This last weekend the OK crew took our first official trip to Kyoto. I say official because we stayed in a hostel and took the shinkansen. Although the trip was short we packed a week’s worth of epic into those two days. There was so much epic that I can’t even fit it into a single post, I will be doing a series of post on tourist sights (2), night sights, geisha watching, and our random companions. And now part 1 of the kyoto guidebook according to ellie.
Kyoto is considered the cultural captiol of Japan. All the ancient temples and geisha that are the stereotype of japan are primarily found in Kyoto. The city has over 2000 buddhist temples and shinto shrines. This massive amount of historical sites is due to the fact that Kyoto was the capitol of Japan for over 800 years, and also avoided much of the bombing during WWII. I felt like I saw more historical sights than I could comprehend, and we barley scratched the surface of the city.
Other than the historical significance of the city, Kyoto is full of eye candy. But I’m not really talking about the guys. There is so much beauty in this city. There are temples tucked away on every city block, geisha walking the streets, amazing mountains, night sights and huge variety of tourists wandering the streets. I am in love. I also found that the places we went were even more amazing after learning their history or significance.
We were lucky that our hostel in the middle of the city and we were able to walk to many of the sites and stumble upon surprise sights along the way. Since many of the things we saw were stumbles I don’t know their names.
The first temple we went to was called Rokuharamitsuji, a buddist temple for the souls of people that are alone or repose of lost souls. There are a number of pilgrimages that stop at this temple as it is one of the 33 sacred temples are Japan.
Our journey moved on to Kiyomizu Temple, in the Higashiyama (east mountain) area of Kyoto. On the way we walked through some amazing streets lined with shops and tourist sights. On our way an old japanese man approached us and took on the job of our tour guide. (more on him later)
At the end of the cobblestone streets and at the base of the mountain was Kiyomizu temple. The temple is beautiful and huge, but the most amazing part is that the entire temple was built without a single nail. That’s right no nails, the builder was a serious bad-ass.
Next to Kiyomizu is the Kyoto Jishu Shrine, the shrine to Okuninushi no mikoto, the god of love and matchmaking. Numerous people come here for good luck in their love lives. In the middle of the shrine there are two stones 10m apart and if you are able to walk from one stone to the other with your eyes closed, you are granted good luck. Fortunes are also available for 100 yen. After purchasing and reading the fortune you have the option to tie it to a pole in hopes that it comes true. If the fortune isn’t quite your flavor, you are free to discard it. The fortune I drew seemed pretty sweet, so i tied it to a pole. We shall see how it goes.
…and that’s the end of pt 1… pt2 tomorrow. get some rest like this little samurai..