We arrive at Kyoto.
The first thing I noticed was the station, which was incredible.
Simple thing like a railway station is transformed into a living sculpture with amazing atmosphere and presence.
Through the windows we can see the Kyoto tower.
Just to give an idea of the size of the station.
You can tell how much we liked it, we were still hanging around in the station 90 mins after we’d arrived.
Arriving at our hotel, were delighted to find that our bags have arrived from Hakone.
Kyoto is well know for its Temples and Shrines.
We don’t have time to see all of them, but we’ve selected a few.
The courtyard at Tofukuji.
And nearby, this bridge.
Fushimi Inari known for its hundreds of red gates.
Wandering around through the shopping street we head back to our hotel.
In Maruyama park, this statue of Sakomoto Ryoma with his close associate Nakaoka Shintaro.
Two Samurai activists from Kochi who were both assassinated in Kyoto in during efforts to overthrown the Tokugawa shogunate in 1867.
There are 41 remaining Geisha’s in Kyoto (not to be confused with people dressed with traditional clothes and prostitutes).
We were lucky enough to see one of them, but it seemed extremely poor form to photograph her.
So instead, here’s a stock photo I found on the internet.
The To Ji temple.
But were on holiday, so we find this “British pub”.
My one memory of it, was a woman sat with some friends, got up to have a smoke.
So she moved away from her friends to spare them and came and sat next to us. Thanks.
The following day, we’ve actually hired a guide to make the most of our time.
We head straight for Nijo castle.
The place was enormous and contained many different gardens and buildings.
Inside the main building, and you have to take your shoes off.
And once inside, I remember why.
The Nightingale floors are designed to creek and make noise, so if the castle is entered at night by Ninja’s the people inside would know.
Some of the carving in here was incredible, including something with one peace of wood being carved with hole’s so it made 2 different images, 1 on each side.
Some of the gardens and rockery.
The moat and outer walls.
Loads of goldfish congregate by the walkway (it obviously because they are used to getting “free” food from passing tourists).
One of my favourite pictures from our trip.
Japan, ancient and modern captures in one picture.
Our guide recommends a stop off at Kitanu Tenmangu shrine.
She makes a simple prayer and asks if we’d like to do the same.
Praying for the Smiths to reform seems a shallow use of such religious power, so I decline.
Kinkaku Ji temple one of the most popular tourist sites in the whole of Japan (and beautifully landscaped).
Kinkaku Ji is grandiose one moment, then simple and penitent the next.
The lake without a ripple on it.
Our guide gives us a gift then takes her leave.
We wander over to the botanical garden.
I feel like Kyoto isn’t so much a city where you go to see things as go to experience things.
I’m certainly feeling it, as at this point in the trip, I’m the most relaxed I’ve been in some months.
We finish off the day with an explanation of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Each of the objects has special significance and is placed appropriately.
It’s explained that the ceremony was founded by the Samurai.
Something along the lines of, the pace of life is so quick, let’s invent something that deliberately can’t be rushed.