Day 8 – Kyoto

So our second day in Kyoto would be to explore various touristy attractions, getting off the train in the morning I found the design of their seats to be rather strange. Personally they looked like wheelchairs, don’t know if that’s intentional or not.

Wheelchair bench =D

Who knew Bonsai trees got so big, but looking at this one, I immediately felt it had a human stance to it. What do you guys think?

Big bonsais

Outside the train station there were a heap of stalls selling various kinds of foods, from onigiri, yakitori and steamed buns. I don’t think we went on any particular special day, so I’d assume they’re there to appeal to the travelers and tourists.

Food skewers

For breakfast we decided to have this steam bun, it was quite a sight when he lifted the lid. The amount of steam which came out was astonishing, this meant the bun was piping hot and actually rather difficult to eat immediately.

Steamed buns for breakfast

The scenery around is just beautiful with a lovely river running down and lush hills in the background. The river itself is actually very shallow which I found somewhat odd, it appeared as though you could walk across it and have your head above the water.

View of the shallow river

While appearing shallow there were some oldies fishing, don’t know if there’s much fish in the river. I certainly couldn’t see any.

Oldies fishing beside the river

Lanterns seem very popular as a shop fixture over in Japan with this store sporting about a dozen!

More lantern thingies

Rickishas are also predominant here, mostly likely as a tourist attract, but this couple was very well dressed to visit the vicinity.

Couple being pulled around

Following the road along we were headed to the Tenryuji Temple. The trek there isn’t far but the walk itself is lovely as there’s plenty of greenery to calm the sense.

Mmm... berries

There’s actually a few gardens around the outside before you hit the actual temple and smaller shrines all over the place.

Entrance to a garden

It’s also around here we find statues of these funny looking creatures, still can’t pick what they are, some sort of a bear I guess?

Funky bear like statues

The other thing about them is, they look strangely similar to one of our fellow travelers, don’t you think so?

Don't they look alike?

Moving along, I noticed something strange in the corner of my eye, a camera I’d never seen in the flesh before only read about online. Getting closer I saw that it was a newer digital Hassalblad, certainly not cheap, guess this old couple had a good Super fund to be able to buy one of those things, just ‘for fun’.

Hasselblad H40

So just before getting to the temple, there an entry fee if you want to enter the garden to have a look around, it wasn’t that much, about 500 yen, so we decided to take up that option. Just before going in though there stood this Torii gate but it was closed off, I assume this probably leads to the back of the temple.

Torii gate entrance way

In front of the temple itself is a beautiful pond, it was even nicer because it was surrounded by the trees and their autumn leaves giving a nice set of colours. Plenty of Koi fish in the pond as well. One strange thing we noticed was the strangely high number of hot young girls coupled up with older dudes, saw about three or four, no idea what the deal is.

View of the pond in the garden

We walked through the garden in search of the Bamboo forest that everyone speaks of but the walk through the garden wasn’t as short as we thought, it was a nice walk though, especially with the sun shining through the red and orange leaves.

Autumn trees shadowing the path

Finally getting to the end of the path, we hit the beginning of the bamboo forest and the walk way through it, and while it doesn’t sound like anything spectacular, the view is just amazing. There’s just something about the way the light filters through the leaves and gently lights up the green bamboo tree underneath.

Walking through the bamboo forest

It’s also rather dark inside, which is kinda odd as the walk there was in bright sunlight and there’s a stark contrast when you walk through (for the photography buffs, I actually had to bump my ISO up to 800-1600)

Looking up

As you can see, it’s actually a forest and not just a wall of bamboo trees.

Bambooooo

So quickly rushing back, as we were short on time, our next stop was the monkey park up on a hill. The walk up there was rather intense and it was a steep climb, probably took us 40 minutes just to get up. While walking up, we didn’t see a monkey in sight, until we got close to the pen. To our surprise, we saw the following…

Monkies getting it on

Yep, two monkeys getting it on. Doggy style. Funny though, they stop as soon as we were looking and continued as we looked away. Once at the top, there were heaps of monkeys, rather funny looking with their red bums. As we rushed on, along the way down we saw this little monkey sitting on top of the slide, it looked quite sad. Once we got to the bottom we tried to persuade it to slide down, but we couldn’t.

Sad looking monkey

So after quickly running down the hill, we caught a Randen Tram to the Golden Pavillion.

Randen tram to the golden pavilionGetting off, we had to take a bus to get closer. Alighting from the bus, we saw a bunch of Jap girls in Kiminos, being tourists, you do the obvious thing. Ask for a photo.Random girls in kiminos

The Pavilion was a short walk from the bus stop and we luckily managed to see one of the hills with a picture/character on them. This one had a star or a man-like figure on it, we later found out that there were 5 or 6 of these things around the place.

Star/man figure in a hill

The sun was setting quick and the Golden Pavilion was going to close, we dashed to the entrance and grabbed out ticket, a rather large piece of paper with some writing on it.

Ticket to visit the golden pavillion

Walking through, we finally hit the Pavilion itself, and it stands below in all its glory. I’m kinda glad that we caught it as the sun was setting, it gave it a very vibrant golden glow in the afternoon sun. You can’t really see in this photo, but it really just shines and stands out from the background.

The golden pavillion

We also saw the bunch of girls from the bus stop inside as well and we took another group photo, this time though we had our cameras on timer. It was rather amusing to see 8 cameras all set to a timer and going off at the same time. We quickly moved on afterwards as it was getting late.

Kyoto Station

We were told that Kyoto station was rather nice to see as well as it had been redeveloped to a more modern state. The outside was a mesh of steel and glass rising high into the sky.

Outside Kyoto Station

The inside had a similar design, lots of triangles and very futuristic and industrial looking. You don’t really get a feel of the size of the place until you head up the long set of escalators.

Inside Kyoto Staton

As you rise up, you can see it’s a very unique design, very modern and somewhat monumental in size.

The roof of Kyoto station

From the top, it’s just amazing how big the place is, it makes our Central station look like a bus stop or something.

Looking down from the

By the time we were done, it was quite late, so it was time to head back home, we decided to split off and race, I would walk/jog back to the hostel while the rest would take a train. I managed to get slightly confused and lost yet managed to beat the others back. Their excuse? They had to wait for their cakes/donuts. Whatever.

When we got back to the hostel, it was time to have some fun, we met up with Lilly and Isabella again and decided to head to Karaoke =D. Knocking down a bottle of whisky along the way was fun, until we got there and realised something. It was unlimited alcohol! An hour was approximately $12! What a bargain! Unfortunately that night was a bit of a blur, but I do recall ordering a vodka and lemonade but instead to find, a shot of vodka and a slice of lemon. Great.

Also remember Lilly being in the toilet for a while and refusing to come out. Good times, haha.

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