Japan Trip, Part 6 – Kyoto

From Kanazawa we took a few trains to Kyoto. The journey wasn’t particularly interesting as ended up standing for the whole two hours but we were glad that our bags were being shipped around without us having to carry them, making good use of the Japanese baggage shipping system which really did seem very efficient. (So no real surprise there.)

Unusually for a ryokan, our receptionist was a cat:

The shot below shows a pachinko hall. If you don’t know, pachinko is a game of almost no skill that, as I worked out, involves holding a dial in a single position and hoping ball-bearings fall into a hole in the middle. Imagine pinball where you don’t have to do anything except put your money in and you’re not far away.

The Japanese staff were very helpful taking my 1000 yen and showing me how to spend it too and although I’m glad I gave it a try it’s hard to imagine a less satisfying way of spending a fiver.

This was one of the stranger drinks we saw in a vending machine. Cider and condensed milk… mmmmmm…

Kyoto itself is jam-packed with temples:

And where there’s a temple, there’s a crowd:

We also visited the Golden Pavilion at Rokoyun-ji temple, a quite impressive building with two stories entirely covered in real gold (about 40 tonnes worth):

Bob and Jo both taking photos. I don’t see why one set of the same place isn’t enough, but there you go:

As ever, there were very well designed gardens around the pavilion:

Our Japanese guide for the day was very keen on taking photos of the four of us, so this is a rare shot with me in it:

Although obviously a new building, this construction around the garden still follows a very traditional style:

Another Kyoto temple:

The second day in Kyoto we decided to visit the Zen Buddhist temple complex, including Ryoanji, towards the north of the city. The main attraction is certainly the gardens with their raked pebble and rock formations:

This garden signifies how a rock thrown harder at water makes more ripples than a smaller rock dropped in. Duh!

One of the larger garden pieces:

A rock close-up:

The temple building itself was made of some of the widest floorboards ever, as this photo (with Ann being used for scale) shows:

It wasn’t all about rocks and gravel, oh no, there were trees at the temple too:

Sometimes the rock, pebble and moss formations really did look like land formations emerging from water, as these were intended to:

The larger garden, but with a bit more sun:

Round the corner from the Zen temples: a 99 yen shop:

From the temples we took a bus to Kyoto’s Nijo Castle:



We weren’t always particularly impressed by how defensible the things called castles were. After all, paper walls aren’t the most resistant to attack. These ramparts show the other side of things, though, and not something I’d want to try and climb up with a bunch of samurai waiting at the top:

Download all photos in high res (over 200mb total)

Next: Japan Trip, Part 7 – Osaka

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