Kyoto 京都

27 05 2009

Sorry for the delays but I finally got around to writing my Kyoto post.  I hope you readers were all still looking forward to it.  I was supposed to meet a friend for this, but he turned into a no show.  I hadn’t made plans on what to do without him, so I stressed out a bit and tried my best to find my way around.  I only made it to 2 places in Kyoto, but they are 2 of the most famous places in Kyoto, Kiyomizu Temple and Kinkakuji.  Hit the Jump for more!

Kyoto station - Most amazing station I have ever seen.

Kyoto station - Most amazing station I have ever seen.

I guess I’ll do this in a semi diary style again.  As I am a really really poor intern student, I save wherever possible.  This means I take the bus instead of the Shinkansen as much as possible.  Round trip for the Shinkansen from Nagoya to Kyoto is 10,000 yen, the high speed bus is 4,315 yen.  Sweet :).

Unfortunately, it meant I had to wake up really really early to catch the first train and the first high speed bus, so I could make it to Kyoto before 10 to meet my no-show friend.  Just a shot of me heading to the train station, so you have a sense of how early it was.

This picture would look so much better in HDRI, but not bad nonetheless.

This picture would look so much better in HDRI, but not bad nonetheless.

Waiting for the first train

Waiting for the first train

I guess buses are the same everywhere, so I guess more pictures aren’t necessary :P.  Upon arriving at Kyoto, I see this!

Epic Train station

Epic Train station

Looking from the Top.  The doors on the side lead to different sections of a huge shopping mall.

Looking from the Top. The doors on the side lead to different sections of a huge shopping mall.

Ok, I guess it’s enough gawking at a train station :P.  Kyoto is special compared to other major cities in Japan in that it was never severely bombed, fire-bombed, or nuked during World War II due to the then Secretary of War, Henry Stimson, recognizing the cultural significance. It is one of the few places in Japan with an extreme abundance of pre-war buildings, and is packed national treasures.  You’ll also notice a distinct lack of high rise buildings as Kyoto attempts to keep the city’s old skyline.

The first step that anyone should do in Kyoto is go to the bus center right outside the station and buy themselves a 1,200 yen day pass for the subway and bus.  Note: the pass only applies for the city run subways and not the private rail.

Be sure to get your day pass.  They speak English here somewhat.

Be sure to get your day pass. They speak English here somewhat.

After giving up on my friend, I took the 101 series tour bus and made my first stop: Kiyomizu Temple aka Kiyomizudera or 清水寺.  Thanks to the swine flu effect there is a distinct lack of Japanese tourists in Kyoto ( I still think Japan is over reacting.).  For the most part, there were more foreign tourists than Japanese people around, but there were a lot of middle schoolers who were there for their start of school trip :).  If you played Persona 4 and wondered if those school trips in the game were real, yes they are!

DSC_1682

Swine Flu Effect. Hmm... Sailor Fuku

Some temple near the front.  I'm not sure what it does.

Some temple near the front. I'm not sure what it does.

There are numerous sub temples all around the Kiyomizu complex each dedicated to something different.  People write their wishes on those wood slabs and tie them up like you see in the picture.

Attempt at a dramatic shot, and failing with the depth of field use.

Attempt at a dramatic shot, and failing with the depth of field use.

Before entering the temple, you’re supposed to purify yourself by washing your hands, mouth etc.  In the wake of swine flu, most people have foregone this step.

DSC_1692O, in this building that you must pay a “donation” of 200 yen to enter there is some sort of Buddhist refreshing chamber.  What it really is, is an extremely long tunnel with no lights and no sound except at the very end when you encounter the prayer stone.  Say your wish and turn the stone and leave.  It’s actually surprisingly refreshing to get your senses back upon exiting.  I strongly recommend trying it out.

Refreshing Chamber?

Refreshing Chamber?

Next up, time to enter the main temple.  The temple itself has an extra national treasures hall where you must pay a “donation” of 500 yen to enter.  I passed on that one, and continued my way through the temple.

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Prayer Hall, I guess.

A subtemple devoted to matters relating to love.

A subtemple devoted to matters relating to love.

The love rock.  Close your eyes and think of the person you love.  If you can make it to the other identical rock, your love will come true.  If you can't, well good luck...

The love rock. Close your eyes and think of the person you love. If you can make it to the other identical rock, your love will come true. If you can't, well good luck...

Kiyomizu is famous for its wooden terraces, and for good reason!

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The famous water shrine.  Drinking water from the shrine and washing your hands with it is supposed to be bring prosperity and long life.  Make sure to buy yourself a personal cup for a souvenir.

The famous water shrine. Drinking water from the shrine and washing your hands with it is supposed to be bring prosperity and long life. Make sure to buy yourself a personal cup for a souvenir.

Onwards, to Kinkakuji.  However, on the way I saw this which was kind of interesting.  Kyoto is a huge clash of old and semi-new.  This new building has literally been built into part of an existing shrine.

Old meets New!

Old meets New!

Kinkakuji is built in the middle of a forest :O.  It feels so weird to see so much green in Japan.

Green.. so much Green!

Green.. so much Green!

Hooooly crap, I didn’t expect the Kinkakuji to actually sparkle.  I didn’t think it was possible for a building to sparkle.  My amusement is shared by the Japanese students as they exclaim in surprise, めちゃめちゃきらきらしてるじゃん! - Isn’t it ridiculously shiny!

めちゃめちゃきらきらしてるじゃん! - Japanese Middle School Student

めちゃめちゃきらきらしてるじゃん! - Japanese Middle School Student

Shiny...

Shiny...

Photographing the Photographers :D

Photographing the Photographers 😀

Charm Shop

Charm Shop

The Wishing Shrine that you're actually allowed to use.

The Wishing Shrine that you're actually allowed to use. The orange boxes are fortune vending machines...

I guess that’s about it for Kinkakuji.  With that, I spent a long time getting lost before I made it back to Kyoto station.  On the way back, I passed by a river in Kyoto, with all sorts of people playing instruments.  There was even a band with a drum set on the riverbank.  There was even  scene reminicent of K-ON!

A student band on the banks of Kyoto.

A student band on the banks of Kyoto.

snapshot20090527211756

K-ON?  Not quite :(.

K-ON? Not quite :(.

I’ll end this post with a few night shots I took while wandering back to Kyoto station.  Who said it was easy to find your way around in Kyoto!  This place is ridiculous!

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Whew I made it back

Whew I made it back

Sorry for dragging the post for so long, but I had so many pictures!  I have a few more for those who are interested, but I’ll put those up in venue specific posts!  Until next time!  I hope you enjoyed reading!

Oh yea, and here’s Hayate 137 :P.  Gogogo!

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18 responses

27 05 2009
Nyarth

The girl in the K-ON! reminisce looks hawt ;D

27 05 2009
guorbatschow

highschoolers in sailor seifukus would have gained you +300% pageviews :[

27 05 2009
Chris

Ah, Kyoto. I should’ve taken more pictures of the train station, but I was there for the ‘old’ not the ‘new’. If you’re ever in Kyoto for Cherry Blossom Season, I have a warning for you:

DO NOT TAKE THE BUS

It is packed. Like sardines. And the roads are crowded with tourist cars and taxis, so they crawl along and are often late (the problems with non-rapid transit. I’m so glad that KW is getting rapidtrans (LRT) soon).

If you get another chance to go to Kyoto, I recommend against Ginkakuji (it’s under construction) and don’t pay to see the Zen Rock Garden at Ryoanji (it’s not worth the 500Y, but the grounds are spectacular).

27 05 2009
aaroninjapan09

I did get all the way to the entrance of Ginkakuji. After reading one of your previous comments, somehow I was under the impression that they were handing out discounts.

But nooo…. their sign said, “The world heritage site is unavailable, but would you like to pay full price to see the thing next to the heritage site?” I said Hell’s no and moved on haha.

Hope you liked my pics. I’m still trying to get better at photography.

28 05 2009
Yuki Phnx

awww, the love rock! i’ve seen that in many animes

and i could really use a love shrine like that right about now…

ahh, the water shrine. so many of your pictures reminds me of different animes, haha

lol, kira kira!

28 05 2009
robostrike

Great sight seeing location ^_^ Hope you prayed for a raise so you can purchase more Japanese goodies ^_^ I really liked the design of the new train station.

31 05 2009
aaroninjapan09

Haha, I wish it was actually possible for me to get a raise.

The train station is epic, but Kyoto is much more about the old than the new.

28 05 2009
Lorfarius

Another great post 🙂 Thanks again. The night shots are my favourite.

31 05 2009
aaroninjapan09

Thanks :). I always have great fun with the night shots.

29 05 2009
bluemage

The Kyoto station is amazing! Looks so high-tech!

The first wooden terrace pic totally reminded me of Lucky Star when the girls visited Kyoto, and I can just picture them going up to the fortune vending machines and trying to get good fortunes.

Man the Kinkakuji temple looks shiny even in your photo.

It would seem that there are Anime references anywhere you go in Japan. The K-On! one was pretty close.

And yes the Kyoto Tower Hotel night shot looks amazing!

Good to see that you still had an awesome time in Kyoto even without your friend. But next time you must go where most Anime fans go when they are in Kyoto – the Kyoto Animation building! =)

31 05 2009
aaroninjapan09

AH ha, so that’s where I first saw Kiyomizu in anime. I was trying so hard to remember as I was writing this post.

I’ll get the K-ON reference right next time, I was just a little far south apparently.

Glad you like the shots. The kinkakuji is really really shiny. It’s amazing.

30 05 2009
GNdynames

Oh wow, it’s really been a while since I’ve seen anything non-western. I really need a vacation T.T

31 05 2009
aaroninjapan09

😛 Come come, Japan is where you want to go!

4 06 2009
MLLofTUHC

Lol, the balcony at Kiyomizu is famous for its suicides too. Last time I went there, they said a large number of them.

You missed the Fushimi Inari Shrine (伏見稲荷大社)! Well, you can save that for next time you go. Also Touji too (東寺). Forgot what else is there. There are a lot of things to see.

5 06 2009
aaroninjapan09

It’s not famous for its suicides. There was a myth there that if you jumped off the terrace and survived any wish of yours will come through. So people went and did just that. Unfortunately, quite a few died and the practice was banned.

5 06 2009
maru

Wow. Kyoto station is huuge.

Also, noticed that travelling fees in Japan are quite expensive. They cost as much as figures.. O.o

5 06 2009
aaroninjapan09

Lol, it’s because the distances are really quite far. Figures themselves are already quite expensive.

7 06 2009
Gakuji

Japan… is so clean o_O
The streets and landscape sparkle O_O

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