Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Kyoto 京都

So excited to ride the Shinkansen!!!

 Over the winter holidays, we took a trip to Kyoto. The primary purpose of the trip was so I could view an exhibition of objects from the collection of the imperial family, but we also took advantage of the opportunity to visit friends and tour around the city, which is always a favorite destination.

 Tokyo-Kyoto train tickets.

 Mt. Fuji as seen from the Shinkansen.

 Treasures of the Imperial Collections at the National Museum of Modern Art Kyoto. Research in action!

 The impressive gate of the Heian Shrine as seen from the National Museum of Modern Art.

 The Heian Shrine, busy during New Years season.

 Random garden along the Philosophers Path.

 Walking the Philosopher's Path. The hiking and nature component of our trip was definitely a highlight for little man.

After viewing the exhibition I needed to see in the morning, we set off walking, hitting up the Heian Shrine and the Philosopher's Path, and then onto a quick late lunch before visiting Ginkakuji in the late afternoon. Ginkakuji was built in the late 15th century (1482) as a shogunal villa, and was later converted to a temple.


The 15th century Ginkakuji.

Gardens at Ginkakuji.
Little dude dropping in a coin and "making a wish" at a small Shinto shrine at Ginkakuji.

We walked up the hilly path on the temple grounds, looking out over the temple and the city beyond.

Leaving the temple grounds.
A cool bonsai flower arrangement near the exit. 

After Ginkakuji, we walked down the shopping street that is at the gate to the temple and spotted a place for ice cream.

Did we get ice cream? My expression tells all.
Temperatures in the 40s? No problem. I will eat my matcha (green tea) ice cream with gloves. Bonus- it won't melt.

After a long day of travel and walking, little dude passed out on the bus after Ginkakuji and ice cream. We took the opportunity to hop off the bus at the 1,200 year old Yasaka Shrine and do some walking near Gion.
Joe and Yasaka Shrine.
Girly girls out for a New Years shrine visit. 
After walking through Gion, we ended up at Kenninji, a Zen temple dating to 1202.

At the end of the night, back near Kyoto Station, looking up at Kyoto Tower before heading to our hotel.

On our second day in Kyoto, we headed out towards the Arashiyama area, where our first destination was the bamboo forest.

We made our way to Nonomiya Shrine, which is in the midst of the bamboo.

Nonomiya Shrine- so many foxes!
A magical little village we found beside the walking path.

So much bamboo!
The forest was quite large, and the bamboo impressively tall.

We found our way back to the river after walking through the forest. It was chilly, but not unpleasant to be outdoors.

The famous Togetsukyo (moon crossing) Bridge of Arashiyama.


Our after-lunch destination was the Monkey Park! Here, one can walk up a steep mountain path and visit the wild macaques that live on the hillisde.

Who is the observed and who is the observer?

After the monkey park we spent the afternoon visiting with friends who live in Kyoto, and enjoying a slow paced dinner of okonomiyaki. The best kind of finish to a great day of travel.

Day three started at Sanjusangendo, where we saw the 1,000 eight-hundred-year-old life-sized Kannon sculptures of the temple.

No photos inside, but the outside is still beautiful!

Our second destination of the day was Kyoto Tower. This was a spot we had passed by but never visited in our many trips to Kyoto, but as little man wanted to go, we went. It was actually pretty cool.

Going up?
The view of the city from the top.

Our final stop of the day was Fushimi Inari Shrine, which we visited with another friend and her mom and baby.

Group photo!

The gates of Fushimi Inari, one of my favorite Kyoto area sites.

At the end of the day, little dude was asleep in his stroller, and we had some time before our evening Shinkansen back to Tokyo. We took a stroll around Kyoto Station, viewing the pagoda of Toji Temple in the evening light.

Shinkansen back to Tokyo!