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December 8, 2019 / Jim Fenton

Japan/Singapore Day 3: More Kyoto

November 10, 2019

After another breakfast at the Starbucks next to our hotel, we took the subway and a light-rail line to Arishiyama, on the west side of Kyoto, on the recommendation of Emi, a friend of Kenna’s. Emi’s dad was from Kyoto, and Emi provided us with beautiful hand-drawn maps he had made that were immensely helpful.

Bamboo Forest

It was a nice change of pace to get out of the center of the city. It was, however, a sunny Sunday afternoon during the fall color season, which attracts crowds. Once there, we took a path through a bamboo forest, which was impressive in size but made us wonder how they kept the bamboo from spreading everywhere. We eventually turned off into a private garden that charged admission; it gave a chance to walk through a well-kept Japanese garden and enjoy a fine hilltop vantage point. It was well worth the price of admission for this. We then followed a path into a nearby park and along the Katsura River.

Crossing the river by a nearby bridge, we found an udon restaurant for lunch. Mine (udon with tempura) was quite good, but the beef with Kenna’s udon was less enjoyable.

Kiyomizu Temple

After lunch we took the rail and subway across town to the north end of Muruyama Park and walked through it and then through a popular shopping district with many traditional stores. Many young people in couples and groups were dressed in traditional costume for a day out. We arrived at to Kiyomizu Temple, one of the more notable Buddhist temples in the Kyoto area. We admired the architecture and artwork, but wish we understood more about the various rituals going on there, such as the ringing of a gong and the various prayer sites.

Leaving the temple, we walked through a huge cemetery leading back into central Kyoto. At this point it seemed like we had done quite a bit of walking. We made our way back to the subway, and north and east to a district known as the geisha (Gion) district. We walked around a bit, finding a place called Gion Corner where there are twice-daily performances, but decided not to attend one. The restaurants in the immediate vicinity were rather expensive, so we took a break from Japanese food and stopped for dinner at an Irish pub we had walked by. Kenna sampled and enjoyed the sake, learning about how it is traditionally poured and consumed.

We returned to the hotel through a very active shopping district. It’s Sunday evening, but apparently that doesn’t stop the shopping culture in Kyoto.

Total walking today: 10.5 miles, 27 floors climbed

This article is part of a series about our recent travels to Japan and Singapore. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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