Before me and a few guys from the lodge headed over to Thailand we spent a couple of days down in Kyoto to see some sights, before catching our flight in nearby Osaka.
Kyoto is a pretty big place with lots of things to see, so two days wasn’t really enough but we still crammed in as much as we could.
The first day we headed down to our first Temple, Sanjusangendo. This Temple is a bit more special compared to others, as it is famous for housing 1001 statues of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy. The name Sanjusangendo, means “33 intervals”. This derives from the number of intervals between the building’s support columns, a traditional method of measuring the size of a building.
As with all Temples in Japan, you arn’t allowed to take pictures inside so unfortunately i have no shots of the statues, but outside of the Temple had lovely small gardens and even the odd Sakura, the Japanese Cherry Blossom were starting to bloom.
Later on that day we decided to head over to nearby Gion, famous for its Geisha houses. This was the more traditional side of Kyoto, with small backstreets crammed with different, and rather expensive restaurants and tea houses where you could be entertained by a Geisha. This was unfortunately well out of our budget, but we wandered around for a while in the hope of spotting some Geisha’s outside. Sad to say this time we were unlucky and didn’t get to see any but it was still nice to stroll around.
Another big thing associated with Japan is Manga, or comic books to us western folk. The following day we decided to head over to Kyoto’s Manga Museum, which was really interesting to read about the history of Manga and realise just how big it is in Japan. Suffice to say i even turned into a bit of a Manga geek that day and bought myself a couple of translated Manga’s to read when we finally get to our beach hut in Thailand.
Spending a little too much time at the museum it was a last minute rush to get to our final Temple, Ginkakuji, meaning Silver Pavilion, which was located at the north east of Kyoto next to the Higashiyama mountains. We literally got there just in time before the gates closed so we had just enough light to get some nice pictures.
This temple was in a much more picturesque location compared to others i’ve been to, with a beautiful garden path winding around the side of the forest, before finally giving us a great view of the Temple overlooking the city.
Just before heading home we spotted a small shrine down a small pathway which we decided to check out. By this time the streets were empty and no one was around, so it was a really nice way to end our trip to Kyoto and our overall stay in Japan, by wandering around the shrine and chilling out for a while before we headed back to our Hostel.
Although we had to cut our stay in Hakuba short it was really nice to spend a bit of time in Kyoto before heading to the airport. It definitely made me realise that there is so much more that i want to see in Japan, so i will definitely return as it is an amazing country with the nicest people i’ve ever met. For now though its time to say Goodbye to Japan and head over to Thailand with Ray, G and Joel for our next adventure!