Japan - Kyoto

Posted on Mar 30, 2008
Laura and I stayed at an amazing hostel in Kyoto called K's House. The accommodations were cheap and clean, and there were lots of interesting travelers there from all over the world.

Kyoto has numerous famous temples, and there are some great walks you can do touring many of them in one day. I think my favorite was Kiyomizudera. There was an air of peace on the grounds of the temple, and it seemed also to be quite authentic, as opposed to some others which were obviously recently heavily restored. Beyond that, I think I'll cut short the discussion of temples, favouring instead the photos I took of them

While Laura was off shopping for Japanese paper, I took a bus north of the city to do some hiking. One fantastic hike I did started in a river village called Kurama and went over a ridge into another valley, ending at another river village called Kibune. Half way up the ridge is a beautiful temple. Not quite as majestically huge as others in Kyoto, but not nearly as trafficked by tourists either. I sat in the courtyard for at least an hour, enjoying the scenery and a leisurely paced lunch. The hike was actually pretty short though and I was done in the early afternoon, so I continued on along south over a small mountain and hiked all the way back to Kyoto.

On another day, Laura and I rented bikes and cycled along the river south to Momoyama-jo. The cherry blossoms were in full bloom everywhere by then, and many of the locals had their huge expensive cameras out to capitalize.

Later that day we headed back downtown to Gion, an area frequented by Geisha's and their high class clientele. We did see a few Geisha's on their way to work, but the really fantastic thing about this area was the cherry blossoms. They were lit with spotlights from beneath, and the contrast against the dark night sky made for some great pictures. Laura and I tried to have dinner at one of the restaurants lining the river, but they were so busy we had to abandon the effort in favour of a quick/cheap meal back at the hostel.

We spent our last full day exploring the Arashiyama area south of the city. The main attractions are several small temples, bamboo groves and a park where you can apparently interact with semi-wild monkeys. The bamboo groves were the highlight for me... what a fantastic plant!

Photos of Kyoto

blog comments powered by Disqus
Mike at Chance Cove, NL - photo by Angelina Friskney, http://angelinafriskney.com