Kyoto – Part 4


Our adventure really got started at this point in our trip. We were on our own, no more Japanese speaking tour guides to run to. We arrived in Kyoto just after 4:00 P.M. With help from local people, we manage to make it to our Ryokan. I am transported back in time, this is traditional Japanese living. Our stay at the Ryokan is fantastic, this is a great base to venture out and explore the Kyoto and Nara area.

We make great use of our rail pass as they are also accepted on  JR buses. We enjoy Kyoto and our Ryokan so much that we change our travel arrangements to take in one more day in Kyoto. The owners of the Ryokan help us to contact the hotel in Osaka and make the necessary arrangements.

We explore the city of Kyoto, this city was Japan’s capital for over one thousand years and during that time it was the epicentre of Japanese art, culture, religion and thought.    

Temple Overload

We tour through many of the famous temples in Kyoto. Some of my favourites include the Golden Pavilion or Kinkakuji Temple, a popular name for one of the spectacular buildings on the property. The proper name is the Rokuon-Ji Temple. In 1220 it was the comfortable villa of Kintsune Saionji. Yoshimitsu, the 3rd Shogun. He abdicated the throne in 1394. He had this villa made as a retirement home to indulge himself in a peaceful life in a serene setting. Upon Yoshimitsu’s death, the site was made into a Zen temple as per his will. The site was designated as a World Cultural Heritage site in 1994. 

Another wonderful site is the silver pavilion, Ginkakuji Temple, a Zen temple, established in 1482 by Ashikaga Yoshimasa the eighth Muromachi Shogunate. The temple was designed as a copy to Yoshimasa’s grandfather’s villa the Golden Pavilion. Yoshimasa spent his whole life designing the villa, he never got around to finishing the main building in a silver leaf on Japanese lacquer but it still rivals the Rokuon-Ji Temple.

There is no end of fascinating things to do and see in Kyoto, we visited most of the major temples in the area. We checked out a Geisha festival. We walked the Path of Philosophy. We visited a castle and shopped at some unique stores.

Our time in Kyoto also allowed us to visit a museum and an art gallery, we also sampled an array of excellent food. We ended each day with a relaxing hot spring bath and fall asleep on a traditional tatami mat. This is the life! I want to stay in Kyoto but we must leave for Osaka and more touring.

We presented our hosts with some small gifts and bid them a fond farewell. We thanked them for the fantastic accommodations and for their wonderful hospitality.

For more on my Japan adventure read the conclusion — part 5.