Josh’s parents came to town a few weeks ago, and after our short tour of Tokyo and our little spot here (and the cherry blossoms, of course!) the four of us headed down to Kyoto to see its rich history, and here are some photos from that adventure:
First up, we stayed in a traditional style “hotel” which was really more of a complex of small traditional style dwellings. All guests get robes and overcoats to wear while you eat dinner, have the tea ceremony, and relax for the evening. Please note the separated big toe on these socks!
Josh in the garden at our “hotel”
Another feet picture 🙂 All guests take off their shoes at the entrance of the Main building and wear dark brown slippers, you then change into these lighter brown slippers pictured above for walking through the beautiful garden to your little Japanese style building.
(The front side of the Torii gates)
(The back side of the Torii gates)
The above pictures are all from the Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is famous because of its thousands of Torii Gates (marking the entrance of a shrine in the Shinto religion). Its hard to tell from the pictures, but we are soaking wet. This was our first day in Kyoto, and while the cherry blossoms were awesome… the weather didn’t want to cooperate this first day! According to the travel guide it takes about 45min walk to get to the top, but we became so cold and wet we only made it part way up. It was an amazing experience to walk among these bright and towering gates.
The Cherry blossoms! (sorry for the blurry picture!) Here is Debi on the Philophopher’s Path, a popular path for cherry blossom viewing. It was raining, but still so beautiful. We took many opportunities to stop at various poetry shops along the way!
The Silver Pavilion, or Ginkakuji (pronounced Gen-ka-coo-gee). It was a beautiful garden, although there was nothing particularly silver about the pavilion. There were AMAZING zen gardens with sand raked into perfect piles resembling volcanos. It was built in 1482 by a shogun who modeled after this grandfathers place, which you can see below…
The Golden Pavilion, or Kinkakuji (pronounced kin-ka-coo-gee)! Yes, it’s real gold… no, it’s not solid. This structure was originally built in 1397, but had to be rebuilt after it burned down in 1950.
This gate!! How many hours do you think this took?
These last three pics are from the Shogun’s Castle know as the Nijojo castle. A Shogun is a military commander, and is considered to have great power (For a little Shogun history, click here) I highly recommend visiting here when planning a trip to Kyoto. We, unfortunately, couldn’t take pictures inside. The interior was a series of beautiful, open rooms with each wall painted with massive depictions of anything from tigers, to birds, to flowers… each room’s paintings meant to instill a certain mood on it’s occupant. The first room was painted with tigers and leopards (which were thought to be female tigers at that time in Japan). This was meant to make the visitors feel a sense of respect for the Shogun’s power immediately upon entering the Castle.
The wooden floors have been worn so smooth from years and years of use, it was so fun to slide your foot across the floorboards and remember all who have walked there!
These last two pictures are from a temple we stumbled upon on accident on the way back to Kyoto Station to catch the Bullet Train. (Last photo credit to Josh’s Dad) The temple is called Nishi Honganji temple, and it is MASSIVE. The photos really don’t do it justice at all. There are two structures that were built by hand in 1591. They used sleds to haul massive trees from the mountains of Japan and rope made of braided human hair from Buddha’s followers (both of these are on display here). We all had an awesome time marveling at the sheer size of these structures and the details of the roof. I recommend visiting here due to the fact that it is easy to get to (right outside Kyoto Station) and is such an architectural feat!
And that’s pretty much all I have to say about that! Kyoto was so full of History. It was amazing to sit and think how long some of these structures have been standing! My favorite part was our little “hotel” and the amazing staff there who served us authentic Japanese meals and provided a traditional Tea Ceremony for us. I hope to remember that night forever ❤
If you missed the Tokyo part of our trip, click HERE!
For our Okinawa portion, click HERE!