Sunday, February 22, 2015

Kyoto, Japan

Five months ago Brian and I were in Japan. Our adventures in Osaka and Nara have already been recorded for posterity, and now it is Kyoto's turn.

Our day in Kyoto began with a bus tour to three different locations. The first of these was Nijo Castle. Built in 1603 this castle was the Shogun's official Kyoto residence. Photographs were not allowed in the Palace, but we took some of the grounds.

The main gate to Ninomaru Palace
The exterior of Ninomaru Palace
As we entered the Palace I was most fascinated by the "nightingale floors" which sing or chirp as they are walked upon. It was an ingenious feat of engineering used to detect intruders.
close-up of a carved wood panel
Ninomaru Garden
Brian and I in the garden
The second stop on our tour was The Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku)--a Buddhist hall containing relics of Buddha. The top two stories are gold-leafed with a Phoenix at its apex.
I must be the daughter of two master gardeners because what I found most interesting here was a 600 year old Bonsai tree. It was amazing.
The last stop of our tour was Kyoto Imperial Palace. Originally built in 794 AD it has been destroyed and rebuilt many times. The present buildings are 160 years old.
The Shishinden (through these red gates) is the most important ceremonial building within the Palace grounds and was used for coronation ceremonies.

Our tour guide insisted that we visit Gion (Kyoto's geisha district) before we left the city, so Brian and I headed that direction on foot. We passed this small Shinto Shrine on our way.
Sadly, it was too early in the afternoon for us to run into any geisha, but we enjoyed wandering through the narrow streets passing tea houses and such.
I gasped with delight when we passed this shop.
It is always a treat to cross paths with beautiful Japanese women in traditional Kimonos.
We ended our day of adventure with bento box dinners in our hotel room.


Jane Babcock said...

Thank you for sharing these. I think David was a missionary in Kyoto

Lisa said...

My husband is in Japan right now on Business..Hiroshima and Oshu. I have enjoyed his pictures home and thank you for sharing yours, too.

Valerie said...

That castle is so beautiful!! And the floors sound amazing. I'm gonna have to ask my missionary if he's heard of anything like that near where he is.