Monday, October 31, 2011


 There are many wonderful little shops to visit on the road leading up to Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavillion). I loved all of them, but especially the ones selling chirimen and fabirc goods...but no time to look in all of them.
 Sweets, cakes and crackers are very popular souvenirs (omiage)
 What I found surprising was there are actually residential houses in amongst these touristy shops.  I guess tourist think of all these world heritage sites as merely sight seeing destinations, but all these temples are actually in active use for people wanting to come and pray.  And they are set amongst people's homes.  I wonder what it would be like to live in amongst the touristy parts of town.

 Kyotoites sure do adore green tea! They put it in everything; cakes, ice cream, drinks and cream puffs. And there was a very strong smell of green tea in the air in many of the places we visited.

 This is the entrance to Ginkakuji.  All the structures were magnificent and imposing.
 Look at the symmetry of this hedge.  The gardens here were enormous, but immaculately manicured.
A beautiful bamboo grove.

 I found all the architectural elements fascinating.  The work that went into building these structures is truly mindboggling.
 And the sand structures..absolutely perfect.  This one is meant to represent Mt Fuji I think.
And here it is - Ginkakuji! Only it isn't silver, but still beautiful. More photos to come.

Friday, October 28, 2011


 Sleeping on a futon is really uncomfortable!  I though futons were foam mattresses, but they are actually only continental quilts. All I could feel was the hard floor beneath. I'm too old to sleep on the floor! When I awoke, my throat felt a bit scratchy as it had the night before, but I thought I was just tired and tried to ignore it.  It was raining again, and from our window I saw these cute little kids on their way to school.
 We walked uo to Kyoto station to look for some breakfast. Snapped this cute little eatery along the way. I just love taking in all the sights of everyday life when I am overseas.
 Shinkansen at Kyoto station.

Unfortunately, all the cafes were full of customers, so we ended up eating breakfast at Lotteria, which was quite nice. Then we caught the subway to Imedagawa station to start our day of temple hopping at Ginkakuji. We then caught a taxi to the road leading up to Ginkakuji.  I had read that taxis in Japan are really expensive, but they only cost about the same as in Australia, so we decided not to bother about using the buses. Also, taxis save alot of time when you need to pack alot of sightseeing into one day. By this stage, my throat was really on fire and my whole body ached. Why do I get sick every time I go overseas! I truly felt awful, but I wasn't about to lie in bed, I mean on the floor, all day after I had travelled half way across the world to my dream destination. And, to make matters worse, I was sure I had packed a box of Panadiene in my case, but I had actually left it back home.  So I had no drugs even to keep me going, Did I feel sorry for myself! But I was determined to do everything on my itinerary, so I just pretended I was fine and kept plodding on. I drank copious amounts of cold green tea to try and soothe my throat.

 Here is the road leading up to Ginkakuji.  If there is one way to cheer me up, it's souvenir shopping.  The whole road was lined with little shops. And then, look what I found-a branch of the Chirimen Museum!
I adore chirimen.  The colours and textures of the fabric are truly exquisite. My dream job would be to make things from chirimen all day.

 I love this mobile, but I was very expensive, but so much work had gone into making it.

I of course purchased a couple of items, which I will show you later.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011


 I adore these wooden houses.  I love the colour of the wood and the architecture. I also love the small gardens and their ornaments,especially the water feautures. They seem to have a nack of making everyday settings look beautiful.

 The only thing which surprised me about Gion is there are many strip clubs and brothels. I never read about that in my travel guides! We even saw a few girls on their way to work.  I wanted to cry when I saw them.  How awful for beautiful young girls to end up doing that for a living. I know there are such establishments all over the world, but still it made me sad to actually see these girls.  I wonder, what were their dreams when they were little girls, do they have family, have they been educated???  As a mother, I find it devastating.

 These are the restaurants along the river in Pontocho.  I think they are all private entertaining rooms. I'd feel too intimidated to enter one.  There are many restaurants I'd like to try, but as I can't read kanji, I have no idea what sort of eateries they are. I wish I had the courage to just go into one, especially one where you have to bow under the noren curtains.
So that's the end of our Gion expedition.  I'd like to return one day and have a better look around.