Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Back in Tokyo now after a week exploring western Japan. I spent four days in historic Kyoto. At left is Kinkakuji ("Golden Temple"), the most famous temple in Kyoto. Or, at least whenever I said to people in Tokyo that I was going to Kyoto, they would say, "Oh, you will visit Kinkauji." Not a question; a statement. So, I figured it was as good a place to begin as any. This was my first stop on the Kyoto tour.
On the other side of Kyoto, and near the top of a steep hill is Kyomizu Temple (hmm, forgot the translation of this one). This picture on the right is the gate of the temple (and only halfway up the hill!). The view was spectacular, and the scenery among the trees and waterfall was a refreshing change from the city.
Here on the left is a pagoda from the grounds of the Ryoanji (Not sure the exact translation on this one, but ryo is dragon, and an is safe... so, "Safe Dragon Temple" is the best I can come up with!). This was my favorite building, perhaps it plays to my sentiments, being a vivid orange and black... if Wartburg College were ever to build a pagoda, I think it would look a bit like this!
The trip was sometimes like stepping back into time, and sometimes like being stepped on! Kyoto is very crowded in the summertime with tourists from all over the world. Every time I thought I had a moment to savor the history of the place, another group of people came upon me, and were often being loud. So much for a quiet trip.
I was able to explore off the beaten path a little bit, but I had such a short time there, and Kyoto has more sights than can possibly be seen in a lifetime. In the end, I ended up sticking close to the tourist spots this time. Next time, though, perhaps I can get out of the city, and see a bit more of the less popular places.