It has been 2 days since we first arrived in Kyoto and we haven’t visited the 2 biggest highlights of the city! Saving the best for last this time 😉
Mark trying his luck by throwing coins at statues.
A woman rings the bell before she prays.
Kinkaku-ji, better known to us tourists as the Golden Pavilion, is one of the most important temples of Kyoto. The gold color of the building is what makes it so characteristic and it has become a beacon for the image of Kyoto. It is a Zen temple and its top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. I can’t be 100% sure if it’s real gold though, as visitors are not permitted to access the building itself 😉 The reflection of the building in its pond is what makes the view breathtaking. I have read however that you can view the rooms if you look closely, since the front windows of the first floor are usually kept open.
It was super busy (we were there at a peak time during Golden week at 11:30 am), but it was actually quite easy to take a photo without the crowd, because of the pond surrounding the building.
Something new to visit were the Zen rock gardens. Near Kinkaku-ji, about a 20 minute walk, is Ryoanji temple. This is Japan’s most famous rock garden. According to the pamphlet we received, from any vantage point at least one of the rocks is always hidden from the person viewing the garden.
Lunch 😀 All that walking has made us hungry and we had ramen, tempura AND a kaisen-don haha.
The last temple of the day for us was Tofukuji temple. This is also a Zen temple with a Zen rock garden. What makes Tofukuji different is that each of the sides is suroundend by a different type of garden: a rock garden, a pond, a checkered garden and a moss garden.
Photobombing girls in kimono 😀
Probably one of the coolest things to visit in Kyoto is Fushimi Inarai Taisha: the shrine that has thousands of vermillion torii gates. This was definitely our favorite shrine of our Japan trip so far. It really felt as if the torii gates had no end. We actually only walked for about 20 minutes, as it was getting late and we didn’t want to walk through the gates until sunset. You can turn back at any time and at some point you can take another way back to the entrance without going through all the torii gates again.
The toriis are donated by individuals and companies, whose names are written on them in black. One of the signs said it costs about 3500 -10000 euro’s depending on the size.
We had dinner at this tiny place in the city centre when we were walking back to our hotel. It was filled with students and our chef was a Filipino 😉 It was pork on rice but they also served ramen and gyoza. Our chef started cooking for us but when we wanted to pay, he took us to the machine and asked us to pay there. I love this system! You pick what you want, pay and just wait for your food. The food was delicious and so cheap! Can’t remember the name of the restaurant, but it’s on Shijo dori across the KFC.
Tomorrow is our last day in Kyoto and we feel like we’ve seen enough temples and shrines for now, so we have decided to hike the Kibune-Kurama trail. We have really enjoyed our temple-tour, but are ready for something else 🙂