Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Kyoto day 1

At around nine I arrived at Tokyo station to meet up with Chappie. We couldn't find each other so in the end we just decided what train to take and met up at the platform - that's what happened to put it simple and without mentioning any mishaps :P The Shinkansen train Nozomi takes two hours between Tokyo and Kyoto and makes only three stops along the way. We had bought non-reserved seats but since we got on at the first station that was no problem. Some people had to stand all the way. I felt kind of lucky sitting down and sleeping all the way :P

When we arrived our first stop was at the nearest tourist agency to get a map of the city. Next stop was dropping off our bags at the guest house where we were going to stay. Then we went out sightseeing. On the way we bought some onigiri for lunch. We bought a two day pass for buses and subway each and then we went to Kinkakuji (the golden temple). This day felt like early summer, around 20 degrees and sunny :) Perfect weather :D
After Kinkakuji we went to the Imperial Palace. It's not in use anymore of course, but it's still there and they take good care of it. However, when we arrived there we soon found out that you needed to get entrance permission from somewhere else to be able to enter. So in the end we just hung around the garden. But that was really nice since the sakura were all blooming.
After being kind of let down by the Imperial Palace we went to the Nijo Castle instead, which is the shogun palace. The shogunate ruled Japan for some hundreds of years. No cameras were allowed inside but the experience of the nightingale floor was nice (the creaking of the floor was supposed to warn the residents of intruders). Here too the garden was really something :)
When we considered ourselves done with history we went to Gion, which is kind of a shopping district. There is also a temple, Chionin Temple, and at that place we watched a maiko show (I'm still not really sure what the difference between maiko and geisha is). It was incredible watching the two girls performing. Nothing they did looked difficult but the grace with which they performed was beautiful.
After the performance we went around Gion for some more, taking more pictures and then we went back to the guest house to check in. Both of us were really tired after the long day and after going out for a quick meal at the nearest restaurant we both fell asleep around 10.


  1. I think maiko is the apprentice (perhaps at the end of her schooling in the geisha art?) to a geisha, but I'm not sure I remember correctly.

  2. I think you might be correct, but I really have no idea :P


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