Well hello, what have I been up to lately?…. After such amazing trips in October we were super excited to jump into November knowing we were heading to Kyoto, Japan for 3 days and just after returning home we jumped on a bus to the airport for a 12 hour flight to the U.S. to attend the husband’s godson’s wedding (which will be Part 2).
Getting on with it – I give you Kyoto (I am linking sites to give more information on the different temples and such so please click the highlighted words if you want some history and such).
We had to meet the bus at 4:30 am for an 8 hour drive from Yokosuka to Kyoto, yes that’s super early but soooo worth it! Our tour had us scheduled to see 6 Temples and a castle over the three days, I’ll try to break up the photos but a lot of them look similar-ish with the Autumn colors so I’ll limit those. Also, quite a few of these Temple’s had restrictions with cameras so I only have grounds photos, nothing internal.
Arriving at Tenryu-ji Temple for a couple of hours which had large grounds we walked, including a bamboo forest so the husband was very happy. Then moved to Kinkaku-ji Temple which is well known for it’s Golden Pavilion sitting on a lake. It is a Buddhist hall and is registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
From here we checked in to the Kyoto Tokyu Hotel and just walked the area a bit as it was night now. We wanted to find dinner and had scoped out a Latino restaurant we wanted to try but on arriving, we found it closed. Bummer
The next day we went to Nanzen-ji Temple, a Zen Temple which houses Hojo Hall, a National Treasure and To-ji Temple, which has the highest Pagoda in Japan at 5 stories, 187 feet.
After stopping for lunch we went to Nijo Castle, which was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. After removing our shoes and stepping up onto the wood floor to walk around the inner building to view the different rooms there is a very distinct sound coming from the flooring. It’s a chirping that sounds a lot like that of the Nightingale. This was done deliberately as an alert system for intruders at night. Even Ninja’s could not gain access without creating a chirp. It was very cool!
We went to a lovely restaurant for dinner where we were entertained by a Maiko Dancer. This is a geisha apprentice, she was 17 years old and it was an incredible evening. She danced to two songs then answered questions and came around to each table. After the Q & A session, she showed a game that she is trained on and played against many of our group.
This is a platform that has an odd little piece of folklore with it. So it goes, a long time ago young men would leap off this platform and if they did not die or become badly injured they were going to have a good life. Well….duh
This is a sacred water spring, it brings healing powers and we all lined up to have a sip.
The final stop before our long ride home was the Sanjusagendo Temple which houses 1001 statues of Kannon. It’s truly impressive, there are 500 on one side and 500 on the other, in the middle is a large Kannon. She is the Goddess of Mercy. Below her statues stood 28 guardians. It was magnificent, unfortunately again we were not allowed to take photos but I linked the site so you can go have a look if interested.
What an amazing trip we had. I didn’t want to put a ton of photos on here to bog it down so if you are interested in seeing more photos from our trip let me know in the comments and I will do a second blog post with more photos.