So back to this Japan trip.
Chuck and I had decided on the major spots in Kyoto we wanted to see: Nijo Castle, Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, and Kiyomizudera. We thought we could try to get one of them out of the way on the first night. So after the laundry was done we headed over to Kyoto Station and hopped on the bus to Kinkakuji (we thought we might as well go the one farthest away). What we didn’t realize was how long it would take to get there by bus, nor had we done the research to find out what time it would close. So we finally arrived and made our way to the gate to find ourselves out of luck.
But the first night’s not completely a bust. En route to Kinkakuji, we had passed by a street festival. Since we were going back by the same route, we first stopped by the festival to check it out. And so I got my first taste of some authentic matsuri food. Yummm!!
I took a picture of the mikoshi for the festival:
The mikoshi for the festival
Neat, huh? I feel the whole matsuri was a nice find to compensate for our bad timing with Kinkakuji. We took our time walking around, but we didn’t stay too long because we were still planning to check out Shijo, one of the major streets in Kyoto.
The general Shijo area is pretty large. It runs several blocks, and when you include the smaller shopping streets connected to it, that’s quite a lot of ground to cover. It’s a highly commercial area with a lot of pedestrian traffic, and as a result, it’s a lot brighter than most of Kyoto at night.
We took our time exploring the area, then decided to finally get some food at one of the restaurants on an adjacent street. It was a good meal, made all the better by a couple of beers (I grew quite a liking to Japanese beer while I was there). Anyway, we spent a little more time wandering about Shijo before heading back to the inn for the night.
We had originally planned to finish off Kyoto the next day and take a trip to Osaka on Thursday, but based on the weather reports, Chuck figured it would be better to switch the two. So the new plan - Osaka tomorrow, sightseeing in Kyoto the day after. We wanted a lot of time in Osaka, so we needed to get off to an early start in the morning.