Kyoto: flea market, golden pavilion, tea ceremony, imperial palace, castle

As we thought we would only have two days in Kyoto, we wanted to cram and experience as much as possible (in the end, we were here for three days). Today, we went on foot so there was miles of walking to be had and extremely sore feet at the end of the day.

In the morning, we explored Kitano Tenmangu, which host the biggest flea market once a month. It just so happens that we were in Kyoto on this day. The market was full of antiques, kimonos, furniture, ceramics, crafts, food, clothes, where the prices completely ranged depending on the seller. Markets are just one thing, I love doing. The busy, loud, bargaining atmosphere always puts a smile on my face as well as being able to sift through different thing, trying to find a bargain (unfortunately, I couldn’t really buy anything because of my adventures of the next year and not being able to store anything). Here, there were many local eyeing up product as well as tourist. The market was huge and covered roads and roads.

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The Kitano Tenmangu shrine has statues of seat cows and bulls. Everywhere you looked, people were rubbing different parts of them believing they would be healed in that area.

After we strolled to Kinkakuji, Japan’s famous ‘Temple of the Golden Pavillion’. This was a breath-taking and amazing sight. The whole temple was covered in gold leaf, overlooking a huge lake and garden, which we wandered around. If you go to Kyoto, you have to go there.

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While in the gardens, we passed an attractive thatched-roofed tea-ceremony house, which we decided to take a rest at. Inside, there were cushions around the room with a mat in the middle (of course you were not allowed to wear shoes). Once we had sat down, a lady wearing a kimono brought us over a bowl of cold green tea and dessert, where she bowed to us and blessed them. I tried the tea, which was strong and froffy, and personally I did not enjoy the taste. Most of it, I ended up downing the tea so I wasn’t seen as rude but couldn’t taste it for that long. The cake looked delicious so I though this would go better. However, it was sugary sort of icing with a red-bean paste inside. Again, it wasn’t to my tasting as it was way too sugary. This was an experience I’m glad I did but would not repeat it.

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After, we entered the Daitokuji, which had 22 temples scattered around (previously there were about 60 built but were burned down). The temples looked pretty identical to me but we did experience a Zen garden. I’m not sure what I expected but this one was extremely small. In the middle was a wooden building, with a Japanese rock garden encompassing it. Each little rock and plant was place in a particular spot for a reason and they all symbolised something different e.g. The cow rock (nit sure why it was called this) symbolises people trying to do good things but getting caught up or choosing the wrong paths. It was a pretty little garden. Even though you were not allowed to take photos, I did take a sneaky shot.

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Late afternoon, we walked to the Imperial Palace and then the Nijo-Jo castle. Unfortunately, they were both closed but managed to admire the surroundings. However, for the imperial Palace, you have to book a guided tour otherwise you can’t enter.

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Imperial palace

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Nijo-Jo castle

In the evening, we had some Udon noodles and an earlyish night.

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