Japan Trip Day 5 - 2010-07-08

Pictures from today. (Sorry technical difficulties, they should be up soon.)

Today was our last day in Kyoto before heading down to Osaka. There were so many things that we wanted to see, it was tough to figure out what we wanted to do. We ended up going back to the same spot where we had breakfast the previous day, since it was a good combination of getting enough food and not paying too much. After that, we decided to make our way towards Kinkakuji Temple.

Kinkakuji Temple is one of the most popular sites to visit in Kyoto, so we didn't want to miss it. It wasn't accessible by subway, so we needed to take a bus. The bus system would have been impossible to figure out with the maps we had, but the hotel gave us instructions that were pretty easy to follow.

There were a number of buildings in the area, but the main point of focus was the giant golden pagoda beside a beautifully landscaped pond. A plaque said that each floor of the 3-story pagoda was decorated in a different style, but it wasn't open to the public. The area was very nice looking, check out the pictures (once I get them posted).

Since we were in the area, we decided to also check out Ryoanji Temple, which is known for its zen rock garden. This was a short bus trip away from Kinkakuji, so we made our way over there next.

The landscaping and paths around this area were also quite nice, with a large pond and several island. The rock garden itself was rather un-spectacular, in my opinion, but I suppose that is the point. The simple nature of it is supposed to inspire deep thought, but I preferred the nice trees and moss in the garden around the corner.

After that, we headed over to the Imperial Palace Garden, which I had been wanting to visit since it was a huge green patch on google maps, so presumably there was a nice park there. When we arrived, however, it wasn't very nice at all. There were some nice trees, but the path was about 50 feet wide and gravel, which was very unappealing. There may have been nicer pockets of the park, but it was so huge we didn't have the energy to seek them out and decided to move on instead.

Our final stop was at Nijo Castle, which we had tried to see twice before but it was closed both times. Finally, we made it, and it was quite a sight. I'm glad we kept at it!

The whole area is surrounded by a moat, and there is a palace surrounded by some gardens. There is an inner moat and another palace. The first palace was quite interesting: the floors were built to intentionally squeak to warn of intruders. There were a number of different rooms, each beautifully decorated with silk paintings on the walls and doors. The gardens in this area were also very beautiful!

With the evening approaching, we decided it was time to make our way to Osaka. This proved much easier than we anticipated: there is actually a subway/train line that leaves from right near our hotel and goes right into downtown Osaka. It only cost about $3 each, and took about 40 minutes. Amazing!

For the the rest of Day 5 and the following days at IPP, I will be writing on my puzzle blog. Head over to see the rest!

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