Temple fatigue is possible!
Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 5 of 96 › view all entries
After an annoying overnight bus from Tokyo where I got fuck all sleep,we arrived in Kyoto at around 6am and had to find our accomodation.We found our hostel and managed to check in at 7am which was great.
Knowing it would be a bad idea if we tried to get some sleep we headed out to the Imperial palace grounds in Kyoto.If you want to visit any of the buildings in the grounds you have to go to an office with your passport and register then they give you a time and you can come back.Unfortunately we didn’t know this so we just made do with the grounds which were very nice indeed.
Whilst walking round the grounds we came to a big wall surrounding one of the buildings with a moat around it,well you cant really call it a moat because it was about 6 inches wide.I decided I would step over it and get a picture when and alarm went off and someone started shouting at me over a speaker.Then within seconds a police car turned up and my immediate thoughts were “great,im gonna be arrested one week into my trip” luckily I wasn’t and they just stared at me and drove off.I think that the sign on the wall said no to stand there but unfortunately for me I don’t speak or read Japanese.I fought the law and won!
After this we walked to the Golden Pavillion which came highly recommended.And it was absolutely stunning.It took us the best part of an hour to walk there but it was worth it when we arrived.
Afterwards Stacey and I decided that with the absolutely sickening exchange rate from the british pound to the Japanese Yen( 120 Y to 1 pound,as supposed to 240 Y to 1 pound like when we booked it) we would have to cook for ourselves every night in the hostel.The only problem was the cheapest half decent meal we could of rustled up was spaghetti,and this was to be our meal for the next 6 nights.
After having the most bland spaghetti ive ever had I was trying to persuade Stacey to go to Funoaka onsen.But she didn’t like the idea of the nakedness,where as I loved it.Nothing better than sitting in a hot tub etc completely naked.It my idea of relaxing.She wasn’t having it and I was getting annoyed because I thought I wouldn’t be allowed to go.Luckily however a guy we knew who we met in Tokyo was having a similar problem with his girlfriend.So we both decided to ditch them both and head up to the onsen for a relaxing couple of hours.
One thing I did find quite strange about the Japanese,now that I got to see them on a more intimate surrounding,is that they are so well preened and clean in every area except for one.If you understand what I mean.You rarely see a hairy Japanese person,that is until you go to an onsen and its unbelievable,they spend hours sitting in front of the mirrors in there,plucking hairs,shaving etc.So why do they seem to miss a major part.I mean it was like Sherwood forest on some of these guys,so overgrown I could nearly see Robin hood and his merry men prancing around down there.
We rented some bikes today to get some serious sightseeing done,and Kyoto is the perfect city to explore on a bike.
There is actually sooo many temples and shrines in Kyoto you would need weeks and weeks to see them all so we just picked the supposed good ones and a few random ones we came across and thought that should be fine.
We headed to Gion first in search of Geishas but I had no luck,which was annoying seeing as it was one of the things I really wanted to see when in Kyoto.So we decided to check out Ryozen Kwan On (massive Buddha) which was pretty cool and after that we checked out Kiyomizu temple,which was another really impressive place.
On the way back to our bikes we spotted something in the distance, GEISHA, so I ran as fast as I could to get a better view and they were so cool.Really graceful,but I kind of think they go out for the tourist sometimes.it’s a shame that there arent very many geishas anymore but it makes it all the more better when you see one.
We cycled abit more and a crazy Japanese lady stopped in front of me and stopped me from riding,then she reached in her bag and wrote something on a piece of paper and walked off.It turned out to be a phone number of some sort.Maybe hers who knows.After this and the fellatio fiasco in Tokyo I was obviously very popular among the locals in Japan.haha
After this we headed to Fushimi-Inori which is a series of shrines,winding there way up the big,steep hill.
We managed to jazz up our spaghetti with some soy sauce and garlic.Enough to save any meal.Afterwards I headed up to Funoaka onsen on my own for an hour or so.I love that place.It was deserved after all the walking and cycling we did.When I was in the onsen I got talking to an american guy in there who made two mistakes in the conversation.
Our third day in Kyoto came after two trips to Himeji and Osaka(see other entrys).We decided to rent bikes again,as its such a great way to get round.
We headed to the weekly flea market at Toji temple, the market itself was pretty cool but things were very pricey for a flea market.Maybe its just the pound being shit or japans high cost of living but we didn’t buy anything.
It was bitingly cold and we decided not to go to the path of bamboo and I managed to persuade Stacey to come to Funoaka with me.She was very nervous but she told me when she was in there she relaxed and didn’t really care.It certainly warmed us up.This was also the time I had a rather surreal moment in the plunge pool,whilst I was sitting in there a guy came in covered head to toe in tattoos and was avoided by everyone in there.He walked around abit then spotted me.Thinking this guy must be yakuza I shit myself.He then proceeded to get in the plunge pool grab my shoulder and start turning my body and examining my tattoos.Being naked and having a naked guy move you round so he can see your tattoos is very weird.I didn’t want to do anything to piss this guy off so kept quiet.He then got out looked at me and just said ‘cool’ and walked off.
Our last day in Kyoto came after a day in Nara but it was by far the best day we had in probably all of Japan. It was Setsubun festival and I think it signals the end of winter or something like that.
We stayed in the hostel until midday as we had to check out because we had a night bus that evening.Then we headed to Yasaka jinja shrine with Oscar,a Swedish guy we met who knew nothing of the festival and seemed pretty excited to go.
At the shrine we watched geisha dances for a while with some pretty haunting music and when they were finished it all started to kick off.The geishas and some priests(I think) started throwing out these beans,and the place literally got frantic.
Afterwards I saw a lot of Japanese people looking round the floor for any leftover beans and I was going to give the ones I got to someone seeing as they meant nothing to me but everyone I saw already had some.I didn actually feel abit bad about the beans but then there was some idiot Australian who had managed to get 13 packs of them.I just don’t see the point in that.Ok its maybe okay to get one pack but it was a festival that had nothing to do with us and the Japanese take it very serious and he was keeping these beans from someone who would appreciate them.The beans were actually used by the Japanese to throw around their houses to ward off demons,they do this by shouting and throwing the beans.
After all the comotion we got dragged into a small shrine that had a bonfire going and it was great to be invited in and given some warm tea to drink then warm up by the fire.
But we didn’t want to stay long as we wanted to get to Shogo-in temple where we witnessed an amazing ceremony involving a huge bonfire and loads of people dressed up in some old school gear.It was all pretty cool, But it was so cold and wet that I couldn’t feel my feet by the end of it.
After the days events we were pretty pleased and we were having some craving for british food(already I know) so we headed to a british pub where I had fish and chips and got to watch the football.