I spent two of my days on this trip in Kyoto with the majority of the places having some movie relevance but there were a few other ones which didn’t feature in any Hollywood production. It is often said that while Tokyo is the capital of Japan, Kyoto is the real Japan but I don’t see how that can be true when almost everyone there is a tourist!
After Fushimi-Inari I went to Nijo-jo which I had failed to visit on my two previous visits to Kyoto due to time constraints and maybe a lack of energy on my part if my memory serves me correctly. In all honesty I don’t think I really missed out on too much those times! It was nice enough and the palace gardens were fairly pleasant but it didn’t possess too much in the way of the wow-factor…….or maybe I was in a bad mood after being told by the official photographer that I couldn’t use my tripod. Unlike Japanese people I actually questioned him as to why and the best he could say was that it was dangerous which was just laughable when the place was almost desserted! There was nothing at the castle entrance about tripods not being allowed but I couldn’t be bothered to contest it too much by going back to the ticket office to complain. He probably just hates tripods as they are preventing him from getting money from taking group photos and so on in front of Ninomaru Palace!
I went to Kinkakuji which is known as Golden Pavillion in English. I visited here in December 2004 and stubbornly refused to go in a year later with my mate Asif but this was my first time to be in Kyoto out of Winter season so I went in, took a few photos (the first time to do so with a digital camera) and left!
Kiyomizudera temple was next on my list and took an eternity to get to thanks to the amount of traffic on the Kyoto roads mid-afternoon. Sadly it was difficult to capture the perfect picture as the sun was shining so brightly not that it stopped the masses from taking their photos! The one below is the best of a bad bunch!
A couple of days later I returned to Kyoto and went to Yoshimine-dera (mentioned in Kansai Trip 2011 Pt II) and then on to Chion-in temple. Somehow I got lost on the way and ended up at the top of the huge steps which saved me from ascending them and becoming out of breath like most other tourists. I didn’t look around this temple so much.
Heian-jingu shrine (below) was close by to that which is one of my favourite Kyoto temples. Popular but not on the level of Kinkajuji and Kiyomizudera and with enough space to wander fairly freely. This time I paid to go in its gardens and as nice as they were I am not sure the 600 yen entrance fee is such good value for money.
Gion was my final port of call in Kyoto. It’s famed for being the geisha district but I knew there was pretty much bugger all chance of actually seeing a real one. Needless to say but this pretty little area was packed full of tourists. I was very tired by this stage so didn’t hang about too long as I wanted to meet up with my mates John and Neil for some early evening drinks at The Hub which is a chain claiming to be a British bar though in reality its far removed from being anything too like one.
On the way to and from Kyoto I passed the giant Meiji chocolate bar near Takatsuki station and tried to snap it but it was difficult to capture it too well due to the speed of the train at that time.