So, we made it to Kyoto! This city is all about the old Japan reminiscent of the Edo period. On the list of things to do:
This is a temple that was funded, mostly, by the first (and possibly only) Black Shogun of Japan! His name is Sakanouye no Tamuramaro.
The temple doesn’t mention Tamuramaro except to say that he funded it, however there is a big chubby, Black guy at the front! LOL
There is also a holy spring. You get in line to drink from the spring with a long laddle-looking spoon that everyone else drank out of. They say it’s been sterilized by ultra violet rays … .okay ….
It’s easy to walk around, there are tons of people to watch, and lots of people (young women and families) walking around in kimono. Kyomizu is next to the infamous Love Stone. Legend has it that if you can walk between the two love stones with your eyes closed without injuring yourself or falling down that you’ll be lucky in love. To help, there is a vendor set up to sell you charms to find love, bind your love tightly, get pregnant, have an easy delivery, do well on an exam, etc. for a small fee of course! LOL
Both Kyomizu and the Love Stone are free to visit, but beware:
– The beautiful part of Kyomizu costs Y300 per adult to enter
– There is a “rebirthing” experience that costs Y100
– Buying a cup to drink the water from is Y200
It’s a castle. If that’s your thing, then do your thing, but it was a waste of money to me. It cost Y600 per adult (the most we paid to get in any museum, site, etc.) and there is nothing to experience that you won’t get a better view of in a guidebook.
Firstly, you can’t take any photos inside the castle. Boooo!
Secondly, the castle doesn’t have anything inside of it. It’s just walls and floors. I’ll save you some money and show you the only room with figures of feudal Lords meeting with the Shogun. Oops! I can’t because I couldn’t take photos, but when you get to the gift shop they’ll sell you a postcard of the scene for Y120.
Lastly, the “nightingale floors” don’t sound like birds singing, they sound like birds dying.
Obviously, I don’t have a whole lot of good things to say about Nijo Castle, so I’ll move on.
Fushimi Inari Shrine
What a beautiful place. Take the #5 bus from Kyoto Station and exit at Inaritaishamae. Once you get off, there will be a little street about 10 feet up (in the same direction the bus is going). When we went, there was a little French restaurant on the corner. Walk up that street (you can only go up one way) and you’ll see little shops on either side of the road. Keep walking. You’ll start seeing red and white banners with kanji on them. Keep walking. You’ll cross over the train tracks. You’ll see mini-prayer gates in different sizes being offered by the vendors. Keep walking. When you get to the point where you can go to the right or the left, go to the left (up the mountain).
All of a sudden you’ll see a huge orange prayer gate in the middle of the street. That’s Fushimi Inari! It’s beautiful and quiet. Don’t forget to drink a bit of water from the front gate.