Saturday, September 13, 2014

Japan Part II: Kyoto, Day 1

We woke up nice and early on Sunday to try to squeeze in as much as we could.  Kyoto is the former capital of Japan, and therefore is FILLED with historic and cultural sites.  Kyoto is home to 17 UNSECO World Heritage sites, so we knew on our short trip we wouldn't be able to see everything, but we definitely wanted to try to see as much as possible.

Our first stop was one of Kyoto's most famous sites, the Fushimi-Inari-Tiasha Shine. Shintoism is the largest religion in Japan, and before coming to Japan I honestly didn't remember much about Shintomism, despite the fact that somewhere along the line I know I learned a little about it in school. I've been to lots of Buddhist temples during my time in Korea and Thailand, but I had never been to a Shinto shrine. Yay for new experiences!

Fushimi-Inari-Tiasha is famous because it's filled with thousands of torii--the gates that are prevalent in Shinto shrines.  Apparently the torii are always at the entrance of a shrine to represent that it is the entrance of a spiritual place.  Torii are also sometimes donated by people who have been successful as a way of thanking the spirits for their success (or this is at least what I've read. I still don't really know much about Shintoism!)

This shrine was really amazing, and quite the way to start our trip.  Although there were tons of other tourists, it didn't detract from the shrine's beauty.

At the entrance to the shrine. 


So bright...definitely not in Korea anymore!

The torii just went on and on!

After we finished at the shrine, it was lunch time so we headed back to Kyoto Station to find something to eat. Eventually we settled on this:

We were re-energized after a delicious lunch, so we then made our way to Noji Castle.  This World Heritage site was beautiful, even though some parts are under restoration, and was definitely unlike anything you'd find in Korea.

The view from the top of the garden.

By the time we finished at the castle, it was late afternoon. Since most things closed by 5, we looked at our map and decided to head to what we assumed must be the downtown area.

When we got off of the subway, we saw a bunch of guys dancing to 50s music in the middle of a park. It was quite the sight, and for a moment we questioned where exactly we were.

However, as we kept walking we found a huge shopping area.  What we found is the area known as Shijo-Dori, and is one of the busiest parts of Kyoto.  We found some absolutely delicious sushi as we were walking along the street, and had a little snack before we did some more wandering around.

Best sushi! YUM!!!
After walking around for quite a while, we decided it was time for dinner, and decided it was time for some more sushi (we were in Japan, after all).  We found a sushi restaurant, and as soon as we walked in we felt out of place.  We were the only foreigners in there and we weren't exactly sure what to do.  In this style of restaurant everyone sits around a bar and the shushi-chefs are in the middle.  We weren't exactly sure what we were supposed to say to get their attention to place our order, so it made for some hilariously awkward moments.  We managed to get our sushi along with some sake though, so overall it was a success, even if we made fools of ourselves in the process.

I'm not really a fan of sake, but when in Japan I think it's pretty much mandatory to drink sake at least once!

After dinner we were pretty tired from a long, but incredibly fantastic day, so it was back our hostel to get a good night's sleep before another day of sightseeing!

No comments:

Post a Comment