We got off the train in Kyoto and it was snowing–our summers really are behind us. We stayed in the old geisha district of Gion. It is easy to imagine samurais and Geishas walking around the area because it is well preserved and because we saw tons of Geishas and samurais walking around. They don’t do it for tourists or for tips though, they do it for their own photo sessions.
It rained most of the week, but on our clear day we decided to visit the bamboo forest to the west of town and the golden temple to the north of town. We also decided that we wanted to see several of the connecting neighborhoods, so we walked 18 miles in total. The bamboo forest was nice but doesn’t deserve it’s place as the number 2 destination in Kyoto. The golden temple, on the other hand, is stunning. We arrived near 4pm in the late evening light and we had a picture-perfect experience.
I got a severe calf cramp around mile 15 that day and those last three miles really hurt. Back at the hotel, I had to treat it civil war style: I drank two shots of whiskey and then foam rolled while biting down on edamame.
The most photographed site in Japan is the Fushimi-Inari Taisha. We both expected them to be red, but they are actually bright orange and there are 10,000 of them with some dating back to 700 AD.
There are 2000 temples in Kyoto but just one castle. It was last remodeled in 1643.
Usually the language barrier isn’t much of an issue, but it makes eating difficult. We never really know what we are getting. I thought I was buying vegetable tempura, but it turned out to be octopus. They put octopus in everything.