Travel Journal

Kyoto, Tokyo and Mt Fuji (Japan)

(Sunday 2 December 2007) by Lynda
Kyoto is famous because of it's temples and indeed, temples everywhere. Great to
Geisha in Kyto
Geisha in Kyto
walk around and see some of the temples (to see them all I think you need a full month there). The most impressive one is Fushimi-Inari, the shrine is dedicated to the gods of rice and sake. The pathway to the shrine wanders 4 km up the mountain and is lined with hundreds of red torii. The torii are put there by companies and people to honour the gods of rice and sake (ok, sake is very popular and maybe that does explain the number of torrii you pass through when walking to the shrine, seems endless). Another really impressive temple is Kinkaku-ji, the main temple is covered in real gold and is almost sparkling over the big pond. Another great sight of Kyoto is Gion, the old Geisha district, not sure if the geisha's that I spotted are the real thing or just actors that are hired by the city of Kyoto to keep the tourist happy!!!! But anyway, it's a great thing to see the
Fushimi-Inari near Kyoto
Fushimi-Inari near Kyoto
geisha's with their white faces and beautiful kimono's walking on their high wooden slippers across the cobble stone streets of Kyoto, truly impressive.
To keep the balance right I also visited Kyoto station, a futuristic cathedral for the transportation age. Some critics assailed it as out of keeping with the traditional architecture of Kyoto; I loved it because of it's dramatic lines.

From Kyoto I hopped on the nightbus to Tokyo but to be honest, Tokyo is just to big for me. I've spend two days in Tokyo and didn't really enjoy it. The best part of Tokyo was that I visited the city during the Shichi-Go-San festival. This is a festival in honour of girls who are aged 3 and 7 and boys aged 5. Children are dressed in their finest clothes and taken to shrines or temples, where prayers are offered for good fortune. It was great walking in the gardens of the temples and seeing the children dressed in colourfull kimono's, just like little princesses.

Slow boat to China!
Slow boat to China!
On my way back to Kyoto, I made a quick stop-over in Fuji Go-Ko to see Mt Fuji. Unfortunately I've only seen it from the bus when I arrived late afternoon. Next morning I got up early to see sunrise over Mt Fuji but it was so cloudy I could only guess in which direction Mt Fuji was. Shame but a good reason to visit Japan again. From there again a nightbus to Kyoto, spend there one more day to see just one more temple and next morning I got the train to Osaka. Had some stress because I ended up in the wrong terminal but luckily after 1 hour I was just in time to catch the slow boat to China!!!!

I just realised that I've spend more than a month in Japan but still haven't see a proper sunrise, but you know....... a good reason to visit this beautiful country again.

Time to head back home, so from this point on, I will start traveling WEST!!!!!

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