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Day 5 Japan - Kyoto to Kanazawa

JAPAN | Saturday, 9 November 2019 | Views [18]

Kyoto to Kanazawa

Dressed and breakfasted, we made a quick dash around to Kurasu Kyoto (https://jp.kurasu.kyoto/) to grab a good morning latte before checking out of our hotel and boarding Hiro’s bus for the day’s adventures.

A short drive and we were delivered to the UNESCO world heritage site of Nijo-jo Castle. It was the last Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogunate. The shogunate was the last feudal Japanese military government, which existed between 1600 and 1868 (the Edo period). The head of government was the shogun, and each was a member of the Tokugawa clan. The first building is a sprawling single level building in which the Shogun would meet with his government and other visiting officials. Beyond this building is another (currently being restored), heavily fortified with a moat and a huge stone wall. The connecting bridges were designed to be retracted quickly if they were under attack from other warlords and their armies. The remainder of the compound is filled with beautifully manicured gardens, ponds and waterfalls.

Our last stop in Kyoto before hitting the open road for Kanazawa was Kinkakuji Temple or the Golden Pavilion. Kinkakuji, a Zen temple, is also a World Heritage site. Two floors are covered in thin layers of pure gold leaf. The detailed architecture incorporates three distinct architectural styles of Shinden, Samurai and Zen. Even though the pathways were filled with many people it was possible, here and there, to feel a little serenity in the garden spaces with the autumn leaves changing colours and occasionally drifting to the ground around us. It is said that the garden and architecture represent the paradise of jewellery in this world. Our visit ended with a little retail therapy in the souvenir shop and a tasty Matcha (green tea) ice cream.

The afternoon was to be spent on the bus as we headed for Kanazawa. A fun, local style lunch in a roadside stop an hour or so along the highway overlooking Biwa-ko, Japan’s largest freshwater lake. Replenished and with some snacks in hand, we were back on board.

As we drew closer to Kanazawa we sighted the coastline and the Sea of Japan. Darkness had settled over us by the time we arrived at Agora Hotel, our home for the next 3 nights. Still early though we ventured out for dinner. Japanese Italian? Why not. Then our comfy beds and an early night.

 

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