Our stalkers have been with us for twelve days in Tokyo and now they want to follow us to Kyoto, there is just no getting rid of these two. We are booked on the Mizuno Shinkansen which is the fastest of the three different bullet trains. We booked a taxi to pick us up and deliver us to Tokyo Station. Really looking forward to Kyoto and another Japanese experience.
On April 3, 2023 we left Tokyo for Kyoto.
We took the 2.5 hour Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyōto Station. In Kyoto we waited about 30 minutes in line to get a cab to our Guest House. The driver could not find the address we gave him so we had to call the rental agency to talk him through the route which was only 1.4 K from the train station.
This is our accommodations in Kyoto.
We have a lovely old but newly renovated single family home in Kyoto. This shows our entrance hall where they have provided slippers as it is a house rule to remove your shoes at the door.
This shop next to us has anything you may need for household stuff and a sweet old lady owns it and lives above the store. She does not speak English.
We have a lovely little Zen garden off of the sliding door in our living room that is begging for some flowers which of course Sandy will take care of.
Cozy narrow living Room. Zoom in to see the flowers in the garden.
First floor guest room.
Guest Room #2 on second floor. We have a western style bed, sorry no photo.
Our street, the only street in the city without cars but we still have to watch out for bicycles and motorcycles.
There are so many personal street shrines here. This is one in our neighborhood. They leave tea, water and Sake for the deities. The swastikas are not anti-semitic, they are Buddhist signs of peace and good luck which predate the German swastika.
Our first tour sight was a nearby Buddhist Higashi Hongaji Temple. This Serene Temple is one of the largest wooden buildings in the world.
This temple initially constructed in 1272 burned down four times during the Edo Period. The temple grounds feature a mausoleum with the ashes of it’s founder.
Massive beautiful gates to this Temple.
Sleds like this were used to haul timber through snowy areas for the reconstruction of Higashi. The diorama in the following photo depicts a tragic accident that occurred in1883 when a congregation was transporting a huge tree to be donated to the reconstruction effort, as they were going through the mountains an avalanche struck the procession killing twenty seven people, mostly elderly and children who were unable to escape.
This diorama depicts the tragic event.
This Massive rope is made out of human hair and hemp to transport timber. The standard hemp ropes were of low quality and broke. Female devotees donated their hair so stronger ropes could be made.
Shosei-en Garden in Kyoto was very serene and had few people. We enjoyed a brief walk through it as we needed a temple and shrine break.
Azaleas are beginning to bloom as the cherry trees fade.
Beautiful herons, probably great blues.
Once again we wrap up the night with a game of Burraco.
While the stalkers took a bus tour of the city to give their feet a break Jim and Sandy went out for a walk to Maruyama Park and on the way had a great lunch at a Thai restaurant. After 26 days we needed a break from Japanese food. We love Thai green curry as hot as we can get it.
This would be a perfect spot to run but too far from our neighborhood.
We really enjoyed walking along the canal.
Maruyama Park is in Gion.
So many dressed in Kimonos as they strolled through the park. You often see two young girls walking together and dressed alike.
There are many stores that rent the kimono outfit to include dress, handbag, socks and shoes and they will even style your hair. We saw many tourists walking around in Kimonos and they looked strange which made us decide not to do it. Also it would be painful walking around in the wooden clogs.
Many people had professional photographers with them taking their pictures.
Weeping cherry tree.
On our third day in Kyoto we went to Nijo-ji Castle which was home to the first and last shogun. The first Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu lived here in 1603. In 1867, the end of the political rule of the Shogunate and the restoration of power to the Emperor was proclaimed here and thus led to the modernization of Japan. Today it is a UNESCO World Heritage site. We walked through the inside but no pictures were allowed.
There are several gardens surrounding the Castle with plum tree groves and cherry tree groves and two bridges that span the moat connecting the west and east sections of the castle.
The cherry blossoms are still magical.
Visited the very hip Ace Hotel and had a Mexican lunch here. The first Ace Hotel was in Seattle and the second in Portland Oregon. Jim has stayed at the Ace in Portland a couple of times and we have stayed at the Ace in NYC a couple of times. Had drinks at the Ace in New Orleans and now in Kyoto.
On a rainy day we took a taxi to the Train Museum.
There is a stunning display of about 53 trains. All very well maintained from steam locomotives to newer Shinkansen (bullet) train.
Fancy car in an old train
Boys will be boys. Jim always wanted to be a train engineer.
The fast trains are so sleek, not much different from the bullet trains in Spain.
On the stalkers last day we met up with David Graves who came from Osaka to give us a tour of one of his favorite shrines in Kyoto. We were connected to him through our friend Adam Caper. David and Adam met at Bates College and have kept in touch. David is originally from Dorchester but has been living and working in Japan for 33 years. He loves it here and has no plans to ever return.
Kiyomizu-dera meaning “pure water” is a buddhist temple on Mt Otowa known for the scenic views afforded from its sizable veranda.
David had a secret road to reach the Temple away from the crowds of Saturday tourists.
The long gradually climbing road gave us overlooks of cemeteries.
Tons of cemeteries.
This is one of the most famous and celebrated temples in Kyoto. It was founded in 778 AD and contains buildings from the 17th century, including a main hall designated as a National Treasure.
The highlight of the temple is the 13 meter high (42.6 foot) verandah at the main Hall that is composed of 139 trees and not a single nail was used in its construction as nails make wood more susceptible to rot especially in the wet and humid weather.
More than 200 people have been known to jump off the terrace believing that if they survived, their wish would come true. Hmm I guess there are enough trees to break your fall but still…..
Wandering down we saw these unusual spring blooms which are called Japanese fringe flowers.
To thank David for his time and great tour we found this nice hotel rooftop restaurant and bar.
Spectacular Views of a female Buddha in the treetops which we will visit on our last week here.
Jim got this great lunch of vegetables and a dip. Thank you Adam for David’s connection and thank you David, we so enjoyed your tour and meeting you. Let’s hope our paths cross again someday, perhaps next time with Adam and Rebecca as we travel this wonderful world.
We will miss you our perfect stalkers who inspired us to embark on this incredible lifestyle and journey around the world. Safe travels back to your new digs in Palm Springs California. We will visit you this winter. PROMISE🥰