Today we were on a full day tour of Kyoto with Sunrise tours. I can’t lie, I dislike these tours as you feel like a herd of sheep being shepherded around. It does allow you to see all the main sites in a limited amount of time with information from the guide.
Our first destinatoin was Nijo Castle. This is where the Shogun would stay when in Kyoto. As with all the Japanese buildings the interior was simplistic with little furniture. We were able to see all the meeting rooms and learn about how the Shogun and feudal lords went about their business.
Next stop was Kinkakuji temple otherwise known as the “Golden Pavilion”. Set in pleasant gardens with the autumn foliage on full display this gold leaf structure is beautiful if a little ostentatious. In the sun it glitters but still seems to fit in with the nature around it, maybe due to the time of year meaning all the leaves were turning gold also.
Our last stop of the morning was the Imperial Palace. The entry requirements here are strict! We all had to fill out our personal details to hand in and had to be counted into the grounds.No one lives here anymore as the Emporer currently lives in Tokyo, hence Tokyo being the capital city, and I have to say I was a little underwhelmed. Having seen so many beautiful buildings on this trip there was not much special about the palace. It had a nice water garden but that was about it.
We stopped for lunch and had a set meal of tempura and chicken cooked in broth with all the usual trimmings. Next we went to Heian Shrine. An orange and white shrine but to be honest I’m a bit shrined out.
Then to Sanjusangendo which is a Buddhist temple containing 1000 carved Buddhas all made separately in great detail. 1000 is believed to be the number of perfection. The temple holds a coming of age archery competition for young women every year outside the length of the building.
Our final stop of the day was Kiyomizu temple. This is up above the city. You have to walk along a bustling souvenir street to get to the temple which was so crowded with people trying to get the pictures of the red leaves and across the city in the sunset. There is a fountain, that is supposed to heal the soul, just under the temple also.
We were dropped back at our hotel and then set off to find some dinner. We settled on a restaurant that did Okonomiyaki set menu for Fraser and I had very tasty Japanese style beef strips in our own booth with a hot plate built into the table. We then called it a night.