Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kyoto Day 1

This is a long delayed blog about my trip to Kyoto. We were there probably 2 weeks ago now, when Ken's parents came to visit. We drove there this time, the toll cost was much cheaper than taking the shinkansen.

We left home early morning. The drive was never difficult when you have the navigator telling you to 'turn left in xxx meters ahead'. The whole journey there took about 4 hours and a bit. We saw a very coool van...

'Dream Family' van..

Arriving in Kyoto just before lunch gave us plenty of time for the afternoon to start our sightseeing. For those of you who have never been to Japan, and have not really heard about Kyoto before, let me give you a quick run down. Basically, Kyoto is a Temple and Shrine MECCA of Japan. It has around 2000 temples and shrines, but due to fire and many other reasons, alot of them were not hte original. But even the rebuilts are 100s and 1000s of years old. Just wikied Kyoto, and found out that because Kyoto was spared from the WWII bombings, thats why the alot of historical buildings are still standing there today. Many of the temples and shrines are listed a World Heritage Sites.

Our first stop was at a temple called 'sanjusangen-do', where 1001 golden statues of the 1000 armed Buddist goddess of mercy is carved out and painted gold. The temple was old and acient, and even then, the buildings were made to earth quake proof. I couldn't remember the fine details, but they had put logs at the base of the building, so the whole building would move when the whole earth was moving. No pictures were allowed inside, so here are just a few shots of the outside. The original temple was built 1164, burnt in 1249, but rebuit in 1266.



Our next stop was at another very famous temple called 'Kiyomizu-dera'. Majority of the temples and shrines were accessible by bus with a Kyoto Sight Seeing bus ticket. So we hopped on a bus to our next destination. This temple was not so close, we had to walk up a fair way to get it. But there were interesting little stores which sold ceramic products along the streets leading to the temple.

The Hike up the street to the temple. Can you see it?

There were alot of people when we reached the top. And the building was very very ancient, but funny enough its another reconstructed temple of the original. It was first built in 788, but reconstructed in 1633. I bought my little pretty charm from there.

Good Luck Key Charm

The main hall has a HUGE veranda that stands over a hill, and is supported by hundreds of pillars. But just look at the crowd!!!! There were tourists and worshippers.. amazing how the structure can with stand alllll these people..

' Kiyomizu-Dera'
The is a waterfall underneath the hall, its suppose to be sacred and has therapeutic properties if you drink it. But it costed extra just to enter and i wasnt about to drink that water, so we skipped it.

Coming out from the temple and on to the so called 'Teapot-Lane'. It is dotted with little stores selling Kyoto crafts and souveniers. I bought two ceramic tea cups and a kimono belt. I dont have pictures of these, but will show you when i get back to melbourne. =) I loved walking along the streets, it was like walking back to the olden days....

Nostalgic Lanes..

I saw ladies in Kimonos..

The next stop was at 'Kodai-Ji'. Its a temple/zen garden that was built in 1605. The garden is amazing, and the zen garden.. I still cant figure out how they made the pattern in the rocks. If any of you guys know, please tell me!

Zen Garden

Apparently, you are suppose to sit relax and stare at this garden.. and come up with a thought? or a picture? But, I didnt see anything but patterns and people working on the garden.. Maybe i lack zen.. i need to be more zen..

On the way out of the temple, we saw these ladies dressed in Kimono. I have been a papparazzi and taking snaps quickly and secretly. But then I htought it might just be easier if i asked nicely. And they were not shy at all!! So, here's me with kimono ladies..

Pretty Kimono Girls

I was soo happy. I had been wanting take pictures of them, and here they are all three of them taking pictures with me!! I felt so excited.. but whats more exciting was our walk back home..

We walked down more streets and the even setting sun made it all the more ... prettier? Man, now i know why my english sucked. I cant describe things using words any more than.. pretty.. *sigh*..

Japanese culture where the old meets the new..

It had been a LONG day, and we were dragging our feet through the little lanes looking to walk to the main street for the bus stop. When all of a sudden, I turned my head and saw 4 Geishas walking my way down a side alley!! My eyes light up, my heart started racing.. the next thing i was going to do was jump up and down. Geishas often appear in evenings to go to their appointments, but its not always that you get to bump into one in Kyoto. So we were lucky. I took up the courage to go up to them and asked for a photo. They were soo sweet.. they said yes..!!


It felt like my Kyoto mission has just completed with a picture of Geishas. To wine and dine with these ladies could easily have costed up to 30000 dollars. But this photo.. PRICELESS...

A dinner hunt started late, around 8:30, after everyone rejuvenated at the hotel for a well deserved rest. We went to Gion, where there were suppose to be alot of restaurants. Except, we had problem finding them. We found lots of.. 'entertaining venues' instead, with men in suits standing outside to greet the guests. It was kinda awkward being there.. after nearly 30min of grumbling stomach, we walked into this pancake shop.. They made crepes, then topped it up with lots of lettuce, egg, and meat.. and drizzled it with sauce and mayo.... hmmm....

Shy chefs cooking

By the time we had a proper dinner at a sushi restaurant, whats a blog without pictures of the delicious food!!!!

Sushi Set

Unagi Rolls


Kyoto Day 2 will be coming soon.. maybe tomorrow.. =)

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