AnneMarie and Andrew

Annemarie and Andrew – Trekking Asia

Kyoto: Part 2

Kyoto: Part 2


Posted on Jul 13, 2014

Day 4 Today, we were going to visit at least 3 world heritage sites. First we needed to change hotels again, back to the original hotel. This was because we were unsure how much there was to see in Kyoto before we got bored and when we found out there was a lot more the original hotel we’d booked was quite s lot cheaper than the one we were staying in. So back to the original hotel we went. After we swapped hotels, it was another late start of around 11am. This was a common theme throughout our time in Kyoto. We were always tired, Andrew more so than me, we never made the 9am starts that I had hoped for! We bought a bus pass from the hotel, a single ride costs ¥230 or ¥500 for a day pass. The bus stop was right outside the hotel so we didn’t need to wait long, which was good as it was very hot again with a real feel around 40’c. Our destination was Kinkaku-ji, also known as the Golden Pavilion. I knew this place was actually gold unlike the Silver Pavilion. The bus ride took around 35minutes and the lady I was sat next to was going for lunch. We chatted a bit, I say chatted but I speak no Japanese and her English was similar to my French, very basic. Nonetheless, another friendly Japanese person. Kinkakuju is a small compact temple complex, officially known as Rokuon-ji Temple. There is a beautiful golden Buddhist hall sat on the shores of a lake, meaning on a sunny day you get glistening photos of the temple and its reflection in the pond. It used to be the site of a villa owned by the local Shogun before becoming a temple on his death. This complex is again based on the ‘Pure Land Buddhism’. For me it shows the wealth and power of the Shoguns of the 14th century as the pavilion is covered with gold foil on the upper two levels. On top of the pavilion sits a golden phoenix. We were then asked for an interview by the local school children, who seem to be at every temple complex we went to. It wasn’t really an interview as the questions consisted of ‘do you like Japan’ and ‘ what food have you eaten here’. I received a thank-you card anyhow. Then further along was a small wooden teahouse, we haven’t taken part in a tea ceremony as yet. Most places offer this for ¥500 but we are always so hot it doesn’t seem appealing. Teahouses were very popular with the...

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Kyoto: Part 1

Kyoto: Part 1


Posted on Jul 11, 2014

Kyoto is a city of over 1.5 million people, tiny by Chinese standards, and yet it has over 2000 temples and shrines including 17 designated as UNESCO World Heritage. Kyoto is synonymous with Geisha, cherry blossom and temples. We missed the blossom but glimpsed some Geisha and have seen a fair amount of shrines and temples. The history of the city is very expansive, being capital the city of Japan for over a 1000 years, it’s name means capital city. Many of the places we visited were actually old, a nice change to China where most places were replicas. However, many of the original temples in Kyoto caught fire, so most of our visits were to the rebuilt structures from the 1600s, a time of restoration. (I need to do a lot of reading on Japanese history). Kyoto has many beautiful areas and we have to thank our American cousins as they chose not to drop the Atomic bomb here, believing it to be an intellectual hub and a place of beauty. Kyoto was on the original shortlisted five cities to have the atomic bomb dropped on. The many historic sites are going through another round of restoration with scaffolding still on some famous places or luckily for us just being removed as was the case with the Phoenix Hall, a national treasure and on the ¥10 coin. We arrived from Himeji by train, a short distance in comparison to our usual journeys of the last month or so. Japan being a similar size to the UK with an excellent transport system, making it easier to get around. Dropping our luggage off at the hotel we made our way to Nijo Castle. We decided to come here because it was listed by UNESCO and was near the hotel, we were changing hotels the next day. Nijo castle has been undergoing restoration and the covers had just come off the outside of the building. Inside there were many empty rooms with some paintings on the panels and Shoji. Not much to see and no information inside. We had made the assumption there would be information panels and chose not to get the audio guide. Instead we wandered in our socks on creeky floorboards looking at tatami mats and wood paneling. After this we went to the gardens, much nicer and no need for information as I can tell a tree when I see it! Then it rained! We ploughed on as this was expected since it is rainy season. Our next stop was just up the road, so we thought. The rain got heavier and after 10 minutes the road...

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Kyoto


Posted on Jul 6, 2014

Posted from Kyoto, Kyoto Prefecture, Japan.

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