Kyoto, Here We Come!
Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 4 of 10 › view all entries
We felt badly after crashing so early the night before as we felt we had missed a lot our first night there. That was no problem as we were both ready to make up that time by getting up by 4:30AM yet again. That was fine as we had a long list of things we wanted to see that day and starting this early, it was pretty much a done deal we would get to them.
After collapsing in our beds the night before, we both realized that neither of us had even gotten under the covers or cleaned up, I don’t even think either of us moved at all the whole night. So while Noah read the map, I took a shower and got ready.
We thought about grabbing breakfast downstairs, but we didn’t feel like dropping 1000-1300 Yen for breakfast so we headed to the 7-11 around the corner and stocked up on ramen and snacks for a lot less.
After breakfast, we marked our map and headed out for our first full day in
When we got to Kinkaku-ji we were a little confused as there were a few places that we could go but it wasn’t marked clearly as to where tourists should head.
We had gotten there about 15 minutes before opening and there were already a good 50 people there which surprised us, but not as much as how many people were there 5 minutes after opening. After buying tickets, it was a mad dash to get to the wooden fence to get a decent picture of Kinkaku-ji without any heads in it. It was like being at a rock concert! We stayed back thinking it would clear but when we turned around, there were about 100 people standing around. We knew we had to make our move or never get a picture and after 500 Yen we figured we should get a few photos, which we did. My advice? Get a few photos like we did and move on. There are ample opportunities to get unobstructed views of Kinkaku-ji further down the walkway and the photos will be just as good, trust me. When we did walk further down the path we turned around to see the crowds just kept getting larger, it was madness!
Besides Kinkaku-ji the rest of the property is okay.
I have to be honest with you, Kinkaku-ji is beautiful, but with all the crowds and the souvenir pushing, looking back, I think I would have passed on this little trip. Noah was disappointed we couldn’t go in the building, but I knew there was no way they could accommodate the crazed crowds, it was better that way as someone might get trampled to death. I guarantee you will get a good photo, but there are so many great places to see in
After Kinkaku-ji, we decided to try our luck at Fushimi Inari Shrine as this was top on my list of things to dos.
As soon as we got to Fushimi Inari, I knew it was special. First off, there are not as many tourists here. There are at the base but the higher you climb the less people there are as it is quite a trek for some. I could see how some people may not get it as it appears to be one orange Torii gate after another, but there is more to it than that. Along the way you will see beautiful shrines and many people praying in front of the shires. For me, it was probably the most peaceful place I would encounter while in
I found it interesting to see people bow to the major shrines when they first came upon them and also when they left them.
What I found amazing about
After walking to the top of Inari, we decided to head back down a different way which most people bypassed and I am glad we did. We found so many small shrines there, it was amazing. Among the shrines were offerings and gifts, lit candles and incense and we even stumbles upon a few frogs and a pregnant kitty drinking from a bucket.
Hands down, this was one of my favorite places in
I knew whatever we saw after Inari would have to be good because that would be a hard act to follow. We had decided earlier on that the Philosopher’s Path or Tetsugaku no michi would be a good idea as the Cherry Blossoms were in full bloom and we both needed to become enlightened and thought this might be a start.
Before we found the Philosopher’s Path, we stumbled upon
The Philosopher’s Path in the Higashiyama district starts at the Silver Pavilion and ends in the Nanzenji neighborhood. We ended up going the opposite way as we were already in Nanzenji, not that it really mattered to us as we were young budding philosophers and didn’t think anyone would mind.
Let me start by saying the canal along the path is lined with hundreds of cherry trees which means prime area for cherry blossom viewing. It did not disappoint! The trees were fully in bloom and people were everywhere walking slowly to take in the beauty before them. Getting a photo without anyone in it was a feat, but is can be done at least once. It is very crowded with tourists and locals a like. I soon began to realize that the Japanese people never grow tired of beauty and appear to cherish cherry blossom season annually. I can’t blame them, in the nine days I was there, seeing them never got old. I wonder how exciting the walk would be though without cherry blossoms blooms or fall foliage. I think it might lose a little during the rest of the year, but the seasons definitely take it to another level.
Along the way we saw many friends talking on benches or admiring the blossoms and we even came upon an artist or two trying to capture the moment in watercolor on one of the numerous bridges. It really was a nice walk. That is until the end of the path or rather, the beginning. As we approached the Silver Pavilion area, things began to get more chaotic. Someone kicked my ankle and tore off my shoe before pushing her way through the crowds to get where she needed to go. I was shocked at first as there is no way someone raised in
At that point, Noah turned to me and asked if I wanted to see the Silver Pavilion. I stared at the crazy crowd before me and thought about the slight disappointment I felt at the craziness at the Golden Pavilion that seemed like days ago as it was almost 5PM at that time.
We decided to go back to the
So we walked all the way from the Silver Pavilion back to
At Sanjo Street we ended up finding a noodle shop that catered more to the locals, and I know why, it was very good. When you go into a restaurant in
We both had one of the best meals in
After dinner, it was about 8:00PM and being that our clocks were still messed up and we had been up since 4:30AM, we knew we weren’t going to make it much longer and headed back to the hotel. Even though it was early and we are both night owls, we were happy with all we had accomplished today and turned on the Japanese harp music and headed to sleep.