Kyoto

Day 15, part 1: Kiyomizudera

We have already described day 14 on which we went to Tenshi no Sato.

So on to the day 15. The plan for the morning was to visit Kiyomizudera temple, a pretty popular place in Kyoto with huge crowds. To avoid the crowds we decided to get there at around 7am, so we woke up really early, quickly ate some cakes we bought a day before and went to a bus stop to catch a bus. A day before hotel clerk recommended us to take a bus 207 and get off at Gojozaka stop. But looking at a Google map we decided that getting off at the next stop (Kiyomizu-michi - the bus stop for the temple) as it seemed to be a bit closer distance.

From the bus stop we went on a street in Hagashiyama district that went uphill and after some time we have arrived to the temple.

The name Kiyomizu means clear or pure water due to the waterfall in the complex.

Gate of Deva Kings (Nio-Mon) in the morning
Nio-mon. Gate of Deva Kings. Around 7am, the sun is still pretty low and covered with some clouds.

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Day 13, part 3: Golden Pavilion

The time was already well after noon and the sun was moving toward the horizon. Our plan was to visit the Golden Pavilion before sunset to take some nice pictures of the shining building.

Originally we thought of taking a bus from Ryoanji to Kinkakuji, but it turned out there were a lot of people wanting to do the same.

People waiting for a bus near Ryoanji
The line at the bus stop.

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Day 13, part 2: Ryoanji rock garden

Next stop on the day 13 in Japan was in Ryoanji temple. It is said to be the most important place to visit in Kyoto.

The main part of the temple is a famous rock garden (zen garden) that was built at the end of 15th century and is pretty simple.

Ryoanji station
Tram line that we took. Ryoanji station.

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Day 13, part 1: Kyoto Nijo Castle

The day 13 was so long and full of visits that we decided to split it into several posts.

It all started with a breakfast, of course. The day before we ordered a breakfast in our ryokan to see how good was the kitchen.

breakfast in ryokan
That's how our traditional Japanese breakfast looked like.

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Day 12: Rainy and boring

On day 12 we had certain plans, but it was so rainy that we decided to not go for any sightseeing. Instead we decided to do some shopping that was long overdue.

Ksusha have found some online Kimono shops and decided to visit them in person. Looking at the map it did not look too far away so we walked there, also have seen some other kimono shop on the way that we visited.

Of course it turned out that the online shop did not have any real storefront and the address was just for their warehouse, but still the workers there were nice enough to show us some goods that we were interested in. They also had an English translator and we ended up buying a bunch of Kimono-related stuff for us and friends and recording a "how to put on a kimono and tie a belt" sort of video in process (not great quality so not uploading that one).

Also on the way we discovered a 100 yen shop which has a concept pretty similar to other such shops elsewhere (Dollar Tree in US, 5 yuan shops in China and so on).

IMG_4209
Stuff that we have bought that day. Spent quite a bit of money on it ;)

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Day 10: Kyoto garden Ryokan Yachiyo

For the evening after the moss temple we had plans to eat in our ryokan. Actually it is customary for people to get their ryokan reservation together with food arrangements for every day there, but we did not want to limit us to one eating place only just in case.

The dinner needs to be reserved in the morning when you go out, so that the inn keeper can buy all the right stuff while you are away.

So we returned into the ryokan and decided to take proper pictures of our room for review purposes. This is being 8-tatami traditional japanese room with a bathroom.

8 tatami room in Yachiyo Ryokan
This is our room in all its glory.

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Day 10. Kokedera Moss Temple

For our second day in Kyoto we had a plan to visit Saiho-ji temple. The temple is also known as Kokedera which means "Moss temple". The reason for that is because the temple grounds are covered with a lot of moss, more than 120 kinds of moss grows there.

The legend says that the moss part was planned way in the past on one of the restorations, but research of a French historian François Berthier found that in fact the temple grounds were filled with white sand and it is only recently during Meijin era (1860-1912) when the temple lacked adequate funds, the grounds fell into disrepair and moss started to grow.

Getting to the temple is no easy feat, you need to send a postcard to the temple in advance requesting a visit and then a reply will come informing you when you can visit, but that's not all. The entrance fee is the highest in Kyoto at 3000 yen, and once you pay it you also must do some (pretty long) sutra writing and chanting before given access to the temple grounds. All this is done since 1977 to limit the hordes of tourists ruining the delicate moss ecosystem.

The visit was actually scheduled at 13:00 so we had some time to walk around hotel some more in the morning and hopefully find a breakfast too.

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Some small shrine near the hotel.

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Day 9. Kyoto. Miyako Odori

On our day 9 it came time to leave Tokyo and move to Kyoto. Unfortunately we were moving in a great hurry, so no pictures from the travel on Shinkansen. This mistake was somewhat fixed on the way back, though.

High speed train from Tokyo to Kyoto takes ~2.5 hours (515 km/320 miles) and while the speed is pretty high, it does not feel like a fast moving train while you are inside.

We arrived to Kyoto in the mid-day and took a taxi to our hotel.

Kyoto Garden Ryokan Yachiyo
Our hotel from outside.

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Tenshi no Sato visit

Just a few days ago we returned from Japan. A trip we long dreamed about. More complete everyday reports will follow too, but we wanted to start with pictures closer to the end of our visit.

On April 18th we visited Tenshi no Sato, famous VOLKS Dollfie place. It is located in a beautiful garden, only open on holidays and weekends and you can only get there with an advance reservation. At most 100 customers can visit in a single day. We wanted to describe it while our memory is still fresh.
This is also the place where our Hina-chan was born.

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