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Experiences in Asia

Kyoto Pt. II

JAPAN | Saturday, 28 April 2007 | Views [1228] | Comments [2]

So here it is, the next part of my Kyoto diary. However, I am not too sure what else to say because it was a month or so ago- but here goes!

We got to our first main attraction at 7am or so, a temple called Ki-o-Mizu dera. This temple was first built in 798, with most of the present buildings dating from 1633. It was here I got my first hint of "authentic" Kyoto (even though it is a little touristy). It was raining with the clouds very low in the sky, surrounding the mountains. We were one of the few tourists looking around at that time as it was so early, and as the monks went around their business, striking gongs and lighting insence, it was a very peaceful and serene scene.

After spending an hour or so, we decided to move on as we did not have too much time before a) the rain would start again or b) we became too sleepy. Despite the time (still 8am) we decided to hunt out one of the iconic images of Kyoto- the maiko, or apprentice geisha. We headed for Gion, one of the most famous geisha entertainment districts. Around Hanami-Koji, there are preserved geisha houses which still have the names of the apprentice geisha pinned outside them. After much hunting, and near the end of our time in Gion, we spotted a maiko and her "helper" shuffling out of Gion, shamisen in hand. (This picture is not mine, but I am sure you get the point).

We kept moving, the weather improving, but our time diminishing. The other two highlights of our time was Ni-jyo-jyo and Kinkaku-ji. Ni-jyo-jyo was the castle of the Shogun of the time, built in 1603. This particular Shogun was very concerned about assassination (who wouldn't be) and so he spent lots of money installing the various anti intruder devices. False walls, secret passages and singing floorboards all ensured that attacking Shinobi (Ninja) had a tough time.

After the castle we went to the big golden temple, took our pictures checked the tick box and then moved on. And that was it basically for Kyoto- move along with the other tourists, paying our entry fees, talking pictures and then moving on. I was expecting something more "spiritual", but I suppose for one day, I got my money's worth. Next up- Osaka.

Tags: Culture



sounds nice, but perhaps a bit like we went to mont st michel and some places in Paris - not much soul left

  Richard Apr 29, 2007 5:06 AM


That's precisely the word - "soul". I think in Kyoto it is there, but you need to spend some time in order to hunt it out - there were definitely glimpses once we managed to wade through the tourist traps...

  Dan Apr 29, 2007 9:53 AM

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