After Tokyo, our next destination was Kyoto. We were excited to spend a few hours riding the Shinkansen (Bullet Train). There aren’t any trains this fast in Australia, and since riding on one, I think they would be an AWESOME way to travel around Australia (if only each city also had great public transport…..).
So with all our bags, we set off to Tokyo Station and bought up big on our Bento boxes. The train was like a really spacious airliner, lots of leg room and none of that confined, super air-conditioned recycled pressurised air feeling that drains you when you fly. And things to see out the windows. In all we were quite disappointed to be arriving after only about 2.5 hours in Kyoto.
Again we dragged our bags across the city to our hotel. After check in we took a train over to the Gion district, an old area famous for Geisha and Maiko. I did see a Maiko, but I can’t imagine a full Geisha wandering through the area all dressed up. Eventually we ended up at the Yasaka Shrine to discover the entrance area was full of food stalls. We wandered about munching on the delicious food we found. This turned out to be a common set up near shrines and our taste buds loved it…
The next day we discovered more Cherry blossoms and wandered about the grounds of the Kyoto Imperial Palace. I managed to set off an alarm wandering too close to a wall. We also visited Nijo-jo Castle, which impressed me with its moat. I can’t imagine invading one was easy with these in the way. They also have a Nightengale Floor, which is designed so that no one can sneak up on the Lords. I had read about it and it works well, and is a surprisingly pleasantly creaky floor!
Another organised tour the following day took us to Kiyomizu-dera Temple. This was another amazing historical place and I drank the waters that are supposed to support good fortune and good luck in your studies.
Next stop was the Fushimi Inari-Taisha shrine, with a famous set of orange gates leading up a set of stairs. Again amazing to see things that were so old. After that was the Bamboo Forrest and Arashiyama. Another set lunch here filled our bellies. The last stop on this tour was the Rokuon-Ji Temple, also known as the Golden Temple. Though typical of Japanese historical sites it has burned down at least one, it was a peaceful and impressive site.
The next day we headed back to Arashiyama and Mrs Mab was taken on a small rickshaw ride, having a great chat with the runner. Afterwards it was back to Gion to watch a cultural show, which was interesting, but disappointing in its lack of Geisha/Maiko.
And that was Kyoto. Next up – Osaka.