As promised yesterday, I’m back with day 2 of my weekend trip to Kyoto while I vacation in Japan. Day 1 was very tiring because of the extreme heat and lack of air conditioning on the bus, but the sights in Nara were worth it. I’m pleased to say that Day 2 was filled with other beautiful and awe inspiring sights and included buses with air conditioning!
This will also be another picture heavy post because we saw so many beautiful sights. There also may be a picture or two that are mislabeled because when I was going through them I lost track of the order and some of the places look similar!
After we ate breakfast at our hotel, a guide picked us up to walk across the street to Nijo Castle. This used to be the castle for the shogun. Shoguns were like generals. Pictures weren’t allowed in the building to preserve the integrity of the building since a lot of the inside is original. I did find a few photos online though so the ones that aren’t mine are labeled. The previous night we saw the castle lit up in multicolor lights and people lined up outside. Apparently there’s a new event that they do there where people come in to listen to ghost stories there, which seems really creepy!
Next, we headed to Kinkakuji, better known as the Golden Pavilion. The iconic temple is world-famous and a very popular attraction to see.
We then went to the Kyoto Imperial Palace. Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan until the emperor moved the capital to Tokyo in the 1800s, I believe. The emperor of Japan still lives in the palace in Tokyo today.
We were dropped off for lunch and then joined another group for the afternoon. We saw 3 temples in the afternoon. One Shinto and the other 2 Buddhist.
First up was Heian Jingu Shrine. This Shinto shrine sits on a really large property and is guarded by stone animals as guardians. I believe the guide said that the animals chosen were influenced by Chinese culture. Photos aren’t allowed of the actual shrine, but I took photos of other parts of the temple.
I love all the colors of the shrine. The white papers on the tree are fortunes. If you get a bad fortune, you hang it on the tree to try to get rid of it.
The next temple, Sanjusagendo, is a Buddhist temple and it was so cool inside but no photos are allowed! Inside is an entire hall of statues – and I’m talking about a very long hall. Apparently, the temple hall is Japan’s longest wooden structure. In the center of the hall is a large wooden statue of Senju Kannon (a Google search told me she is the Goddess of Mercy), who is 1000 armed. The main statue is flanked on each side by 500 of human size 1000-armed Kannon. It is amazing to see and I found a few photos online.
So cool, right?!
The last stop was by far my favorite of the day though. Kiyomizu Temple sits on the top of a hill and the road to get there is lined with shops. Once you get to the top you’re greeted by a gate and a beautiful temple with gorgeous, bright colors. You’re so far up that you can get a view of Kyoto down below! Off to the side there is also a Shinto temple that is specific to love and is like a love temple! You’ll know where the Shinto temple is because of the Torii gate. My favorite part of this temple were the bells – the sound makes my heart happy! Listen below!
After seeing the temple and the view you slowly start winding down the hill on a tree lined path where you’ll see the purification area and tea houses.
Click below for the bells!
We stopped in some shops on our way back down and then headed back by bullet train to Tokyo.
Two other random photos to share:
I saw these girls in kimonos walking down the street. You don’t see a ton of girls wearing them, but you do see them!
And second, it’s so hot that these random water misters around are giving me life!
We got back to Tokyo a little after 9pm Sunday night and were exhausted!
I leave Japan tomorrow and head to my next destination, but I still have some more Japan posts to share!