Thursday, October 6, 2011

Goodbye to Kyoto

Sadly, today was our last day in Kyoto. I truly love this city and wish I could stay so much longer. We got to do some things I hadn't done in my last visit, and I got to return to some favorites of mine. We ate some great food, some AMAZING food, and had a wonderful time wandering around, seeing geisha, and being treated like royalty by the staff of Hotel Mume. All in all, a wonderful time!

This morning we got an early start so we could eat breakfast and pack our stuff. I had wanted to get to one more temple, and possibly fit in more shopping if it made sense for us. I couldn't remember for sure which temple had the amazing gardens that I wanted to see, but I thought it was Nanzenji, so that's where we were off to.

On the way to the bus stop, on a random corner, we witnessed this installation. It reminded us of something we'd normally see in Key West (note the blue robot at the corner):
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

We got off at the bus stop and there were no tourists and no strong indication of where the temple was. We managed to figure out the map on the bus stop (all in Japanese, of course) and started wandering through a very cute neighborhood on the way to Nanzenji. Not only was it a lovely walk, we were pleasantly surprised to find very few people at the temple, and perhaps more importantly for the calm tone of the place, no hoards of school children!

By a home near Nanzenji:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

From here it's really just a bunch of photos (the full set is here!). The temple itself is lovely, but the home and garden of the head monk (hundreds of years ago) is where many of the photos are taken. Also the aquaduct running water into the site. It's a little out of place in structure in my mind, but it's so much fun to photograph! And then the woods and trees and buildings from the 1500's... so much beauty. So, on with the show:

Walking in from the street, the forest:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

Me before we get to the BIG gate:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

Mom and the forest:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

The scale of the gate. There IS a person in this picture, but you may have to look full sized to see him.
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

The aquaduct:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

Mom, the model:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

The gardens around the monk's house. The main garden:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

A small side garden along the covered path:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

Rock garden:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

Me by the winding bits of covered walks:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

A shot of the winding path:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

And, of course, I love taking roof edge shots. Here's a few:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

After some further wandering through the neighborhood, we went downtown to grab a bite (darn it, forgot to take a picture of the tasty grilled eel dishes!). And then we made our way back to the hotel for the last time. It did give me a chance to take a few more photos.

Here I am on my favorite street:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

And it's been my favorite street since the first time I walked down it simply because of the vibe and the fact that it feels like it transports you back to days of the Samurai. But apparently it's important enough to put up a sign. Now, if only I could read it!
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

Finally, lest you think Kyoto is free of some of the quirky Japanese bits, I present to you a giant turnip on top of a building:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

And the little giraffe outside the door of our very elegant hotel:
From Kyoto Day 4 - October 6, 2011

Our trip to Nara was uneventful, though it's always fun to navigate train stations in other countries. But once we arrived in Nara I came to realize how exhausted I was. While we got to see some of the famous deer wandering around as soon as we got here, and our hotel (Hotel Nara) is a lovely old building, we will be doing our Nara touristing tomorrow. Stay tuned!

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