Thursday, April 22

Trip to Kyoto

In Kyoto, we couldn't walk a block without seeing either a temple, a shrine or a castle.  I know I've said before that you've seen one temple, you've seen them all, but that adage does not apply when you're in Kyoto.  There's just something impeccably wonderful about the ancient architectural detailing of these places.

Kyoto is known as the eternal ancient capital with over 1,200 years of history to its name.While there, the Hubby and I made sure we visit the 2 places listed by UNESCO as a world heritage site.
Nijo-jo (Nijo Castle).  No shoes allowed inside the castle.  And seriously, I don't know, maybe, because it was raining, the entire inside of the castle kinda smelled like feet. No kidding.  Nijo-jo was built in 1603 as the official Kyoto residence of the first Tokugawa Shogun, Ieyasu.  Lonely Planet says it is one of the finest examples of Momoyama architecture in Japan.  And of course as you know by now, Lonely Planet has been guiding me throughout our trip.  One of the highlight inside is the authentic lavishing paintings and carving dating back to the 1600s.  Ieyasu had the castle built to display ostentatious prestige but also fortified it by filling the interiors with nightingale floors (squeak squeak squeak, seriously). Nijo-jo celebrated it's 400th anniversary last 2003 but was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1994.

umm, this was just a random castle inside Nijo-jo grounds.   
See! I tell you, not even a block!

Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavillion)  Probably the nicest temple I have ever seen in my life. Ever. Period.  This 3 story temple consists of 3 different types of architecture.  The 1st floor reflects the palace style or Shinden-zukuri. The 2nd floor reflects a more samurai style, Buke-zukuri.  And finally the 3rd floor is the Zen temple style, Karayo zuruki.  The temple is covered in gold leaf Japanese lacquer.  Isn't that fantastic!?! Remarkable and truly elegant.

The Golden Pavillion was built in 1394 (whoa!) and has been inscribed in the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list last 1994.

Of course, dear Hubby had to make a wish  

 Even Hello Kitty was there! heehee

We were also able to tour the grounds of Kyoto Imperial Palace. Note to those planning to visit, a permission is required before you can enter the grounds.  It's absolutely free and you can reserve for guided English tours online.  By the way, silly blogger and Hubby forgot to quantify map distance and walked from one edge of the castle to the next.  Big Mistake!  Ang layo pala nya! Damnit!

Later that night, we took the bus to Gion.  Every book guide I have read says that over at Gion, one might be able to chance upon an actual real life Geisha walking in between her appointments.  So the Hubby and I, in true-paparazzi fashion, staged a coup outside a geisha house.

The Hubby looking very excited outside the Giesha house 

At night, we were treated to the view of Kyoto Tower, which was a stone's throw away from our hotel.

Before leaving for Tokyo, we decided to venture into yet another temple near our hotel.  After all if it was good enough to feature in Lonely Planet, it's certainly good enough to deserve a stop-by from us.

Nishi Hongan-ji.  This temple was built by the same guy who built Osaka Castle, Toyotomi Hideyoshi.  It actually serves as a school for Buhddhism.  Great architectural details, as expected.  What's different about this particular temple is its enormous size.  A block radius.  It has 5 buildings inside all showcasing Momoyam period designs.  Did I mention, it was free admission.


Post a Comment