Feeling the Heat In Kyoto

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Flag of Japan  , Kinki,
Saturday, August 28, 2010

After Hiroshima, I flew up the road to Kyoto in the Honshu prefecture, former Imperial Capital of Japan and chock a block with almost 2,000 temples and shrines, included another 17 Unesco world heritage sites. I had a rushed couple of days trying to see as much as possible and tick off as many temples as possible. I only spent three days in Kyoto so had to squeeze loads in. At the start I was clueless as to where to start so decided to hit up the main spots. Not that I had much of an idea of the history of them. To be honest, I didn't have the motivation to go learning all about the stories and history behind each temple so i'm sure there was loads that I missed but it was quality to just wander round and looking at the buildings themselves. I'll not go into detail about everyone and let the pictures do the talking. Even though I saw a bundle of em they were fairly awe inspiring and each and everyone did have it's own unique charm. I was starting to get a bit cultured out at this point so probably didn't dig down as deep into the significance of it all.

One highlight was def staying in a little home run Ryoken complete with enthusiastic old Japanese woman who was at pains to make sure everything was in order even though her English was limited. Made her even more charming. Shouting 'TOILET' and then marching off down into a labyrinth I thought I'd best follow. This repeated itself till I was well acquainted with the whole house. After a few temples I retired to my Ryoken in a quiet part of town after a dinner which was a complete stab in the dark, ordering Udon and hoping for the best, which turned out to be one of the best meals also. I spread out the bed which was a rolled up mattress and dawned my Yukata (less formal Kimono), posed a bit, then slept thinking I was back in the Menji Era. 

The next day I woke up back in the real world only to go an explore the Manga museum and get caught up in fantasy land. They LOVE manga over here. Not only the youngster but everyone. I don't even wanna go into all the different type of it, mainly cause I don't know it well enough, but they've got a speciality and a style for every different clique in society. And seemingly if you can create manga you're a bit of a hero and can make some serious bank. The museum was interesting and managed to get stuck into a few comics and an insanely big library that most people were milling around reading this and that. I ended up getting stuck in Dragon ball Z for over an hour and then a bizarre Tennis comic where the main schoolboy had these crazy tennis skills. The main protaganist could have had Roger Federer, EASY!!!  

Food and drink was aplenty as it's a Uni town so loads of students with time to spare. Myself, Oz a Chilean minor (well he was 32 so technically not a minor. hadry har), a Turkish biotech student and a Nepalese heart surgeon (odd troop) went out on the hunt for Geisha in a part of town renound for being where the rich go to seek the company of the refined Geisha. Seemingly us tourists are a MENACE around that part of town chasing them around looking for that elusive pic. When in Rome.  We did manage to see one, in a taxi and did her best to ignore us as we unashamedly snapped away. Town was kicking off too which is were I learned that the Japanese can't handle their booze. Much like the rest of the Asian. They're only little after all. 

One of my favourite shrines was 'The Thousand Shrine' shrine. Literally thousands of brightly lit orange shrines that line a hillside and snaked up to the top. I got some wicked photos, including one of the slickest Monks I'd seen to date. Wearing funky 80s style Ray Bans and operating a massive Cannon SLR taking a videos of himself walking along for promotional purposes I guess. Buddhism hits YouTube!!
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