I can't believe we have been home from our fun trip for two weeks already and I haven't been able to get many pictures up. It has been so fun to give mom a tour of Okinawa; time is flying by!
Anyway, Kyoto was awesome. From Seoul, we took a bus, a plane, a train and then a taxi to finally make it to our hotel in Kyoto. It was a long, loooong day. We stayed in a quaint little hotel called the PalaceSide Hotel and really enjoyed it. It was right at the front gate of the old Imperial Palace and easy access to taxi's and food. The only downside were the two twin futon beds that we had to sleep in...it was like sleeping on a slab of cement. We piled all the extra blankets, comforters and anything else we could find to soften the bed but it was a little rough. Beyond that, it was great! We walked and took taxis' from each destination. It was a little pricey but quick and easy.
Here are a few of my favorite pictures:
These first gardens were at the Imperial Palace, absolutely beautiful.
Another garden for the Emperor to enjoy.
The castles/palaces of Kyoto often had different gates for various classes of people. This gate at the Nijo Castle had gorgeous carvings over the top of the Emperor's gate as well as the entrance to the castle.
I love this bright orange! We learned, that the reason for using such vibrant color was to give the illusion of "light" even in the night hours as too frighten away any bad spirits.
I love to see the rooftops here in Asia. The sharp angles are so perfect!
There are so many castles and shrines in Kyoto. In fact I think one of our taxi driver mentioned somewhere around 2,000 in all. Amazing! This is one of them. It is a shrine of 10,000 torii gates. The gates are spread all through and up a mountainside that you can walk through. We did go up the path for a while as the forest was so serene but the mosquitos are aggresive out here and in the end they won..and we turned and went back towards the safety of a taxi. Mean mosquitos.
These are lotus flowers. They are beautiful but now everytime I see them I am reminded of the many many generations of chinese girls that had their feet bound to be as "beautiful as a lotus flower." Disturbing.
This is the Toji Pagoda. It is the tallest pagoda in all of Japan. It is also 400 years old. This pagoda has been struck by lightening 4 times in the last 1,500 years and burned to the ground each time. The odds are definately not in favor of the pagoda...I think its' days are numbered.
The Golden Pavillion. This is a tourist hotspot. It is gorgeous but smaller than I expected.
Another fantastic shrine...I cannot for the life of me remember what it is called but it was right by the Kyoto Handicraft Center.
So, we really loved Kyoto; but Nara we loved even more. So, I have another post to come soon on our Nara excursion. Also soon to come are Geisha pictures (!!!) and the story of a samurai sword. Stay tuned!