Saturday, June 6, 2015

Stairways to Heaven

Saturday we did some sightseeing. The day began cloudy with a few light sprinkles but was forecast to improve so we headed out early after breakfast. We started  in the Higashiyama area which is in the foothills of the  mountains east of Kyoto. This means all of the temples are multi level complexes of buildings built into the slopes and are accessed by many, many stairs. According to my steps tracker, we walked over 15000 steps Saturday and a healthy percentage was up and down stairs.
Our first temple was Kiyomizu whose high location offers nice views overlooking Kyoto. There is also a waterfall that is divided into 3 streams from which it is considered good luck to drink. Next we walked to the Yasaka shrine near Gion, and continued through the Higashiyama district which most closely maintains the look of old Kyoto. We continued to the Kodaiji temple and toured its grounds. While there we witnessed preparations for a traditional Japanese wedding. After leaving Kodaiji we took a look at the enormous statue of the Ryozen Kannon before returning to the hotel for lunch.
Elliott and I tried the hotel's Japanese restaurant for lunch. I had a tray of assorted Japanese delicacies, and Elliott chose several kinds of sushi including squid, prawn, and sea urchin. We both finished with green tea.
After lunch we took a bus to see the Golden Pavilion temple. The sky had cleared up by afternoon and we were able to view the gold covered temple as it gleamed in the afternoon sun. We toured the rest of the temple grounds and then took another bus to downtown Kyoto where we rode to the top of the Kyoto tower for some nice views of the surrounding area. You could even see all the way to Osaka. After the tower we walked to Kyoto station to get a train to the Fushimi Inari temple. However, we didn't go because a ticket agent said the temple was already closed for the day. This conflicted with what I had researched but we took her word. Although I later learned that I was right, it was probably a good idea to return to our hotel then anyway because Elliott was exhausted from our long day of touring and crashed in the bed as soon as we got back.
Weather is supposed to be excellent Sunday so we will probably go to Nara.

Japanese wedding
Drinking from the streams

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