Tuesday, March 8, 2011
Journey to Kyoto
The next leg of my journey was to the ancient city of Kyoto. Our travel down there in trains took most of the day, however, we arrived at our hostile with enough time to get some food and hit the public bath before bed. The bath was quite an interesting experience. The pools were very hot and I could not stay in them long. One pool shocked me, literally. It had a section that had a very weak electrical current pulsing through the water, which tingled and massaged the muscles.
The next day we had roughly nine hours to take advantage of the open hours of Kyoto, and we used every one of them. Calvin, in his master planning, mapped out a set of essential temples, shrines, and castles among the multitudes that they have there. The first thing I noticed about Kyoto is that it has a very different culture than Tokyo. Bright, loud signs are abandoned here for more traditional architecture and decoration. There are far less people, and the pace of the city seems slower and more relaxed. The city rests in beautiful foothills that paint its elemental tone. We visited a famous shrine at the base of the mountains that houses great views of the city. Next, we went to the castle built by the shogun in ancient times to show the power of the warrior class. To end the tour, Calvin took me to the gold temple. It is a gold painted temple that lies in incredible scenery of water and plants. The view of it was honestly breathtaking. We checked out another market and ate a much needed meal and headed back to our comfortable hostel room.