got up early yesterday and headed to northern kyoto to see the ancient temples and shrines. most notable of these was the golden temple - absolutely amazing. also saw the 5 storey pagoda which was pretty cool. after this walked to nijo castle only to get there as the lady closed the gate at 4 for closing at 5 (having just let people in about 15 seconds earlier!). so with a changed plan we headed to the main night time/ shopping area and found ourselves in a karaoke booth! soooo much fun - spent an hour in a private lounge with unlimited drinks singing along to all our fave songs! chris was dubious but was belting out oasis before he knew it! found a japanese buffet for dinner, got to try lots of different things including japanese omelette, sushi, tofu etc....some of it very interesting! chris somehow managed to pop a giant shrimps eyeball all over his plate and needless to say will be avoiding them for a while!
today we set off for the imperial palace, having arrived we wandered around the grounds and gardens, however they only let people in once a day (at 2) and we had more planned so moved on. we did the philosophers walk in eastern kyoto - completely amazing. quaint little canal set in ancient kyoto and along offshots these incredibly ornate temples and shrines are littered. they are truly beautiful and serene places - well worth a few hours look! afterwards we went back to nijo castle (again!) and got in this time. walked the grounds and got to look in the shoguns palace with `nightingale` floors - floors that sound like birds to warn of unwelcome visitors. had some dinner in a really cool restaurant with ground level tables, then went to the geisha district of gion to look around and pick up some souvenirs.