Kyoto - A traditional city
When most people think about visiting Japan, they automatically think of the bustling capital city, Tokyo. In my mind the first place I always want to revisit is the enigmatic captial of culture, Kyoto. Nothing appeals more to me than food, culture and history.
This month we were lucky enough to be heading back to Japan, our last trip here was one year ago almost to the day. With more time to explore than last we set ourselves 5 days in Kyoto, though in reality we could have easily spent 7 - 10 days here, if we didn't get temple or castle fatigue first. Indeed there is so much to do in Kyoto that it is absolutely necessary to prioritise. After a rather arduous journey from Korea and dealing with a slightly less convinient transport system than what we are used to, we made it to Kyoto. Dad was less than impressed with the 'fast train' though it sheered 2 hours off the alternative travel time. We checked into our traditional accommodation at Waraku-An, a charming little abode with tatami mat for floor and traditional futon bedding. The floor bedding was surprisingly comforable and atfter my experience in a Korean hanok my expectations were pretty low. I didnt expect to get much sleep but to my delight I slept right through the night an was toasty warm.
The next morning we were greated with a stormy grey sky and a downpour of rain which meant we had to confine ourselves to indoor adevenures. We began with the Nishiki market place where we sampled seasonal mochi and other culinary delights. Onto Kyoto museum, exploring artifacts and watching a Japanese movie without subtitles, but our feet were able to dry out.
The next day we wandered along the philosophers walk, cherry bloosoms surrounding us dropping their petals on the ground at our feet. The crowds were eer present and somehow Dad and I lost Dean, luckily we met up again at the Silver pagoda, with it's green gardens. Later we ventured down to Kyomizu-dera, suspended in a cloud of cherry blossoms.
The next day we rented bikes, and of course mine was pink to match my sunglasses. We rode out to the Golden pavillion and onto Arayshiama where we walked aroun the Bamboo forest, Monkey mountain, and kimono forest. In total we rode about 30kms, which may have been a little optomistic. Dad assured me, as a seasoned cyclis, that this was completly fine to do in one day. What he didn't know at the time o making the comment was that the bikes would be single gear vehiciles. We made it to the end of the day, tired and hungry and devoured okonomiyaki for dinner which Dad described as comfort food,
Our last day in Kyoto was a slow start, after a couple of crazy full days we decided to confine ourselves to a single adventure - completing Fushimi Inari. We were hell bent on making it to the top, as Dean and I did not get the chance to on our last visit. We did it fairly quickly and stopped for a little tea break on the way down. On the way back we went on one of Dad's famous 'detours' and found ourseleves on a lonely back access road leading to deralict houses. What we did see was everyday life in Kyoto and got more free exercise. Eventually we made it back to collect our bags and commenced the journey to Osaka shattered and ready for rest.