Kyoto is probably the most popular city with tourists. With its great number of temples and other interesting places, I had a hard time choosing just where to visit in my three days there.
One of the temples I wanted to see the most was the golden temple Kinkakuji. Upon arrival I headed off to see it. To see the city I decided to walk to Kinkakuji instead of riding the train but the walk was too long for me and the way there turned out to be not that exciting.
On almost every photo I have seen, Kinkakuji is always pictured with the same camera angle and now I understand why. A very impressive golden temple standing on a pond like an island reflecting in the water... what a picturesque view it is! Kinkakuji is surrounded by a garden, but the walking path from the entrance gates on the right side of the temple stretches only a short way from it meaning that those views are the only ones available. Nonetheless, Kinkakuji is truly amazing and brilliant shiny with gold. On the day of my visit the weather was good, so I was able to see Kinkakuji in all its glory! The number of tourists present was also amazing.
When I travel, I don’t like to rush and visit as many places as possible. I like to take my time and to see different ‘faces’ of a city. So, after visiting Kinkakuji, I walked along Gion's Shijo Street where I stayed in a hotel with the strange name, Sasarindo. Shijo Street is lined by old-fashioned low buildings with all sorts of shops on the ground floor. The shops sell souvenirs, pottery, tea and local sweets called mochi and wagashi.
I walked down the street to Kamo River and rested by the riverside while enjoying the peaceful view. I spotted a large heron walking in the water, looking for fish. There were also some school children and young people enjoying a nice warm day by the river. I thought that that part of Kyoto was very nice and spacious, and I had a good time relaxing there before returning to a busy Gion Shijo in the evening.
With the evening lights, the picture had changed considerably and the street became much more comfortable. I walked to Hanamikoji Street, a district of houses with maiko performances. It had a mysterious atmosphere to it and seeing real maiko quickly passing by, I felt as if I were in a movie! I returned to my hotel walking narrow dark streets filled with the impression of being in ‘another world’.
After this first day in Kyoto, I loved the city and looked forward the next two exciting days.