We're sorry to inform you that Japan is full.
Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 16 of 251 › view all entries
April 5th, 2008 – by: cmgervais
We decided to try out the Shinkansen bullet train, which smoothly whisked us from Osaka to Kyoto in less than 15 minutes. Nice! However, all speed gains were frittered away in the subsequent cab ride. Stop and go, stop and go ... all the way to Kiyomizu temple, which isn't that far but took a very long time to reach. The driver actually seemed angry with us for making him go thru this hell. He bitched along the way and glanced at his watch as if he was missing an important date.
He let us off to walk the path up to the temple. Masses, hoards, thousand of people had the same idea. And why not, it was a beautiful, sunny day, and the blossoms were in full bloom! So we visited Kiyomizu, one of the older and most beautiful temples in Japan. But the real marvel was that it didn't collapse under the weight of all the tourists!
It was easy to see why this place is such a draw. Built on a mountainside and surrounded by cherry trees and maples, it was like a postcard, the quintessential Japanese temple. The irony is that the place was intended for quiet contemplation -- I wondered when was the last time it was quiet at Kiyomizu?
On the grounds, a geisha sighting! Everyone, look! Two geishas in extravagant kimonos, beautiful young faces, eyes turned down.
We visited the grounds for as long as we could stand the jostel of the human traffic, then walked back to the station. I think the walk was shorter than the drive had been. Along the way, we stopped along the riverbank where groups of people were picnicking. There was a boy playing his guitar, girlfriend snapping photos. There was a huge group of Japanese camped out on a blue tarp, all wearing red shirts, chanting something about Kobe. Lots of dogwalkers, their pets well groomed and properly outfitted.
Kyoto has hundreds of historic sights and it's a truly beautiful place. But we are done here. Next we will try Nara -- we hear it's less popular. Maybe we will find some of that elusive quiet contemplation we have heard about.
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