During this spring holiday, from March 18th-25th, my friends and I travelled by using 18-kippu to several cities in Honshu Island. The first city we visited was Kyoto (京都). It was an old city and former capital of Japan. Kyoto still has many traditional buildings in it and the Japanese traditions are still preserved here, making it an attractive city for tourists who visit and want to know about Japanese traditions. Using the JR train, we arrived at Kyoto at the Kyoto Station. Kyoto Station is one of the main attractions of Kyoto. Kyoto Station is a big station with more than 30 platforms in it.
From Kyoto Station, we visited the Arashiyama (嵐山) area. There’s a wooden bridge called Togetsukyo (渡月橋) near the Tenryuji Temple (天龍寺). This bridge is a symbol of Arashiyama together with Mt. Arashiyama. There were some jinrikisha (人力車) pullers who would pull the jinrikisha on this bridge so that the passengers could enjoy the view of Arashiyama on the jinrikisha from the bridge. There was also boat rental nearby.
We went around in Kyoto by using bus, and we bought a one day pass for 500 yen. But Arashiyama is located out of the one day pass zone, so we went to the Arashiyama by train, while other places were reached by bus.
After Arashiyama, we visited the Kinkakuji Temple (金閣寺). Kinkakuji is famous for its golden pavilion, one of the main buildings in this temple which was golden colored. This golden pavilion could be viewed from across the pond. There were also some statues in this Kinkakuji area on which people tossed some coins for luck.
From Kinkakuji, we took the bus to Ginkakuji (銀閣寺), but we didn’t go into the temple area. We simply walked along the philosopher’s walk and then we met our friend at Kyoto University. Then he took us to the Heian Temple (平安神宮) to see the big torii gate in front of the temple.
The next place that we visited was Gion (祇園). Gion is a well known geisha district in Japan. There were many tea houses along the street in Gion. There were not many geishas that we saw in Gion, but there were one or two geishas walking quickly when we were in Gion. We were at Gion only for a short time and then we went to another place.
Our friend then bought us to have some dinner, tofu-don (豆腐丼). Tofu is one of the famous foods in Kyoto. It was delicious indeed. I don’t like to eat tofu, but the tofu-don I ate was delicious and tasted better than usual tofu that I had eaten. I ordered fried tofu-set (唐揚げ豆腐丼セット) which consisted of the tofu-don, miso soup, etc.
The next place we visited was Maruyama Park (円山公園). Maruyama Park is the main center of cherry blossom viewing in Kyoto. There was a big cherry blossom tree in this park. We went to the park at night to see the light-up in this park. There was also ikebana exhibition at that time. We walked deeper into the park area and saw a march of people bringing some lamps with 狐の嫁入り (wedding of the fox) written on it. Then there was a woman wearing a fox mask sitting on a jinrikisha among the march.
The next day, we were still in Kyoto, visiting the Kiyomizudera Temple (清水寺). Kiyomizudera is well known for its wooden stage of its main hall located above the hillside. There were shrine behind the main hall and also souvenir shops along the street in front of the temple. The souvenirs sold in the shops here were quite cheap compared with other places, so many people bought souvenirs here, and so did we. 😀
From Kiyomizudera, we went to the Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷) where there were a lot of torii gates rowing up to the inner shrine. These torii gates were offerings from the worshippers, so there were names of people who offered the torii gates written on them. Foxes are considered as the messengers, so there were also many fox statues here.