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Back in civilisation!

Kyoto Travel Blog

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Largest Temple in the world but protected inside big metal box!

March 4th

I`m back in civilisation again, I can`t tell you how nice it was to come into Kyoto this afternoon by train, the sun was shining the people smiling and a hairy forigner was once again lost, looking for a tourst information place in a big city.

I woke up this morning having decided to move on last night, as I stepped outside the sun was shining and for the first time since I have been in Fuji I was warm. At that point I knew I had made the right decision, I got a few more snaps of Fuji off on my camera and then made for the train, luckily the old man who ran the hostel said he`d drive me, saving me a 30 minute walk.

Info on the Founders Hall
From there I mished it on till I got to Kyoto after a brief stop off to get some money as very few places want to give me any.

Kyoto looks lovely and after resting up tonight I`ll go explore tomorrow. Should be good weather again, too.

March 5th

Woke up this morning and went looking for a shower. After a brief hunt I found a Japanese bath. Japanese baths are rooms with showers lining the walls surrounding a large central hot tub. The etiqute for a Japanese bath is basically, you strip down, go for a shower, then go sit in the extremely hot bubbling hot tub. It is actually a very sociable event as everyone just has a natter whilst sitting in the hot tub. After this, I wondered up stairs thinking that finally I was going to have an insight into the more traditional side of Japan, here in Kyoto.

The pillars in front of the Founders Hall

I set off on one of the many buses and headed for the center of town. This place is amazing, there are temples and shrines everywhere, you relly get a feel for some of the history. I started off by heading to a massive wooden temple near the station. The main temple is actually the largest wooden structure in the world. It was really quite an awe-inspiring sight. Inside along some of the corridoors were some teachings written in Japanese (they were quite deep and gave me something to think on as I toured the rest of the temple)

"To think that I am right, to think that I am intelligent. This is the root of our dellusion"

"I forget myself because I always want to be someone else. What is best is that you be yourself."

Further on there was a gallery with some saying written by this modern day philosopher and I managed to note down some of my favourites.

English translation reads "I forget myself because I always want to be someone else. What is best is that you be yourself"

"I am a plum, you are a peach, life that grows, thus somehow flows from the same source, I bloom as a plum, you as a peach."

"For too long my ears have been careless with other peoples words"

"Trees grow towards the light, what an awesome instinct."

"On a tree that bears red fruit, redfruit grows, and the tree is satisfied."

"How stupid I can be, and I'm not even sure of that."

Having had this wonerfully insightful and interesting start to the day I decided to go to movieland.

Yes that's, movieland!

I am quite a fan of asian cinema, and Kyoto is actually the birthplace of Japanese cinema. In movieland there were loads of replicas of old houses from various periods through Japanese history. A few of the old temples survived, but the everyday streets from say the 'edo' period just cant be found except for these replicas.

Old reconstructed courthouse
Apparently some Japanese dramas are actually filmed in the complex. It was really quite interesting wondering around and I managed to see a short Japanese play as well as a short stunt workshop involving a samurai, a ninja and a director. The ninja was to turn up, try and kill the samurai, a fight was to ensue and then the samurai was to emerge victorious. After the director had taken us all through this bit by bit, when they did the full run through, needless to say the samurai and ninja managed to swap places for the final decisive blow and the ninja won to a roar of laughter and a round of applause, was really quite amusing!

I polished off the day by visiting the golden temple. This is probably one of the most famous imamges of Japan and was really quite amazing. It was located ina beautifuuly crafted garden which I wandered around as the sun was getting low on the horizon.

Random Samurai guy in movieland

All in all it was pretty amazing.

March 6th 

Had a fairly quiet one today it was raining so I decided to explore the shopping district and a bit of the modern day Kyoto. There are two long covered streets that have tons of shops lining them. Crossing these two streets is a long street that only sells food. The variety of different foods was incredible, and the smells wafting down were so varied. I ended up trying some meat off this little stall, It was a kebab type thing made out of duck, peppers and spring onion dipped in what could only be a plum sauce. Needless to say it was pretty tasty.

The Gion district was nearby, so decided to have a woner down there as well. In this one area, there were around 4 or 5 beauful temples from different eras and a wonderful little Japanese park/garden.

Movieland

That was pretty much all I did today, tomorrow should be a bit more interesting as I will go see Nijo castle.

March 7th

Went to Nijo castle and the Imperial palace today. Was absolutely beautiful, I took loads of photos. Stunning buildings and gardens. However, every place I visit seems to have burnt down a couple of times. Most places were originally build hundreds if not thousands of years ago, but since then have burnt down and been rebuilt in the same style. I suppose fire can be quite a big problem when you primarily build with wood.

Got in from my day of sight seeing and met this guy called Korhe (corhee). After chatting for a while I found out that he had an english grandmother and spent some time living in Cambridge a couple of years ago. So needless to say his english was excellent.

Movieland
With nothing much to do I suggested we try and go for a drink somewhere, so after a quick phone call to a friend of Korhe's and gathering of another guy and a girl we went off to find an Isakaya (Japanese bar), which was really good fun.

The only problem with meeting loads of really great people is that they all end up buggering off in the end. Gutted!

March 8th

Visited the last two sites on the 'must see' list of locations in Kyoto, Ninna-Ji and Ryoan-Ji. Walked into both and within seconds you could see why they are 'must see'. Absolutely stunning settings and amazing structures. Ryoan-Ji has a very famous rock garden inside which despite its simplicity is both beautiful and surprisingly serene. There was also a statue of the designer of the rock garden. The statue has crystals for eyes which is supposed to make it seem alive, it was just a little bit freaky!

Got the train back to Tokyo and went to book back into the same hostel as before.

The golden temple
Unfortuantely they had places for tonight but were fully booked for tomorrow, so will have to find somewhere else tomorrow.

Junko says:
nice travelblog and photoes!
i like the teachings too!
Posted on: Jan 29, 2007
portia says:
yeah, really enjoy your trip and photos.
Posted on: Mar 28, 2006
loz says:
Loving the photos sam! xxxx
Posted on: Mar 11, 2006
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Largest Temple in the world but pr…
Largest Temple in the world but p…
Info on the Founders Hall
Info on the Founders Hall
The pillars in front of the Founde…
The pillars in front of the Found…
English translation reads
I forg…
English translation reads "I for…
Old reconstructed courthouse
Old reconstructed courthouse
Random Samurai guy in movieland
Random Samurai guy in movieland
Movieland
Movieland
Movieland
Movieland
The golden temple
The golden temple
Gardens surrounding the golden tem…
Gardens surrounding the golden te…
Gardens of Nijo Castle
Gardens of Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle gardens
Nijo Castle gardens
Nijo Castle
Nijo Castle
One of the rooms in the imperial p…
One of the rooms in the imperial …
One of the gates into the imperial…
One of the gates into the imperia…
Imperial Palace throne room
Imperial Palace throne room
Emperors room
Emperors room
Imperial Palace Garden
Imperial Palace Garden
Temple at Ninna-ji
Temple at Ninna-ji
Garden at Ryoan-ji
Garden at Ryoan-ji
The rock garden at Ryoan-ji
The rock garden at Ryoan-ji
Statue of the designer of the rock…
Statue of the designer of the roc…
surrounding gardens at Ryoan-ji
surrounding gardens at Ryoan-ji
Kyoto
photo by: ys484