Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Yokoso! Japan: Day 03

Waking up in a Ryokan



Spent the night in Kyoto at a "Hotel Iroha". Not actually a hotel but a modern Ryokan (Japanese inn). Big room, comfortable, good price, very nice! Good pick by Bummer & Piglet.

Kinkakuji Temple

After packing up, we made our way to Kinkakuji Temple.



Here's my obligatory postcard shot of the golden pavillion.



It was during this visit that I noticed that student field trips were are common in Japan. There were students everywhere!



Not really that much to see at this particular temple. However, the surrounding gardens were very beautiful.



Next stop would be the Imperial Palace. Check out the nice uniforms, pretty mom and overly-friendly old man at the bus stop.

Kyoto Imperial Palace

Unfortunately for us, the Imperial Palace tours were fully booked for the day.



That's me outside the gates. No entry, Rod.



But the trip was not wasted. Surrounding the Imperial Palace was the impressively large Imperial Garden.



Wandering around the garden, we ran into more students on a field trip. This time kids! Very cute kids!



From Kyoto to Nara



After a simple ramen lunch, we took a local train to Nara, a nearby small town. Its really impressive how all the trains are electric-powered and so quiet.



Okay, so this is what a small town in Japan looks like. We walked through the main street leading to the center of town.



Cream puffs. Piglet & me were addicted to them. We had some goods ones in Kyoto as well.



Some goodies in one the many shops.



We happened to walk past what looked like an eel speciality restaurant. Unagi, my favourite! But a meal at this place was not to be, as we had other plans.



Healthy looking flowers after a wrong turn. We ended up in a backalley running along people's homes, when an old lady was nice enough to direct us to where we wanted to go (Piglet managed to make out her directions).

Nara Park



We headed for the famous Todaji Temple via Nara Park.



The people of Nara are really lucky to have such natural beauty at their doorsteps.

Todaji Temple



Just outside the park near the entrace of the temple were some souvenir shops. Bought some Hello Kittie thingies for Jacklyn & Tirak.



By the time we reached the temple, it was exactly 5pm and the guard closed the gate! All that way and we didn't get to see the largest wooden temple in the world! This was the entrance.



We went around the side. This is me trying to get a better view.



After various other antics, we decided to go up the hill to a nearby temple.



This is me at the temple terrace.



The view from these temples on hills are nice! Overlooking the town, sun setting and all.

Most excellent tempura



I was told by food hunters Bummer & Piglet that Nara was famous for tempura. So we had dinner at this restaurant recommended by the tourist office. That was the first time that I've had tempura and soba. It really was excellent!

From Nara to Kyoto to Nagoya

After dinner we caught the local train from Nara to Kyoto, then swiched to the Tokaido Shinkansen back to Nagoya where Piglet was based (she had to work the next day).



By the time we got to Nagoya it was almost 10pm. Had a bit of a problem finding my hotel, but Bummer & Piglet were nice enough to walk with me until we found it.



Another business hotel, but this one was a little bit bigger.

Click here for more pictures from Nara

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