, but visited many different temples and shrines before reaching this treasure. Although Kiyomizudera cannot be topped in beauty in my eyes, I would not have wanted to go there without seeing the other temples.
I got extremely lost walking towards Kiyomizudera because I thought it was going to be less crowded (at least I wasnât the only one lost). The key is to follow the crowd of touristy looking people with maps and khaki shorts â I laugh. Youâll see a lot of tourist shops with cheap merchandise perfect for gifts to your friends, family, and loved ones back home.
The best part about Kyoto is the random men and women dressed in traditional kimono outfits. They walk side-by-side with a beautiful umbrella held by the woman. I have no idea why they dress up, but it gives a much desired texture to my pictures.
The Kiyomizudera entrance fee is 300 yen, but I think people would pay much more for the pictures and gorgeous view. Thereâs a small area of charm shops and little shrines on the left after walking past the first temple. This is a great place to buy those lucky charms because theyâve been the cheapest Iâve seen out of all the temples Iâve visited in Kyoto and Nara.
Continue walking towards the main attraction and be sure to take the beautiful picture with the pagoda in the distance and the fountain below. Circle around and stand at the temple across from you to take the famous picture embodied in most postcards. I stood there for a good 10 minutes just soaking like a sponge (I was also drenched in my clothes, so maybe thatâs why I felt like a damp towel). Some people walk down the stairs, but I continued the scenic view towards the distant pagoda. There are a few great shots across this path with the full view of all the temples and pagodas.
The fountain at the bottom level is supposed to be some sort of holy water. You wait in line and grab one of those metal ladles bombarded by UV light cleansing. Proceed to fill the cup with water and drink. I did it because everyone else was, but it didnât taste too holy. Maybe it tasted extra holy, but it didnât really quench my thirst or give me any type of enlightenment. It was an experience, none-the-less, and Iâm glad I performed another interesting ritual.
Explore some side streets and take a look at a few other shrines. It took me approximately 5 hours to walk the little section, but I stopped often and walked at a turtleâs pace (the whole while complaining to myself under my breath). There is much more to see of Kyoto near Kingakuji, but I think it will have to wait for my tour. I left the beautiful city, but continued my next journey at 5PM. Itâs a tale of excitement and intensity that deserves its own separate journal entry.
~See Lemons Immersed in Culture
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July 11th, 2008 – by: skitzcw
True friends are hard to come by and even harder to define. I will represent the warped, twisted, and surprisingly simple perspective of a guy. I give fair warning that you are about to be immersed in a universe unexplored by only half of the human population. Those who have tried to understand us may think they see things the way we see it, but theyâve only skimmed the surface of what is the male brain. At least the attempts of our female counterparts have been consistent (and mostly successful in neutering our best soldiers), but as a whole, we have surrendered any notion of âseeing on the same wavelength.
Iâm sure girls have some similar ritual with ice cream, pillow fights, âthe âprahâ, and sappy movies in pajammy-jams (what? No one else calls them that?) We pretend to be interested in what you do and ask questions, but we honestly donât really care. We think all girls are closet lesbians, and no matter what you claim you did at a sleepover, we believe it was a night of chocolate and boob comparisons.
Anyway, to get back on track, the entry is dedicated to best friends in the eyes of a guy (and thus will be filled with a lot of inside jokes). Friends fill that void in a part of your life where no lover could cross, and keep this distance to protect our masculinity. Hanging out together never really requires a plan, and usually ends up with a couple of beers at home with a movie or you tube video playing in the background. We donât spend hours on the phone together, nor do we talk at three in the morning complaining about having too much work (which never really helps get work done). The phone is a technology that allows us to have these face-to-face meetings â it is not a means for âI canât wait until tomorrow, but I have to tell you more about how much I like this guy and how he doesnât like meâ yadda yadda yadda.
We donât place ourselves at the center of the universe, nor do we take it upon ourselves to ask other guys how they are doing. The closest weâll ever get to communicate to our friends about random current events is through text messages â and trust me, these messages are so masculine that they have to travel through special satellite connections reserved for male-to-male cell phone SMS (it was obviously created by guys who have planned ahead for any overload of the normal system). In no way would there be 5 consecutive messages without mentioning a girlâs body part, a racial slur, or sarcasm. Actually, weâve built our own language completely on sarcasm â itâs like the questions game, but we just continuously exaggerate, lie, or unenthusiastically say enthusiastic phrases back and forth.
The main reason we arenât compelled to tell someone everything about ourselves is because we consistently feel the pain of being the receiver of this nagging from the females in our lives. We know better than to bother a fellow team member when heâs in front of his computer stalking girls on facebook, looking at porn, and playing games on facebook applications which simulate battle games (all simultaneously of course). G-d only gave you two hands for clicking the mouse and playing with your cash-and-prizes (Dane Cook) so thereâs no room for a cell phone â thatâs too much multitasking to ask from our simple minds. We live moment to moment looking for the next burst of happiness (no pun intended).
Happiness comes in small doses and it becomes more and more difficult to maintain.
All in all, we have a lower level understanding of each other that sometimes doesnât even need full sentences. Sometimes a simple âword lifeâ is the best communication of them all.
Cheers to the friends that became family and family that became friends. I love you all. Word life.
~See Lemons Miss you guys