Kyoto: One of the most amazing places.
Temple hopping is exhilarating. It's like being in an outside museum looking at structures built 800-1200 years prior. There's really nothing like it. I was even skeptical at first. Don't get me wrong, I knew it'd be great. But I never thought it would be awe inspiring. The aura around these temples, does include a spirituality in the sense that people built temples for deep focus, concentration, and appreciation.
Kyoto is an ancient city of quiet streets, and peering eyes saying, please be respectful as you meander through our ancient town.
We were. And it was amazing. I've listed out the temples we visited.
Oh. The ramen was insane here too...
To get around Kyoto is kind of difficult. Just in the sense that you have to pick up different train lines, that aren't on the same card. For instance, we used the ultra cheap Keihan line to Inari. Then JR line to the Bamboo Forest. Then we took the only street car still in operation, the Randen Line back to a couple temples north of our hotel. Then we took the bus (stood in the rain in line) all the way south, and then east all the way to Kiyomizu-dera. All were fairly cheap, just took some planning for the day. It was an epic trek throughout the city to complete all of this. So much fun though...
Sliding out of our capsule "rooms" (check out the next post), we headed out early in the morning to catch first light at Inari. This is the temple that everyone says to get to. This and the Bamboo Forest (next set up pics).
Located partly up a mountain, this temple seems to just keep giving no matter which way you end up within the myriad of trails.
The Arashiyama Bamboo Grove:
Tucked away on the ouskirts of town to the west, this piece of property is pretty awe-inspiring. Tenryuji Temple is located on the grounds, and although we didn't pay the $15 to get in, it looks stunning still from the outside.
You walk along the cutest little downtown area filled with all tourist favorites: Matcha, ice cream, coffee, sushi. Then you cut into the bamboo forest, and it just has a magical feel to it.
Like walking around in a painting...
Gorgeous again. Japanese gardens truly gained so much respect from me during this trip.
Imperial Palace Gardens:
We got here right as they closed the gates to see the actual Palace. Pretty bummed, but just kept on trekking around the grounds. Actually saw some great birds, and cool little spots. We turned to walk back to the hotel, and spotted a potential Matcha place off the road. Little did we know they take matcha very serious here, and poured a cup that was $15. It was amazing. So umami, so rich, so earthy. I've never tasted anything like it. It was beautiful. Pic below.
This was the final trek in our epic walk from the day. After standing in line at the bus stop in the rain, we were struggling for energy to keep going. But honestly, just seeing these temples from below (we had to climb a hill), you get energized again.
The philosopher's Path:
This was a pathway I was looking forward to since getting to Kyoto. I knew Inari was 1, bamboo 2, and then I really wanted this pathway to be 3. It was beautiful. It follows a little creek, with temples dispersed about. Breanne and I stopped for some matcha in an unbelievably cute coffee/tea shop along the side of the path.
Kyoto just kept amazing us.
We had a couple epic meals with our time in Kyoto. We enjoyed the best Miso Ramen we had all trip. Creamy, but the layers of complexity just kept coming in waves. It was delicious. We got kicked out of a couple places, and couldn't find the right vibe to sit down and eat in others. A lot of the restaurants we went to wouldn't speak English. Some, you even had to have a Japanese friend bring you in, in order to be served. They were very nice when kicking us out, but just didn't want English/tourists in their shops. Whatev!
We were determined to get into a place that wouldn't speak English though. We made it, and after a few minutes of trying to figure out where they wanted us to sit, we settled in on the floor next to everyone else. We just put our hands out, and requested food to come to the table. We did get some intestines of some sort, but it was good. Not delicious. It was a very hearty, midwestern-esque meal, in Japan.
This was a really long blog. I probably would have cut it up differently, but we had coffee spill on our computer, and it made some keys work and other didn't. I hope it doesn't take away from the Kyoto experience by lumping everything in to one post.
Maybe it's better this way anyway. There's just so much this place has to offer. All crammed in to one city.