Kyoto – by far, one of the places I wanted to visit the most in Japan!
Mom, Bro, and I were pretty tired from travelling from Akita to Nagoya to Kyoto, so we didn’t do a whole lot on that first Sunday night (April 27). After a quick shower at our hotel, we grabbed a delicious Italian supper at Kyoto Station, then we crossed the street to Kyoto Tower to take in the night view. Kyoto is beautiful!
On Monday, the weather forecast wasn’t great – it was supposed to be in the high teens, but rainy. Fortunately the rain held off long enough for us to get the bus to Kinkakuji! Seeing Kinkakuji was a dream come true for me. The temple is beautiful, as are the surrounding forests and gardens! It wasn’t too crowded, so we took our time walking through the entire grounds, even stopping to throw some coins for good luck.
After we had our fill of Kinkakuji, we hopped on the bus back to the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park. We didn’t go in the Palace grounds, but we walked through the park which had large gravel pathways and stunning trees and gardens. Unfortunately the rain caught up to us half-way through the park, so, umbrella-less, we took shelter in a McDonalds for a late lunch.
The rain foiled our plans of walking through Gion (and hopefully seeing a geisha!), so we took a bus through the area instead, although it didn’t go deep into the heart of Gion like we hoped. We got off the bus at our hotel (convenient!) and researched what we should do next.
There was one other temple that Mom really wanted to see – Touji – that happened to close in an hour’s time, so Mom and I bought an umbrella and quickly made our way there. (We left Bro behind because he was too tired!) It was worth the walk! The gardens were so beautiful that even the overcast, rainy weather didn’t take away from them. The temple itself was very cool – Touji is the tallest wooden tower in Japan at 54.8 m high. We got to go inside the first floor and see all of the old wooden structures inside, but unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take pictures. We also got to go inside one of the other buildings and see a large golden Buddha. We were going to go into a third building, but the staff were very strict about everyone leaving the grounds five minutes before the Temple grounds actually closed (mind you, this was at 5:30pm – yet another example of Japan and its crazy early closing hours!).
Bro was still tired when we got back to the hotel, so we had a simple supper of Subway in the mall next-door to our hotel. We even wandered around the mall for a little while, but we were back in bed by 10pm. Zzzzz!