For our first day around Kyoto we decided to go far, on the outskirts of the city to hit some of the main temples and see the bamboo forest. We started in Arashiyama, where the bamboo forest is and where there are numerous temples (some UNESCO-recognized) dotted in the countryside.
From there we took a train and headed somewhat North, to make our way towards the infamous Golden Temple and Ryoan-ji temple (which I had both missed on my last visit). We had quite a bit of walking to do to get there, and we hit a few more temples along the way, such as Taizo-in and Ho-do.
Ryoan-ji temple was set amongst a large piece of land, with beautiful gardens. The main temple though, with it’s Zen rock garden, didn’t evoke much for me. It was nice though to be able to simply sit and look.
The Golden temple, on the other hand, was quite the opposite in terms of tranquility. It was wildly overrun by tourists, and we had to wait quite some time to get to the front of lines to get good pictures. The temple sort of had a trail to follow, and at one point there was a bowl set further away in the forest that people would throw coins at. The goal was to get your coin into the bowl to have your wish granted, and I got my coin right in! I have no idea how I managed it.
From there we walked and walked towards a train station. On our way though we saw a sort of festival going on on a side street and decided to check it out. It was in fact a children’s fair, with candies and toys and games and more snack food that’s bad for you. We were by far the only foreigners there.
After a quick stroll through the fair we headed back to our hostel, our feet and legs tired from a long day of sightseeing. Still, we had to save some energy for tomorrow’s take two on Kyoto’s overwhelming number of temples!