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May 8th 2007
Published: May 8th 2007
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Kinkakuji is AwesomeKinkakuji is AwesomeKinkakuji is Awesome

My favorite place the whole Japan trip... Here, all that glitters ~is~ gold...
So, Tuesday morning (the 8th), I woke up (a little early) and headed to the train station to make my way to Kyoto (from Osaka)-- about a 1-hour train ride, depending on what kind of train you get. Despite making the mistake of getting onto a train that stopped, like, every five meters (or so it felt), I was able to switch mid-trip to a faster train and got to Kyoto in good time.

Kyoto's vast and a little hard to navigate by oneself, especially sans guidebook OR map (I only realized that there was a small tourist information center in the train station-- the only one I found the whole trip--after I spent most of my day wandering semi-aimlessly around Kyoto). Fortunately, Moe gave me the names of a few places that I ought to see--her top recommendations--and so, I made a nice round of those, attempting to use the buses as well as possible-- which, after discovering English on the bus signs, wasn't too difficult.

First, I went to my favorite place of my whole Japan trip-- Kinkaku-ji, or the Golden Pavilion, as it's called in English. It's a lovely temple set in the midst of
Kinkakuji is AwesomeKinkakuji is AwesomeKinkakuji is Awesome

My favorite place the whole Japan trip... Here, all that glitters ~is~ gold...
this peaceful park that simply makes the city disappear. It's about three stories tall, and the best part-- it's all gilded in gold leaf. It's not huge, but it's just lovely, reflecting off of the lake water, set in this beautiful park and garden. I spent awhile just looking at it and walking around. There were tourists there, too, but it wasn't too many and they weren't crazy, like at Asakusa. So...I just had a great time there, on that beautiful, sunny day.

After Kinkaku-ji, I went to Nijojo Castle. It was built in the 1600's and was a residence for shoguns. It was really cool to be able to tour inside. The castle had a lot of cool tapestries and architecture, and also a lovely garden surrounding the castle proper. The whole thing was pretty expansive, and a great look into old Japanese life and architecture.

Lastly, I went to Kiyomizudera, a huge Buddhist temple that butts up against the nearby mountains. It's a decent-sized complex, and a pretty interesting place. It was founded in 780 and is pretty well known--in Japan, at least. It's built up on the hill and has this amazing scaffolding to keep
Kinkakuji is AwesomeKinkakuji is AwesomeKinkakuji is Awesome

My favorite place the whole Japan trip... Here, all that glitters ~is~ gold...
up the main temple portion. It was really busy there, but it was good to see. No giant golden Buddhas, though.

That night, I went back to Osaka and met Moe and Takako, another Japanese friend from my Ewha class, who lives in the nearby city of Nara. We went out for dinner (more Japanese food), made sticker pictures (like making pictures in a photo booth but way cooler--they have these in Korea, too), and just had a good time together.

My time in Japan flew by, and before I knew it, on May 9, I was headed out of town! Back to Korea for me. But I was glad I went-- I had great food, saw great sites, and enjoyed meeting my friends again.


Additional photos below
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Spring at KinkakujiSpring at Kinkakuji
Spring at Kinkakuji

Pretty flowers...
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Kinkakuji

Shiny!
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Nijojo

Here's where the shoguns used to hang out... or preside... and whatnot... Kyoto
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Nijojo

Here's where the shoguns used to hang out... or preside... and whatnot... Kyoto
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Nijojo

Here is where the shoguns used to hang out... or preside... and whatnot... Kyoto
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Nijojo

Kyoto
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Nijojo

Kyoto
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Kiyomizudera

Famous temple in Kyoto
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Kiyomizudera

Famous temple in Kyoto
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Kiyomizudera

Famous temple in Kyoto
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Kiyomizudera

The temple proper
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Kiyomizudera

Another building in the temple complex, this one full of small Buddha statues.
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Kiyomizudera

Springs... I believe this water is supposed to have some sort of special quality to it. Healing? Maybe?
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Streets of Kyoto

Some Japanese women in traditional dress pose for tourists and photographers at a busy Kyoto street corner.
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With friends

Picture of Takako and Moe when we went out for ice cream!


29th May 2007

Sounds like a great trip!
Sound like you had a nice time in Japan, Als! Thanks for posting your trip descriptions-- I really enjoyed them!

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