My second day in Japan saw us in one of the most beautiful cities in Japan — Kyoto! Kyoto is one of the few cities that has buildings and roads from before World War 2 and the atomic bombings. It was ridiculously hot again that day, plus even more humidity. Our goal for the day? Besides not dying… involved some major temple and shrine hopping.
Our first stop was at Kiyomizu dera, a Buddhist temple which also has a Shinto love shrine there. The Shinto shrine was particularly interesting as it was home to something called the “love stones.” The concept is you walk from one stone to a second stone a few meters away with your eyes closed, without help, and if you make it, you will find true love. Of course, try doing this with huge crowds pushing and bumping you while you are walking with your eyes closed. I’ve been here three times, and the crowds are always ridiculous. My mom even spent way too much time trying to inconspicuously help those trying to walk the love stones. (“It doesn’t count if they don’t speak English”).
After a 30 minute trolley ride, we arrived at was another Buddhist Temple, Daihonzan Tenryuji. It was very peaceful and beautiful, with rock gardens, monstrous koi fish, and fields of green leafy plants. This temple lead us up to Arashiyama (a pretty famous tourist destination) and the bamboo forest. Out of all the places I have visited, the bamboo forest is the most surreal. You are transported into a different world, and if you manage to go when students are studying for final exams (which we did) you won’t have to battle the sheer number of visitors.
Like actually, you try getting a photo without people in it. It’s a lot more difficult that it sounds.
We finished our day by climbing down the mountain that the bamboo forest is on down to the main part of Arashiyama before finding a taxi and riding back to a train station in Kyoto that would take us back to Osaka.
We were quite lucky, as while we were on the taxi we got to see a Maiko (a young Geisha-in-training) and with my super stellar camera skills, I managed to get a blurry shot of her back. So skillful.
Still counts though.