The One-day Tour - Kyoto (too bad I don’t have a theme song like on Gilligan’s Island)
Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 5 of 8 › view all entries
Andrea and I signed up for a full day tour of Kyoto. We had a wonderful time and the tour was amazing. Our guide spoke English and was able to answer every question we had. We were bused around to all of the 'must see' sites and we didn't need to worry about a thing.
Nijo Castle was built in 1603 and was the home of the Tokugawa Shogun (military ruler of Japan). I found the building to be very beautiful and the garden was lovely. If I recall correctly this building also had the “Nightingale” floors which were made to squeak when you walked on them. This is so the Shogun would know if someone was trying to sneak up behind him.
I also found out that the Shogun was visited by many females.
Kinkaku-ji Temple or the Golden Pavilion
Yes, the Golden Pavilion is really made out of gold and has a very interesting history that I am planning to research while I am in Japan.
The Golden Pavilion was built in 1397 by a Shogun named Ashikaga Yoshimitsu and after his death it was turned into a temple. (Here is the interesting part.) It was burned down by a monk in 1950, according to the guide the monk was trying to commit suicide but became scared of the fire and ran away (I will be researching this incident).
Any building that is made out of gold is sure to impress me and I found it to be awesome. The Golden Pavilion is surrounded by a lake and the reflection of the pavilion in the lake is also very beautiful. I highly recommend seeing it.
Kyoto Gosho or the Kyoto Imperial Palace
This is where the Imperial family lived until the capital of Japan was relocated to Tokyo in 1868. Now because this is an extremely important building and while I am an extremely important person, (I am not that important) so I was unable to see the inside of the palace.
Instead the tour group walked around the grounds of the building.
This is also not the original palace. The Imperial Palace has a bit of history of being consumed by fire. So this was built in 1854.
This was an amazing shrine. When we drove in we saw the giant Toriii that signified we were arriving to a shrine. I was impressed with the Chinese architectural style that was used to create this shrine. It was probably the most colorful shrine that Andrea and I saw on our visit to Kyoto.
We were also able to view the elaborate garden that was behind the shrine. I love Japanese gardens because they look so natural; there are trees, rock gardens, ponds, and flowers.
The most interesting part of seeing the Heian Shrine was the thunderstorm that just happened to blow in. It has been a beautiful and sunny day when out of nowhere the sky turned black, it started to pour, and then there was the thunder.
We were unable to take pictures here so I have none to show you. But this building is famous for the thousand plus statues that is had of the Buddhist deity Kannon and the 28 statues of guardian deities. Many of the thousand plus statues are not originals as the hall was destroyed by a fire in 1132 but some were rescued as were the 28 statues of the guardian deities.
The final stop on the one day tour was the famous Kiyomizu Temple. Which of course is built high up on a hill…way above the trees. (So of course my fear of heights kicked in…it didn’t help that Andrea informed me there were no nails holding the temple together as it was earthquake proof.) I found the temple to be really simple and yet elegant…when my palms were not sweating from the height.