Saturday, April 28, 2012


Geisha in Gion.
Walking to the Kiyomizudera Temple.
Earlier this month we had my brother and another friend from the U.S. visit us in Japan.  They came from different locations in California, but both came over Spring Break.  This was an ideal time to come since I was off work for 8 days, the kids were out of school, and most of all because it was Cherry Blossom season.  Since going to Kyoto and Hiroshima were on our "To Do List" as was taking the Shinkansen (the bullet train), we booked a 4 day, 3 night trip while our visitors were here. 

We took the early departure Shinkansen from Shinagawa (Tokyo) and arrived in Kyoto by 9am.  Our hotel was directly across the street from Kyoto Station which made it convenient to check in our bags so that we could walk around before our afternoon tour.  What I learned about Kyoto is that not only is it popular, it is very spread out.  We covered a lot in the time we were there.  Here are some highlights:
Fushimi Inari-Taisha Shrine.  A must see!!

  • We were able to go to the Kyoto Imperial Palace.  Normally you have to be granted permission, but it was open to the public the weekend we were there.  Nice grounds and interesting buildings.
  • Kyoto Station is perhaps the coldest train station I have ever been to.  One side of the station is open, so it was creating such a wind-tunnel and was freezing.  I can only imagine how hot it will be in summer.
  • Kyoto is an ancient Japanese capital.  It has over 1,000 years worth of history.
  • There is a ton of walking.  Bring good shoes.
  • The shrines/temples in Kyoto are so vibrant in color.  
  • The Sanjusangen-do Temple was fascinating.  I wish I could have taken photos of all the statues.
  • I wish we would have stayed one more night.  There's so much to see and do! 

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