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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Kyoto, Japan

Apr 4, 2019 - Museums, Shrines & Temples

The morning began with a visit to the Kyoto Museum of Tradition Arts where we viewed artisan crafts such as lacquerware, textiles, woodworking, metalwork, basketry, etc. The dyemaking was particularly interesting as it yielded beautiful fabrics with such deep rich color. Following the museum visit we walked to the nearby Heian Jingu, a vast Shinta shrine complex that is a 5/8 model of the original palace of the early emperors of Kyoto. The complex was built in 1895 to celebrate the 1100th anniversary of the founding of Kyoto as the capital...

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Apr 3, 2019 - Tea, Temple and Castle

Today we had an introduction to the Japanese Tea Ceremony from a Tea Master. The ceremony is normally 4 hours with an elaborate set of rules for both the host and the guests at the ceremony. Our Tea Master gave us a brief description of the history and mechanics of the ceremony and brewed and served us delicious green tea. Next we walked through a residential section of Kyoto to visit the Buddhist Daitoku-ji Temple, the "Temple of Great Virtue" founded in 1315. There are actually 22 sub-temples in the 56 acre complex which has many...

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Jul 17, 2018 - Gion Matsuri Festival Float Parade

Well it turns out there was another day in Kyoto, and we were able to attend the Gion Matsuri Festival Parade; known as Yamaboko Junko. The procession of the colorful artistically designed floats continues for a few hours. There were about 10 very large floats, and a couple dozen smaller floats. There were 60-80 men pulling and maneuvering the large Floats and 20 or so doing so for the smaller floats. In addition each float had 25 - 100 additional marchers. There had to have been 2,000 - 3,000 parade participants, plus uncounted 1,000's of...

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Jul 15, 2018 - Kyoto Station & The Botanical Gardens

A train station, big deal, right ? Well not in Kyoto. This one is not only worth seeing, it has a music venue worth attending. Second largest train station in Japan, it was designed by Hara Hiroshi and opened in 1997. After all the temples & shrines this very modern design structure brought one back from the 9th or 17th century to the 21st. We were able to see a brief sample of the Gion Festival Parade Floats. The main event will be on Tuesday. The Botanical Gardens were much more sedate. Unfortunately the heat was just too oppressive. One...

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Jul 14, 2018 - Bamboo Light & The Fluorescent Orange Way

The Arishiyama Bamboo Forest was a visual experience through which to walk. It was so reminiscent of Thailand. The light in late afternoon slants thru the dappled green/black/yellow blades of bamboo to create a scene from which a Bengal Tiger could leap at any moment. Well OK, what's a Bengal Tiger doing in Thailand or Japan. It's just an image OK ? The Geisha on photo shoot was an image - right out of some magazine - except it was real-time real. They are so serenely tranquil, refined, and, well, exquisitely beautiful. Walking down to the...

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Jul 13, 2018 - Kurama to Kibune

The heat of the city gets to be oppressive, so we decided to get out into the countryside a bit. A 30 minute train ride has us in a small forested town at the start of the mountains north of Kyoto. From Kurama we can hike up & over a small mountain to the town of Kibune where we can take the train back to Kyoto. The first sight that greets you in Kurama is Tengu. And no, he is not a Japanese Pinocchio ! Rather he is a variation of a Chinese folkloric demon. The nose is purportedly a adaptation of a bird's beak (from the original demon,...

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Jul 12, 2018 - Manga Museum & Nijo-Jo Castle

Decided to start the day on a light note, and so we walked to and visited the International Manga Museum. OK, it's a big comics/cartoon collection. How big, well how about 300,000 issues; 50,000 of which are available to be read on premises. There are Manga for all ages, and focused of various themes and story lines. Most stories are serialized & published as episodes in monthly Manga magazines. If they become very popular the episodes may be compiled and published as a collection. Most Manga are black & white. Originally appearing in the...

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Jul 11, 2018 - Higashiyama Temple Ward

Decided to follow a walking itinerary thru the Higashiyama Ward in eastern Kyoto. It is east of the Kamo River, which runs thru the city, and continues into the foothills on the city's eastern edge. The area of narrow winding streets is filled with temples & shrines. Seems you can't turn a corner and another temple or shrine has appeared. The Kiyomizu- Dera Temple is on the eastern hillside, next to a water fall, and being in this elevated location has great views of the city below. Originally founded in the 8th century, most of the current...

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Jul 10, 2018 - Kyoto, The City of Temples & Shrines

Walked from our hotel to the train station, bought tickets, and an hour later we were exiting a metro station 100 meters from our hotel in Kyoto. The Train line from Nara actually used the Kyoto Metro line tracks as it passed thru the city. It sure made our journey very convenient. The Share Hotel was at the southwest corner of the Imperial Park and so we could easily walk to & thru the park. One might be wondering why pictures of a toilet has made its way into this trip journal. Well, when was the last time you used a toilet with an...

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Apr 11, 2018 - Kyoto

The majority of the group got up early to leave at 7.30 to visit Fushimi Inari before the crowds arrived. They were only getting a brief visit, which is why we went yesterday evening. We met them out there at 9.00 to catch another 2 trains and then a bus out to the countryside of Kyoto to learn about tea (my favourite, not). We learnt about Japanese tea, tasted tea and learnt to make matcha. Unsurprisingly, I didn't buy anything from the shop. Made the return 2 hour journey back to Kyoto. Because of the travel time, this excursion took...

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Apr 10, 2018 - Kyoto

Busy day in Kyoto, trying to fit in as much as possible before probable rain tomorrow. Started with a flying visit to Nijo Castle. Not as picturesque as Osaka Castle but far more interesting inside. There is a nightingale floor which makes the sound of nightingale birdsong when you tread on it, instead of creaking floorboards. Back to the hotel to meet the rest of the group to walk to our cooking class where we cooked a range of Obanzai (Kyoto home cooking) dishes and then ate them for lunch. After lunch it was free time for the rest of the...

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Apr 9, 2018 - Koyasan to Kyoto

Basically another travel day. Reverse order of Osaka to Koyasan, but with another 2 changes of train to get to Kyoto, plus a change to a subway line to get to our hotel. Lunch at Kyoto Train Station, which sounds terrible but had amazing choices. Walked through the covered Nishiki Market - mainly food items such as pickled vegetables, an entire shop devoted to sesame and various food vendors plus other random shops. Walked down to the river and the edge of the Gion District. Went for a drink which turned into dinner. Upon leaving we walked...

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