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Friday, February 13, 2015

A Day in Kyoto

Got up bright and early this morning and took the shinkaisoku train from Osaka into Kyoto where I met my guide/counselor/interpreter (and I hope to add friend to that list) at the Starbuck's just outside the station.

A day is not nearly enough to see all that Kyoto has to offer but I got a taste and it was extraordinary. Part of the time the sun was shining and it felt almost springlike.  At other times it snowed and the Japanese gardens viewed through flurries of snow made for an exceptional visual treat.  We took a local bus to a district with many temples (some quite famous) and had a delicious lunch.  Then we just walked along a path called the Philosopher's Walk until we decided we had had enough fun for the day.

Here are a few pictures that won't do it justice but it will give you some idea about how the day went.

The first temple we visited.  The garden was amazing.  

With guidance I threw my coin into the wooden box, put my hands together and then took a stick of incense, stuck it in the pot and used my hand to wave the smoke in my direction.

An aqueduct near the Nanzen-ji temple.  More pictures here.

One of the gardens at the Nanzen-ji temple.

The bento part of my lunch.

And the tofu part of the lunch.  Under the pot was a flame which heated the dish above.  It was boiling quite nicely by the time I got through most of the bento.  The tofu is under the vegetables and you fish it out with a little strainer.  Shoes off,  we were led to and seated in a room with sliding doors and several low tables.  We sat right in front of the window overlooking the garden.

At some point during the meal the snow began to come down very hard and the combination of the snow, the rocks, the waterfall, the trees was just sublime.  A perfect moment.

And finally the Philosopher's Walk.  If it is this lovely and peaceful in winter, it must be extraordinary in the springtime.  I guess I will have to go back and see it again in a few months.


DL NELSON said...

What a great experience you are having.

Christophe said...

Beautiful. Glad you're enjoying sightseeing.

Sally said...


Sometime while you are there, go and see Katsura Rikyu in Kyoto. It's absolutely stunning. Pictures of the place had a huge impact on architecture in the west in the first half of the 20th century.

You have to apply in advance to the Imperial Household Agency for a a tour appointment. But they even have an English language website where you can do this:
When we went there a little over 10 years ago, the visit itself was free, and I think it still is. But probably you'll need to apply about a month in advance.

(One good thing about not speaking Japanese--or not letting on that you do--is that you can pretend you didn't understand the rules about only making photos at the photo spots.)