kyoto – day 1 (the eastern side)

Sometime after I got back from Okinawa, I decided I needed to go to Kyoto. And since this past weekend was our conference weekend for my church (meaning I didn’t need to lead the music), I decided it would be a perfect weekend to go. I booked a ryokan (a TripAdvisor recommendation) and bought my ticket (or what I thought was my ticket) for the Shinkansen. I decided I’d head down early-ish (not too early, though) Saturday morning and back Sunday night. It was a perfect plan. Except that I got to the train station later than I’d planned and, as it turned out, had only paid for my reserve seat, not the actual ticket. Thankfully, there are trains every 10 minutes, so I was able to get on one about an hour later (I needed a window seat, thus the wait).

And the window seat proved worth the wait…

Instagram shot of Fuji-san…I’m pretty much in love with this photo
nice camera on crappy settings…maybe if I edit it?

So,  I arrived in Kyoto and took a taxi to the very lovely Gion Maifukan to drop off my stuff before heading out to find some food and start touristing. The super nice desk staff gave me maps and directions and I was off.

I had a lovely lunch (I love udon noodles soooo much!) followed by a lovely treat and a Japanese treat shop (recommended by one of the managers I support at work and conveniently close to where I was staying) of this crazy cold noodles that you dip in this black, treacly goodness called kuzukiri. Amazing!

Udon served cold with dipping sauce and amazing tempura

kuzukiri

After eating, I hopped on the bus up to the Silver Temple: Ginkaku-ji. It’s in the northwest corner of the city and there’s a path you can follow that leads back to where I was staying with several templs along the way, so I decided to start there. But, before I got to the temple, I had to snap a shot of these pedi-cabs powered by humans running while wearing ninja shoes. Kind of awesome. Talk about a great way to keep in shape!

Well, the Ginkaku-ji (or Temple of the Silver Pavilion as it’s called in English) was incredible. I knew at once that I had made the right choice by coming to Kyoto and doing it before things got too crowded. The fall (which happens mid-November) is amazing and it draws huge crowds. So, while I would love to see Kyoto in its full autumn splendor, I was happy to not be contending with crowds any bigger than what was there last weekend.

Proof of the craziness that Japanese women inflict upon themselves
The street that leads up to the temple…can you imagine what it would be like more crowded than this?

I then started walking down the Philosopher’s Walk, but found myself quickly at another temple, Honen-in. This one much smaller, but beautiful in a very quiet way.

And then it was back down the path. I understand why philosophers would have walked along this particular way. It’s so quiet and peaceful and the perfect combination of water, trees, views, and light. I could have walked along the path all day and then some.

This moth/bee thing was crazy, so of course I needed a photo.

Just a fish swimming upstream…

My last temple stop of the day was Eikan-do.

And with this, the temples began to shut their gates.

So, still being quite a trek from my little Japanese inn, I found the bus and rode it back to my part of town. At this point, my room was ready and I took a much needed break on my very comfortable futon.

And then I headed out to find dinner, but first I had to capture proof that I can be a cute tourist.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any shots of my lovely dinner. I found this great little teppanyaki place (Japanese style, not American) and had a lovely noodle dishes and a very dry ginger ale. A perfect end to a close to pretty amazing day. Up next…day two!

One thought on “kyoto – day 1 (the eastern side)

  1. Okay, I have to admit I found your blog through a link on my Google chat channel. And I love this post. I don't know the Japanese language or culture, but my husband and I are coming to visit (Tokyo, Kyoto, Hiroshima) in the Spring. I love the recommendations, and I wouldn't mind getting more recommendations!

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