Kyoto was the capital of Japan from 794 to 1868. I think it is one of the most impressive cities of Japan with its historical monuments and temples and should be seen.
1. day – 31.07.2014
We were also arrived at Kyoto using the JR-West Rail Pass (Kansai Area Pass) train ticket we bought in Osaka. The journey from Osaka to Kyoto lasts for 1 hour. In the morning our first job was to leave our suitcases to the hotel (Hotel Grand Fine Kyoto Minami) and then to visit Kyoto which is in the UNESCO World Heritage List like Nara.
We bought 2 days tickets (2000 Yens) because we would especially use buses in Kyoto. It has been getting on from the back door and getting off from the front door in buses, and the tickets are shown to driver before getting off. If you will buy the ticket in the bus, you can use ticket machines right next to the door which you got on, you will get your ticket by pressing the button and you will put its price to the box next to the driver before you get off. Ticket prices also vary depending on distance, and the price is shown on the screen as you approach the stations. One of the things that attracted our greatest attention in Japan was that almost no other passengers sat in public seats reserved for elderly people, people with disabilities and pregnant women. Even though the vehicle was full, they left those chairs empty, mostly elderly people sitting in those chairs directly. I honestly admire the Japanese once again 🙂
We first started our trip with the sights of Kyoto, The Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji) and then Nijō Castle (Nijō-jō). The Temple of the Golden Pavilion was built in 1397 as a residence by Yoshmitsu shogun. It was open from 9 am to 5 pm and the entrance fee was 400 Yens.
The top 2 layers of the Golden Pavilion was gold-plated. It is not allowed to visit inside. Even seeing from outside and visiting the garden is very entertaining, peaceful.
It was very crowded here because, it has been taking place in the must be seen places list when visiting Kyoto. It was also a bit tiring because of hot weather.
After the Temple of the Golden Pavilion we went to Nijō Castle. It is also takes place in the must be seen places list when visiting Kyoto. It was built in 1603 by the shogun Tokugawa Leyasu, the founder of the Edo dynasty. It was open between 08:45-17:00 and, the entrance fee was 600 Yens. When we went, it was around 15:30, and it was announcing that it was about to close. Ticket can be bought until 16:00 and you can buy tickets from the machines next to the entrance.
On the way back to the hotel from Nijō Castle, we could see Nishi Honganji Temple from the bus. This temple was also quite large and flashy, but we did not have a chance to visit.
When we went to the hotel in the evening, we got on the elevator to go the room after getting our suitcases. When we got off the elevator, the lights on the left side, the arrows showing our room, were flashing. When we turn to the left and look forward, the lights of the sign that shows our room are also flashing. This is a very simple thing, but perhaps it has affected me a lot because we have never encountered such a thing before. I was amazed when I got in. Lots of things were available in the room like a game console, a karaoke system, a massage chair, whatever you were looking for. There were many kinds of personal care products, the curling iron and also the hair dryer. I normally do not talk about the places we stay, but I think it’s different and beautiful enough to be told. The only problem was that it was not in a very central place.
2. day – 01.08.2014
In the second day in Kyoto we started our trip with the Temple of the Silver Pavilion (Ginkakuji). Although the Silver Pavilion is not as impressive as the Golden Pavilion, it has a wonderful garden. The hot weather made us tired again but it was worth it 🙂
We went to Yasaka Shrine (Yasaka Jinja) after The Temple of the Silver Pavilion. The main gate of the temple was quite remarkable and beautiful with its red color.
This red building is the main hall on the Yasaka Shrine. People were praying here and playing the big bells.
This is the part called the stage. The lanterns here were lit up in the evening and we did not see the real one, but the night photos looked very nice.
As in many temples, here also people were getting water with handled cases from the pipe, drinking and pouring it into their hands.
Shows with dinner and the Geisha dances in the Gion Zone, where Yasaka Shrine is located, has been also taking place in the must be done list when visiting Kyoto, but we can not even see Geisha. Our next stop from this temple was Pure Water Temple (Kiyomizu-dera). It was open between 06:00-18:30 and the entry fee was 300 Yens. The entrance door here is also quite impressive with its huge red door.
The Pure Water Temple terrace was built without piling a single nail over columns 13 meters high. The view of Kyoto from here is really spectacular.
The waters flowing from the 3 pipes to the lake in Otowa Waterfall symbolized health, longevity and success. Here also the people holding out the cases and drank these sacred waters, even there was a long queue.
After Otowa Waterfall we went to see the red colored 3-storey pagoda that is seen on the other hill. I liked it so much again because of its red color 🙂 Also the view of the temple was very nice from here.
So we finished our tour of Kyoto and returned to the hotel to have some rest for the next day to climb to Mount Fuji.