Kyoto Historical Adventures

13 Feb

Today was surprisingly productive.  We got up at 11.00 and met Rachel from Australia and Hanika from the UK who is staying in Kyoto to go out on an adventure.  After kareoke last night we had agreed to meet up for Moss Burger so off we went! After brunch we decided to be dedicated tourists. We jumped on the bus and headed to the Golden Pavilion.
The Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) is a Buddhist Hall containing relics of Buddha. The area which it resides was originally a site called Kitayama-dai and was owned by the 3rd shogun of the Muromachi period. The villa was converted into a Temple by the priest Muso-kukushi after the shogun died.  In 1994, this Temple was registered as a World Cultural Heritage Site.
Gold foil on lacquer covers the upper two levels of the pavilion and a shining pheonix stands on top of the roof.

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This was a lot of fun.  I tried many times but after the 4th turn I got my coin into the bowl.

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I decided to have my fortune told. I got one that said “quite good” do I folded it up and hung it on a wire like I was told to do.

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Nijo Palace was amazing even though there was quite a bit of scaffolding around as they are resorting the castle. My favourite part was the nightingale floor which made bird sounds as you walked on it. This was so that when they were sleeping they would be able to hear if and intruders entered the castle.
The castle was built originally in 1603 as the official Kyoto residence of the first Shogun,  Ieyasu, with the addition of some structures transferred from Fushimi Castle. Nijo Castle is full of amazing paintings and carvings that were generously commissioned by the shogun. The castle was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994.

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We weren’t allowed to take photos inside but trust me when I say it is amazing!

We went to the Gion District next with the hope of seeing a Giesha. We didn’t see one but we did see a lot of people in traditional dress which was wonderful in itself. It stated getting very cold in Gion so we heading into a Starbucks to warm up.  We managed to entertain ourselves by playing checkers with coins on the table.

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We then headed off to a tea ceremony and leant about “the way of tea” at a Japanese-style tea house called En. We were able to watch a traditional tea ceremony.  I was surprised at how long it took and how many different movements were involved! We were then able to make our own tea! It was hard to wisk the tea so it had enough froth. I also found it interesting that the tea scoop is named at each ceremony with a name from nature.
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We had dinner at Sukiya after this. I had a vegetarian curry. After that I went to bed and had an early night.

Hannah x

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