To get from Tokyo to Kyoto, the fastest way was to take a "Bullet Train", known locally as Shinkansen.
The journey took only about 2 hours, covering 300+km. Now I know why Dr. M was inspired to build a bullet train line between Singapore and KL...
The Shinkansen truly is fantastic! Quieter than an airplane and more comfortable, but with travel times just as short, minus the hassle of going to/from the airport.
My first ever bus ride in Japan, from the Kyoto JR station.
They have quite an interesting system for paying bus fares. Only coins are accepted, but on every bus there is a machine to change 1000 Yen notes into coins. Notice the old folks on the bus? There seemed to be many old people in Japan, all enjoying life socializing, going out, etc. Somewhat different from Bangkok & Singapore.
Met up with Bummer & Piglet, then proceded to find something to eat. We came across this shop with curious looking decor...
Equally curious food...
And curious dolls...
Walking around Kyoto
After lunch, we basically wandered around the Gion area. Lots of cobbled streets with small quaint looking shops and houses. And quite a few temples and pagodas.
On the way up to Kiyomizu temple, there were lanes filled with pottery and souvenir shops.
The Buddhist temple of "pure water", Kiyomizu dera, located on Higashiyama's slope, was founded more than a thousand years ago and is dedicated to Juichimen Kannon, the goddess of mercy with eleven faces.
Ah! My first visit to a Japanese temple. The terrace had an excellent view of Kyoto city.
It is believed that the water is from this underground spring has curative properties, hence the name of the temple.
Nice Houses & Nice Food
A short walk down from the temple, there's a street with nice old traditional houses.
Bummer got this recommendation for a dinner place where they serve authentic home-cooked Kyoto food. Turns out the place was basically a house converted into a restaurant. Neither of us could speak decent Japanese, but somehow we managed to order thanks to the very helpful waitress.
That's pounded green tea after our meal. Tasted kindof powdery to me. The food was pretty good. According to Piglet & Bummer you could taste the freshness. I couldn't really tell - to me it just tasted good.
Click here for more pictures from Kyoto
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Wednesday, June 01, 2005