There is so much to talk about Kyoto, Japan that there is a part two! During my first two days staying in Kyoto I visited the Nijo Castle, Arashiyama Bamboo Forest, the Tenryu Ji, and also the Nishiki Market! With the weather clearing up from the previous days I pack up and get ready for the upcoming adventure. For day three and four I go temple running and explore some of the amazing sceneries in Kyoto.
I begin day three by heading down to the local Family Mart which is located nearby the airbnb I was staying at. I picked up some sandwiches, water, and snacks for my little adventure. I pack up all my gear and took the cab towards my first destination, Ginkakuji (The Silver Pavilion).
Ginkakuji is a zen temple located in the Eastern Mountains of Kyoto. Before Ginkakuji became a temple it was a retirement villa of the shogun, Ashikaga Yoshimasa. After Yoshimasa's death it was converted into the temple it is today.
Before reaching to the actual temple I was dropped off at the bottom of the path leading up to the temple. Since I decided to start my adventure early in the morning a lot of the stalls and stores to the side of the path were closed or they were getting ready to open. Walking up on the path you can see a lot of stores selling fans and tiny souvenirs. At the end of the road you see the entrance to the Ginkakuji.
To enter into the actual complex there is a fee of ¥500. Once you enter into the Ginkakuji you see the beautiful dry sand garden laid out in front of you. Alongside the dry sand garden you see the Ginkakuji. Although you are not able to enter into the Ginkakuji you are able to see the beauty from the outside. As you follow the path you see the moss garden leading up to a staircase which brings you to the hill behind the temple. On the hill you are able to see the whole complex along with the cityscape of Kyoto. As I finished off exploring the Ginkakuji I head back down to the path which led me up to the temple. I explored the different stores outside and tried some of the famous Kyoto desserts.
The Philosopher's Path (哲学の道)
The Philosopher's Path is named after the famous philosopher, Nishida Kitaro, who practiced meditation while walking along this path to get to the Kyoto University.
After visiting the Ginkakuji I took the Philosopher's Path down to Nanzen-Ji. The Philosopher's Path is a stone path which runs along a canal that starts from the Ginkakuji and ends at Nanzen-Ji. While going down the path there were a lot of different stores, artists, and personalities. During the walk down the Philosopher's Path you can see a lot of painters and artists sitting alongside the canal drawing and painting the surrounding. Every now and then there are benches on the side of the canal where a lot of people were taking short breaks before continuing along. After reaching a certain point I saw a floating cart with a lot of cats nearby. The caretaker of the cats was seen luring the cats out to feed them at the time I was there. One of the cats walked next to me and rubbed against my leg, the moment I went to pet him he decided to lay down on its side. Another unique thing that I saw was a family of teddy bears sitting on a bench. The biggest of the bears is seen with a fishing pool which is casted into the canal trying to catch fish.
The Nanzen-Ji is one of the most important zen temples in Japan located at the base of the Higashiyama mountains. Nanzen-Ji was built as a retirement villa for the emperor Kameyama and was then converted into a temple.
The Nanzen-Ji was definitely one of the biggest temples I have visited during my trip. There were many buildings to explore and lots of gardens to see. Due to time constraint I was only able to visit the Sanmon gate and got a glance of the exterior of some of the buildings. The Sanmon gate is a giant entrance gate which extends over the treetops. By paying ¥500 you are able to go to the balcony of the Sanmon gate to see an overview of the Nanzen-Ji. Going up to the balcony of the Sanmon gate was very difficult because the stairway was very narrow and the stairs were very steep. Any missteps will lead into major injuries.
After going to the Sanmon gate I explored the rest of the Nanzen-Ji. I head towards the massive aqueduct where everyone was relaxing under. There is a small creek at the bottom of the aqueduct where some people were enjoying the cool water flowing down. There were also a lot of sub temples which I did not have a chance to visit, but I was able to catch a glimpse of the beautiful buildings.
Pontocho (先斗町) & Kagizen Yoshifusa (鍵善良房 本店)
After visiting the Nanzen-Ji I decided to take a quick break by going to Pontocho. Pontocho is a street located alongside the Kamogawa River. There are many different types of restaurants and lots of different attractions to see. There were many different artists and musicians performing by the riverside and a lot of people dipping their feet into the water in the summer heat. I had a quick lunch at the one of the small ramen restaurants nearby and head decided to get dessert afterwards.
After my short exploration at Pontocho I decided to head to Kagizen Yoshifusa for dessert. Kagizen Yoshifusa had a lot of the local Kyoto dessert. What was famous at Kagizen Yoshifusa was the Arrowhead noodles. The arrowhead noodles is a cold noodle which is placed in ice. There is a separate container which contains either a brown syrup or a white syrup. You take the noodles out of the ice container and dip it in the syrup and enjoy! It was a very unique and delicious experience. Especially during the heat this was one of the best things to have to cool down.
Kiyomizudera is a temple built where the Otowa waterfall was located. It is known for the wooden stage that extends out of the main hall which is 13 meters above ground.
After my short break I continued my temple running journey by visiting the "Pure Water Temple," Kiyomizudera. After seeing so many of the photos of the Kiyomizudera it was definitely better to see it in person. Walking up to the temple you see a lot of people in line paying for the entrance fee to get inside the temple. Once you get to the main building you see a lot of people at the edge of the temple. Behind the main hall of the Kiyomizudera is the Jishu Shrine. The Jishu Shrine is a shrine dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. In front of the shrine are two stones which are placed 18 meters apart. It is said that if you were able to walk between the two stones with your eyes closed it will bring you luck in finding love. After visiting the Jishu Shrine I proceeded to the Otowa waterfall. There were a lot of people drinking from the water as it was falling down to the pond. There are three streams from the waterfall each stream will bring you luck in different aspects, the first stream brings longevity, the second stream brings success at school, and the last stream will bring you a fortunate love life.
Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社)
The Fushimi Inari Shrine is Shinto shrine located at the south of Kyoto. It is most famous for the thousands of red torii gates which is seen behind the main buildings.
After my visit at the Kiyomizudera I decided to head to my last destination, the Fushimi Inari Shrine! Before heading to the Fushimi Inari Shrine I stocked up water and snacks as it will be a long hike ahead. I was motivated to pass through all of the torii gates. At the beginning of the hike there were a lot of people taking pictures between the torii gates. As continued my journey further up into the mountains there were less and less people. But each step I took became harder and harder. Halfway through the hike there was a separate path that leads to the top of the mountain. I tried to go up this bath, but the further I went the more eerie it was. There was small cemetery located in the forest. I decided to turn around after passing the forest and continued my journey to pass through all the gates. After reaching the Yotsutsuji Intersection I was demolished. Carrying a backpack with water, snacks, and my camera gear was definitely a work out. By the time I reached to the Yotsutsuji Intersection the sun was setting. As I was gazing at the sunset I realized the adventure I had. Heading up to the mountain I was motivated, but I came back destroyed knowing that I was not able to complete the whole path.
Thank you for checking out Kyoto 2016 Part Two! There are a lot of images I did not include in the blog post due there were just way too many photos to go through. I will be posting all photos on the Zero Hundred Facebook page soon! Please give a like to the Zero Hundred Facebook page and share it to your family and friends!
Up next is Tokyo 2016! Please look forward to it!