Monday, October 03, 2005

Beautiful Kyoto

After Sports Day, I had the week off, so I went to Kyoto with 2 teachers that live in my building, Mac and Allison. We took a “rapid train” (not as fast as the bullet train), it took about 1-1/2 hours. The Kyoto train station has 2 tourist offices, that were fabulous. We were able to find cheap accommodations that were centrally located near nightlife and shopping.

I was hesitant and a little intimidated about traveling in Japan, but after going to Kyoto I feel much more confident. Each day, we went to 3 temples, shrines or places by bus, train or walking. We also happen to be in Kyoto for the monthly flea market which had all kinds of antiques, food and art. My favorite places were Fushimi Inari shrine, a shrine with thousands of Tori Gates that line a 4km path over the mountains and Arraishiyama, the bamboo forests. There is so much to see and do! I plan on returning to Kyoto multiple times – it’s a spectacular city. When I figure out how to create photo albums I'll post more pictures.

By the way, I stopped in at a foreign food store and picked up a couple of cans of refried beans and a jar of curry paste. I miss Mexican food!!

Here are some pictures of the shrines, temples and places I visited.

This is Fushimi Inari, a shinto shrine with thousands of tori gates.

Chion-in is a budhist temple with the largest bell in Japan. It weighs 67 tons and takes 17 priests to ring the bell.

We also went to the Golden Pavilion and Ryoan-ji temple. Ryoan-ji temple has a zen garden with 15 stones/rocks but only 14 can be viewed from any angle. As peaceful as both of these places look in the pictures, they were jammed packed with tourists.

Yasaka Shrine is in the middle of Gion. It was fun walking around at night.

Arashiyama has the bamboo forests and some wonderful shrines as well. We went to Nenbutsu-ji temple with thousands of little buddahs. They were retrieved from the bamboo forests and placed in this temple.

This isn't a shrine but I was surprised to find some Circle Ks in Kyoto.


Gwynne Sullivan said...

Did you see Kyoto Bowl?
It's so good of you to actually notate what those places are. In China, I went to all sorts of shrines and places with buddhas everywhere and incense candles for people to light. People brough cakes every day to the buddhas and placed the cakes on the ground in front of them.
I never kept track of where we went. I didn't write it down. I was just like, "Oh, another buddha place." I remember the places based on what they looked like, but that's it. One place was a giant hallway full of different buddhas - all the M&M colors, plus some with extra arms, and so on. Then there was another place where this gigantic buddha was carved into the side of the mountain, facing the river. We had to hike down the side of him, and his earlobes alone were taller than me! Every day we were going to new places and all of the places just ran into one. So it's good that you actually know what those places are called.
Do they have sonic booms in Japan? They happened constantly everywhere we went in China.

Donovan said...

BAD ASS. I wanna go!

This, I think, is the approximate location:

Anonymous said...

can't wait to come see all the beautiful sights. oh, and i'd like to time my arrival for the kyoto flea market! dan and i want to come next fall!
miss you-naomi

Anonymous said...

Hi Taube! It looks soo beautiful over there. Sounds like you are having the time of your life. Meanwhile us here..well nevermind that. Miss ya!

Sarah S. said...

Taube, what do you mean about all those little Buddhas being retrieved from the bamboo forest? What were they doing there? Is that photo of all those rocks supposed to be the Buddhas?