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Kim's Travelling Adventures!

Fushimi Shrine, Golden Temple, Miyajima Island and Hiroshima!

NEW ZEALAND | Thursday, 22 May 2008 | Views [1416]

Hi!  Alot has happened since my last journal, so this may take a while!  The day after I went to Nara I went to a place called the Fushimi Inari Shrine.  It was about 10 minutes out of Kyoto by train, and once you got off the train it was just across the street!  In the front of a shrine there is a Torii, which is just a large structure that looks like the pi symbol.  In this place, there were 10000 Toriis leading up into the mountains all in a row.  It was incredible to see!  I tried to walk the entire track up into the mountains but I think I took a wrong turn somewhere and ended up in a little village, which was actually amazing because I got to see some sort of religious ceremony going on!  There was nobody else around and it was in the middle of the forest so it was kind of weird but still very cool!  I made my way back down the mountain then took the train to a place called Arashyama.  Unfortunately it started to rain a bit as soon as I got there so I didnt see all that I wanted to see.  It was a beautiful area right by the mountains.  I paid 500 yen to get into this garden that I thought would be nice, but it took me 2 minutes to walk around and it wasnt nice at all!  I could have spent that money on food! Oh well.  I was thinking about heading back to my hostel at that point, but I decided to keep going a bit and see what else there was in the area.  I saw a sign with a monkey on it and get very excited so I followed it and paid 520 yen to get in (at this point I really didnt know what it was!)  What the nice lady taking my money neglected to tell me was that I needed to walk up the mountain to see the monkeys!!  I walked for about half an hour up the steepest staircase of all time, and when I got to the top I saw one cute monkey in a tree just banging rocks together!  I thought that was cute, but when I got a little higher there was a little building you could go into and buy some monkey food and there were about 30 monkeys climbing all over the side of it!  They would reach their hands in through a little fence and grab the food from you.  I have a video on youtube (just go to youtube and type in Kim Oughtred Japan monkeys and you will see it!  If you look at my photos you will also see the monkeys, and you will see one of how high up I was!  It was all worth it though.  The next day I met up with some American guys I had met back in Tokyo (Matt, Luke and Sean) and Tadhgh and we went to the Golden Temple, which was very pretty.  We also went to a rock garden which wasnt that exciting, but we did get some photos of us rockin out in the rock garden...I dont think the people there were very impressed!  That night we had our first Karaoke experience.  Basically, you just go to this place and they give you a private room (there were 6 of us that went) and you just sit in there and they serve you alcohol and you sing!  It was so weird to think that people here do it all the time, but it was hilarious for just one night.  We signed up for 1 hour but we ended up staying for almost 3!  The next day the American boys and I got on a Shinkansen and went to Hiroshima.  They were staying at a different hostel than I was, so I dropped my things off and went to meet them on Miyajima Island (about 30 minutes by train and ferry- the guys thought their hostel was on the island but when they got there they realized it was just on the main land!  oops)  I didnt get there till about 4:30 so Matt and I rushed to get up to the cable car that would take us to the top of the mountain there (Luke and Sean had already gone up).  The car ride was beautiful, we got to see loads of islands and they were all covered in mist, I hadnt seen anything like it before.  Once we got to the top we tried to find the other guys but they didnt seem to be there.  Then we heard them calling us from the very top of the mountain, which took about 45 minutes to walk to from where we were.  This wouldnt have been a problem except for the fact that the last cable car going back down the mountain was leaving in 15 minutes!!  A 15 minute warning bell went off and the poor guys had to run down and just made it as the guys was about to close the door on us (if we didnt make  that car we would have had to walk all the way down, which apparantly takes about 2 hours- we had no food, no water, and it was getting dark out!)  So, we were very lucky!  Once we got back down we went and saw the famous Torii by the water, the tide was out so we could walk right out to it.  It was beautiful and I took loads of pictures as the sun was setting behind it.  We went back to the mainland and had a very sketchy dinner at some local pub and then went to bed.  The next day we met up by the Atomic Bomb Dome (a building that somehow was not completely destroyed by the bomb even though it is right near the epicentre of the explosion) and the Peace Memorial Park.  The four of us are usually a loud and crazy bunch, but we barely spoke for the 2 hours that we walked around this place.  The first thing we saw was a childrens memorial that was built for a little girl that got leukemia after the atomic bomb and made thousands of paper cranes because she thought they would make her better.  Now, every single day, dozens of groups of school kids from all over Japan come to this memorial with paper cranes that they have made.  They wait in line until their group gets to the front of the memorial, then they sing a song and hand over their cranes.  It was one of the most incredible things I have ever seen, people were standing around crying because it was so moving.  I will never, ever forget seeing that memorial and the hundreds of children around it.  Next we went to the Peace Memorial Museum, which was another emotional experience.  There were loads of things in the museum taken from the blast zone, mostly clothing and items that had been badly burned.  The photos of people and the area right after the bombing were very sad but I am so glad to have seen it all.  I dont think I have ever been somewhere with such a sad history.  What was nice was how they portrayed Hiroshima as a place of peace, and how the people are trying so hard to get rid of all the atomic bombs in the world.  The mayors of Hiroshima have written thousands of letters to leaders all over the world since 1945 to try and urge them to stop their Nuclear weapons programs (all of the letters were on display at the museum, I took a photo of one).  So it was actually a bit uplifting in the end.  The other nice thing was once we left the museum we were approached by the sweetest Japanese children doing a school project.  They ran up to us and asked us if we had some time, then asked us questions like why we were in Japan and what food we liked to eat.  They had a little script written out and they each took turns asking us questions, it was so cute.  Once they were done, they gave each of us a paper crane that they had made!  This was so sweet, and we started to walk away very happy with what had just happened, when another group came to us!  In the end I think about 8 groups came to us either to take our photo or to ask us questions (sean was a very big tall guy and they were mesmerized by him!!)  All in all, it was an absolutely amazing day and I feel so lucky to see the things that I have seen.  Afterwards I said goodbye to the boys as they were moving on to South Korea.  It was very sad but I am sure that I will be seeing them or speaking with them again.  Next, I am off to a random temple in the middle of the mountains!  Wish me luck!

 

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