Kyoto, a beautiful city with wonderful things to see and do, when we got here as I said we didn't really do much. However, Tuesday was an interesting day, I think we spent more time running around finding subways than we did touring, but that was part of the adventure. Tuesday we got up at 9:30am and headed out with the group to go to Fushimi-inari shrine, which is famous for its Fox statues, and also for the 1000 tori gates, which was featured in the movie Memoirs of a Geisha. If you remember the scene where the little girl is running up to the shrine and she's running through the gates of red, it was like and just as cool. Except I didn't run… I walked. The shrine was HUGE and I enjoyed walking around. Fushimi-inari is located at the base of the Mountain Inari and the god that they pray to here is the god of business so all of the tori gates are donated by Japanese Business. The Shrine was one of the shrines that was supported by the government in the 1870s till about the 1940s. After that we spent most of the time trying to get to the NEXT shrine: the toji shrine, it was OKAY. It wasn't amazing, but still awesome. This temple was built in 796 by the emperor at the time and it also with his brother shrine was the only two allowed to be built at the time. It eventually became a major temple in Kyoto. Only one of the original buildings survived many fires and wars the others were rebuilt. It took all day to do those two things, so everyone was tired and we put off going to Kyoto imperial gardens and the castle. And my camera (as I have had it AND that same rechargeable battery since HIGH SCHOOL) died halfway through the day so I decided to head to BicCamera to find a battery, by myself. WOO! That was an adventure; I managed to Gaijin in up and with the help of my electronic dictionary- I managed to get a new rechargeable battery for ROUGHLY 40USD. Bah. But when I got back, I had a MAJOR headache, so I hopped in bed for a nap. UNFORTUNANTELY that was around 6pm and just to let you know that headache WOULD not go away until I found pain meds at like 1AM the next morning. I mean OW. But I felt better after a good night's rest.
Wednesday we finished our trip and headed to Kyoto Imperial Gardens and Kyoto Castle. We broke up into groups, Ro-chan, Gel, Kay-chan and I left at roughly 10ish in the morning and we spend about an hour or two walking the imperial gardens. The gardens are beautiful: this used to the be location of the Imperial family's house until the Capital of Japan was moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. The gardens were left to disarray until one emperor decided that the grounds should be up kept and open to the public. I do believe that one of the houses in the Gardens is where the Empress Dowager lives on occasion. Then we stopped from lunch at the all famous McDONALDS (which btw is MUCH better than America McDonalds. Better Quality).
Then we walked to the Castle which was about a ten minute walk from the Gardens. The castle was the resident of the Shoguns during the Tokugawa era. One of the best things about the place is the Ninomaru Palce, which has the Nightingale Floor. This floor literally chimes when you walk on it. The was to prevent anyone from sneaking in during the night. Unless you are extremely light and skilled it's hard NOT to set that floor to squeaking and fluttering. And It really does sound like a flock of birds twittering. I couldn't take pictures inside the place obviously because the light could destroy the art on the walls, but let me tell you the art work as far as paintings and carvings were AMAZING. I will definitely have to show you my post cards I bought of the art inside. And while walking, Kaylee, Gelsey and Roisin and I determined that in a past life we had all been here at one point. Kaylee was a detective that did solve her last case and ended up dead because of it. Gelsey was a dog in her past life, and while defending her master got punted… and died. Roisin was a Geisha involved in some affair and ended up dying because it was found out. I was an apprientice artist or something and ended up getting caught in the cross fire. Yup. We had a good time. We spent until about 4:30 there. And then got on the train to head to Gojo to go to a bridge that Kaylee really wanted to see which is named Gojo-ohashi, the bridge is supposed the place were a famous battle happened that ended up making friends of supposed enemies. A young lord and someone with the status of retainer, they traveled together and the loyalty that they had together is the stuff of many stories. It was in a really nice part of town and we got to walk by the Kyoto University of Arts. Then we came back to the hotel, got dinner then went to a REALLY nice ice-cream shop that served some freakin' awesome sundaes and parfaits. They looked awesome and tasted amazing. Today we traveled to Ōsaka, found a nice restaurant for lunch and then we're going to wonder around Namba which is a apparently a really nice party of the city with a bunch of touristy stuff, So I'll update up when I can!
Until then! Ja ne!! Carolyn