Kyoto Day 1
Kyoto Travel Blog› entry 5 of 7 › view all entries
I had every intention to use this day to go to Takayama, however the night before I became abruptly aware that it was Friday and I was flying home on Monday--I only had two days to work with, not three. Takayama was scratched because there is no way to see Kyoto in a single day. I broke everything I wanted to see down into two circuits, bought a bus pass, and set off.
SANJUSANGEN-DO TEMPLE: Japan's longest wooden structure (~1,000m) housing 1001 statues of the goddess Kannon. A quick visit but stunning. Unfortunately you cannot take photographs inside. Purchased another favorable fortune--was advised to be good to my bladder-- don't hold it in!
KYOTO NATIONAL MUSEUM: A Chateau-esque monster in Eastern Kyoto, right across the street from Sanjuangen-do.
KIYOMIZU DERA: My photos from here are misleading--I walked all the way up but there were swarms of people so I decided not to go in. I assumed it was just another temple-- it wasn't until the next day that I saw a post card that made me wish I'd sucked it up and gone in--am still kicking myself.
GINKAKU-JI: The silver pavilion that isn't silver. In a way I actually like the bare wooden structure even better than its golden sister. The grounds include several rock gardens, some Very Important Moss, waterfalls, koi pools etc. A nice place to spend an hour or two in the afternoon. Afterward I bought a grape snow cone and sat along the Philosophers walk.
HEIAN TEMPLE: Was curious about Heian due the size of its grounds. It is so large because it is built on the site of the original Heian Imperial Palace. Heian is beautiful in a stark kind of way--lacks the aged character many Japanese temples have due to it's relative youth (built in the late 19th century.) After walking the grounds (did not opt for the garden ticket as it was late in the afternoon and I would have only had a 25-30 minutes to race through) I watched a local baseball team practice in the park near by.
GION: From Heian I decided to walk down to the river and see what is left of Gion. I did a half-assed job of it and didn't really see anything.
Later that night, two of the girls in my room at the hostel decided to find a place to watch the world cup match between Germany and Sweden and invited me to come with. Veronika (who is German and hence the driving force behind the outing) and Katrine (from Switzerland) had seen a bar near the station that had World Cup decorations up (by this time, Japan was out of the running so it wasn't everywhere) so we headed that way and were joined by Taro, one of the desk managers from the hostel. On our way over, he turned to me and asked where I was from in the most American accent I'd ever encountered. It turned out he had spent most of his teenaged years in Central New Jersey. A good time was had by all--Germany won, a Mexican businessman bought us beers, and we sang all the way back to the hostel.