Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kyoto, Japan

  • Kyoto is the cultural heart of Japan's past.... Full of beautiful women in kimonos, ancient bamboo forests, temples and palaces haunted by mythical pasts.
  • The biggest must-do in Japan is staying in one of the tradition home/hotels - We stayed at Hiiragiya Ryokan. It was a bit pricy, but worth it... particularly because of the food.
Our Itinerary
  • Heian Shinto Shrine - With beautiful gardens
  • Lunch at Owariya Buckwheat Noodle Restaurant - This restaurant is older than America... really really good noodles...
  • Kinkakuji (Golden Pavilion) - Most popular temple because of pure gold leaf exterior
  • Formal Tea Ceremony at Fukujuen green tea shop - Who knew there were so many formalities to drinking one cup of frothy green tea.... Note: You are silent the whole time and slurp the last sip to compliment the tea maker
  • Nishiki Market (Kyoto's kitchen) - Market place full of Kobe Beef
  • Shinkyogoku Down Town
  • Philosopher's Walk - quiet path along a small river bed. Nice but nothing particularly special about it
  • Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion) - Unlike the Golden Pavilion... that was made of gold. The silver pavilion is a wooden structure with a rock garden and beautiful views of the city from the hillside
  • Nijo Castle - Beautiful artwork and architecture... I particularly liked the "singing floors"... which were constructed to make beautiful tailored squeaking sounds as people walked on them - to act as a warning/heads-up to those in the house
  • Zen Vegetarian Lunch at Tenryuji Temple
  • Bamboo woods at Sagano - SOOO beautiful!
  • Kenninji Temple - First Zen Temple in Japan.... it was a beautiful... lots of rocks and moss
  • Associating with a Maiko (a Geisha in training) at Maruume Tea House - A costly experience but completely worth it if you have a translator. She chatted with us, served us tea, and danced. Very beautiful and impressive
  • Walk around Gion district - It's amazing... modern architecture reminds me so much of old japanese architecture
Our room in Hiiragiya Ryokan

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