Thursday, May 28, 2009

Kyoto Day 2

Our second day in Kyoto didnt start all that early. That gave us enough time to recover, and made sure the driver rested well to drive home safely.

The first stop was at 'Nijo Castle', it was built in 1603 to serve as an official residence for visiting shoguns. Unlike many other temples/shrines we visited, this castle actualy preserved and retained in its original state. The castle was well designed, and each room had its own design for its intended purpose. All the paintings on the wall meant something.. for example, the visitors room/reception room had paintings of leopards, this indicated to the visitors the statues of the owner, indicating who was in control.. unfortunately no cameras were allowed in the residence.

The main entrance

The elaboratly decorated gate before the residence in the background

The Shogun residence had an interestingly designed floor system. They called it the 'nightingale floor'. There were nails under each floorboard that pushed against a metal slot, so everytime you stepped on it the floor board will squeak. This was to warn people of ninjas ..... haha... maybe not ninjas but just to prevent any un-welcomed entry. So all you people who are complaining of a squeaky floor board at your homes, its only protecting you!

There were beautifully manicured garden surrounding the residence, all to match the grandure of the palance. The second castle internally was not open for visits, that one was a replica of the original. I think its probably all empty inside thats why.

Manucured Garden

The next stop was at 'Kinkaku-Ji' or the Golden Temple. It was originally constructed in 1397 as a retirement villa for a Shogun, which later converted to a temple by his son. In 1950, a youn monk burnt it to the ground. Again, reconstruction took place in 1955 and followed the original design completely with the extension of the golden-foil covering to include the lower floors.

Glittering Golden Temple

The actual place wasnt all that big, only a small path lead you from the entrance along the lake to the exit. There were ALOT of tourist there, but I managed to capture a nice picture as if it was somewhere in the past...

Is it really 2009??

There were many stores exiting the temple, and one of them sold warm plum tea with golden leaves. I expected nice fragrant sweet tea, but it was savory!! errk, wasnt very pleasant. But I did see a vending machine that I wish I could carry it back home with me.

Deceiving looking tea

Hmmm yummm..

Because Ken's parents had to leave by train to Kobe, our Kyoto visit ended there... We had a quick stop over at 'Nishiki-Koji Market' before we left for the train station, but I really didnt see enough there to blog about it.

We have probably covered only 1/3 of whats in Kyoto, it really has been a great cultral experience here. I must say, this beats Tokyo any day! I think we will come back since its pretty close by, and i'm yet to visit Osaka and Kobe. So there's definately more of Kyoto to come.. and I can't wait!

No comments:

Post a Comment