Is anyone still out there following this blog? December got really crazy this year, preparing for two talks for the annual geo conference and then a week+ in L.A. visiting the fam. I'm back in Tokyo again and thought I better catch up on all my blog posts.
Way back in October, Ry's parents came to visit and we took them to Nara and then Kyoto and finally Hiroshima. Here is the first of three segments on Kyoto.
Kyoto is the former capital of Japan and has retained a lot of the old world charm. Our first stop was Sajusangen-do, which is a temple hall that houses 1001 statues of Budda made in the 12th and 13th centuries (sorry no cameras allowed inside with the buddhas).
Next we followed our guide book's suggested walking tour, which had us traversing uphill through "teapot lane" to the Kiyomizu temple. On advice from friends, we first went to the small side building on the left, paid our 100yen, put our shoes in a plastic bag and descended the staircase into the darkest darkness you've ever seen. As you walk, you hang on to a string of large wooden beads. You might as well just close your eyes because you can't see a thing in front of you. Eventually you stumble upon a large stone that you turn a few times and spend a minute reflecting before following the beads out into the light. A really interesting experience.
Here are Ryan's parents at the Kiyomizu-dera with all of Kyoto behind them in the distance.
At Kiyomizu there are many of these little stone jizo that are adorned with little outfits.
The next day we headed out to Nijo Castle. The era of this castle must have been a peaceful period because this so called castle doesn't have a moat or high walls or anything. The walls inside are all made of paper.
and the famous stone garden of Ryoan-ji.
On the way back into town, we caught this old-timey train.