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  Kyoto I

September 23, 2015

Friday, September 18

Today we scrambled out of Kimi Ryokan to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto, but we’ll be back for the last two days at the end of our trip.

We arrived at Kyoto station and took the subway to our new abode, an AirBnB room in a home in northeast Kyoto. It’s beautiful. What a change from the constant rush of Tokyo. No pix yet, maybe later.

Saturday, September 19

Today we took a train south to Nara, to see Todaiji temple, said to be the biggest wooden structure in the world, and home to a very big (but not the biggest) Buddha.

The park surrounding Todaiji is famous for its deer, which toam freely through the park and are semi-tame. The sika deer, said to be messengers of the gods, are fed by tourists with biscuits available from vendors in the park. The deer, like any other wild animal that has learned that humans are an easy source of food, can be rather aggressive about it.

    
On to the temple.

   
   
   
 
The Daibutsu (Big Buddha)

   
 
There are a couple of gardens  south of the temple, and we spent the rest of the afternoon there.

Isuien:

  
A little ice cream to start…

    
   
…and then Yoshikien:

   
   
…and back to Kyoto in the evening.

Sunday, September 20

…and on the seventh day, we washed clothes.

In the evening, we dined at Kokoya, one of our hostess’ recommendations. Their specialty is okonomiyaki, a big pancake made of batter, cabbage, and whatever else you want, cooked on a griddle.

http://www.jnto.go.jp/eng/attractions/dining/b-rank/okonomiyaki.html
   
 

 

Dee-lish.

Monday, September 21

  
Today we decided to see Kinkakuji, the “Golden Pavilion”. It is a splendid site, one of the most popular temples in Japan, and rightly so. Unfortunately, we decided to go in the middle of Silver Week:

http://www.japan-talk.com/jt/new/silver-week
Everybody and his brother also decided to see Kinkakuji today, and they all got on our bus (see above). At least we had seats.

   
 
The temple in the ideal.

  
The temple in the real.

   
 
And out we go. It really is an impressive sight, but the bus rides to and from were murder.

Once we got back to Kyoto Station we walked as fast as we could to Toji, a temple just southwest of the station, hoping to catch their once-a-month flea market, but most of the vendors had packed up by the time we walked in. The temple is now in the middle of an industrial neighborhood, but it’s still a magnificent building.

  
Here’s the main floor of Kyoto Station, so far the most modern architecture of any railway terminal we’ve seen:

  

Tuesday, September 22

Today we were able to activate our second Japan Rail pass, and we used it to go to Arashiyama, the bamboo grove west of Kyoto that finds its way into so many travel books. Of course we had plenty of company. We got off at Saga-Arashiyama station.

  
In case you were wondering.

   
 
A neat variation on a bamboo fence.

   
 
The Togetsu-kyo bridge and boating on the Katsura-gawa.

  
We occasionally see kimonos in public, but the holiday has brought them out in force. The entrance to the grove.

   
 
   
 
  
Glass frogs at a gift shop.

   
 
Sunset over Kyoto.

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