Thursday, May 24, 2007

Day 8 - Animals, seen and unseen

I`m posting from a crazy internet station on an island and some of my photos are being cut off - I`ll fix it when I can. In the meantime, please fill in the blanks!

A highlight on any trip to Japan is a visit to Kyoto. It’s a crazy contrast of modern and traditional, trying to live side by side. Around every corner is a reminder of the past and the convenience of the present. I think our machiya is a prime example of this.

This house looks like it could have existed 100 years ago except for that air conditioner.

I was in Kyoto about 6 years ago but my mom hadn’t been in 40 years. We both thought a great place to start would be Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion.

Just like in Kamakura, there were plenty of school groups on their trips.

Ginkakuji is a counterpoint to its sibling, Kinkakuji, the Gold pavilion. Kinkakuji is totally covered in gold, but Ginkakuji is more modest and, we think, more beautiful.

The gardens were beautiful as well – this represents the ocean waves and Mt. Fuji.

The garden has an upper path where you can see a great view of the area.

The maple seeds were so pretty!

One of our rare photos as a group, not in costume.

We decided we needed an ice cream break before heading to the Philosopher’s Walk.

The Philosopher’s Walk is about 1.5 kilometers from Ginkakuji to many temples. There are some cute stores along the way, including this one featuring cats.

The contrast between modern and traditional can sometimes be comical.

The path is peaceful and beautiful.

We stopped by a temple… whose name escapes me! There was an interesting aqueduct…

…with Huay, Mari, and Rob sized arches.

We decided to go to a sight that the Lonely Planet guidebook recommended, a shrine next to a waterfall. Along the way, we passed a sign that said, “Use Caution! Wild Boars!” Rob did his best imitation of a wild boar, or “inoshishi” in Japanese.

Huay saw a stick broom and decided to be Harry Potter.

Unfortunately, the waterfall was dry but the shrine was still beautiful.

Rob decided to try to take photos of these women in their kimonos – I was worried they’d think he was a stalker.

We stopped for lunch at a local eatery – Huay had Japanese style hamburger with a fried egg on top.

After lunch, we caught a bus that became incredibly crowded. The bus driver kept asked people to move together and we did. I can’t believe how many people fit on the bus.

Our last stop was Fushimi Inari, which is famous for its rows of Torii gates. In the parking lot, Rob spotted a car that everyone in his family would love to own.

Walking up to the Torii gates, we passed a Shinto priest who walked like he knew who was in charge – very impressive!

The Torii gates were so beautiful and overwhelming. They go on for about 4 kilometers and we barely covered a quarter of them.

My mom spotted this sign at a shrine along the way. It says (roughly), “Please put out your candles before you leave. A crow stole a lit candle and dropped it and caused a forest fire.” Those darn crows!

A little cat made me homesick for Maggie and Unki.

At the exit, there was a shrine specifically for people who were asking to pass their school entrance exams. There were boards with their prayers on them, along with garlands of origami cranes.

My final animal story – a man was walking his Welsh Corgi dog while we were waiting to cross the street. Huay was just commenting on how well behaved the dog was when the dog walked around Mama and his leash got caught around her legs! She didn’t fall but laughed at her near miss.

We ended our day by having a bento dinner together in our machiya.

Next – kimono shopping, prayer chanting, and taiko drumming – all in one day!


yumi said...

Everything is so beautiful and peaceful.

MinaG said...

Wow, what incredible photos! You all must be getting a great workout with all the sights you're seeing... Rob looked so fierce as the inoshishi, Sam jumped out of his seat when he saw that one!