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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care


I had spent the night before transferring the walking tour to the Kyoto map. The I had to figure out which bus would get us to the starting and ending point. That done it just remained for us to get our bodies on the correct train into Kyoto from Gakuemmae train station in the outskirts of Nara.

The Ginkakuji Temple also called the Silver Temple, a UNESCO site was our first stop. Plans were developed in 1482 to cover the building with silver foil like the Shogun’s grandfather did with the Golden Temple but alas, the Shogun died before he could see his dream come true. The temple was originally built to serve as a place of rest and solitude for the Shogun but after the Shogun’s death it was converted into a Zen temple.

After the temple we made our way to The Philosopher's Walk. It is a pedestrian path next to a canal. The path provides a convenient way to visit many Temples and Shrines situated near the route. By this time Gary was tired of the many temples and shrines so I judiciously selected only one more, the Nanzenji Gate which was enormous. From here we headed west into town and made our way to the Museum of Traditional Crafts. This was an amazing museum and collection of crafts from stone carving, needlework, pottery and you name it.

I purchased a tour for the next day so we are on our way early. The Nijo-jo Castle is one of the seventeen assets of Historic Monuments of Ancient Kyoto which have been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. We did not see all 17 sites, I need to leave something for next time. The castle was built as the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shoguns in 1626.

Next on the tour was Kinkaku-ji Temple or the Golden Pavillion, with 2 floors covered entirely in thin layers of pure gold and detailed architecture situated in a beautiful garden. The first words out of my mouth were “OH MY”. This is also one of the 17 UNESCO sites.

The Imperial Palace used to be the residence of Japan's Imperial Family until 1868, when the emperor and capital were moved from Kyoto to Tokyo. The current Emperor will occasionally return to the palace for celebrations. It was interesting to see the use of squeaky floors as an alarm system.

After lunch we visited the Heian-jingu Shrine.  It has a relatively short history, dating back just over a hundred years to 1895. The shrine was built for the 1,100th anniversary of the capital's establishment in Kyoto and is dedicated to the spirits of the first and last emperors who reigned from the city, Emperor Kammu (737-806) and Emperor Komei (1831-1867). Heian is the former name of Kyoto. This is where we saw a cute girl and her brother having just been blessed in their traditional outfits.

The Sanjusangen-do Temple is the world's longest wooden structure, housing 1,001 life-size statues of Buddhist Kannon deities dating back to the 13th century. I was blown away by this!

Finally the tour ended with the walk up the Kiyomizu slope (a street lined with souvenir shops) and the Kiyomizu-dera Temple (UNESCO) located at a hilltop. The temple has the Otowa waterfall flowing from beneath the main hall, known to grant wishes to those who drink it. People were lined up in order to have their wishes granted.