So as I said in the last post, we spent the majority of our day hanging with monkeys. (There’s an excellent gif somewhere in there that I should be including. I just know it.)
After we made our way down Mt. Arashiyama and hung out for a while we decided to take a bus to ONE OF THE PLACES I WAS MOST EXCITED TO SEE:
The Golden Pavilion!
Or the Kinkaku-Ji Temple!
We were already in the west part of Kyoto, so this was a short bus ride from the Iwatayama Monkey Park. “Will it really be golden?” I thought to myself.
“How do they keep it clean, if so?” I continued thinking.
There are bus routes that are specifically designed for temple tours– this being one of the major stops so before I knew it we were walking towards the front gates with what appeared to be a bunch of school kids on field trips. Admission was a little confusing… But once we figured it out- we were on our way!
There are lots of neat stops along the way to the Pavillion– my camera battery was nearly dead so I don’t have a lot of them. But you are surrounded by gardens. There is even a tea house!
It was about this time that we started hearing different exclamations from the distance. We knew we were getting close.
There she was! In the most perfect afternoon light! The golden pavillion sits on Kyokochi or the “mirror pond.” It was a little windy that day (you can tell by the youtube videos in my previous post) so it wasn’t perfectly still on the lake.
I spent forever just looking at the building. It was originally a residence for a famous Shogun and became a temple shortly after his death. I was imagining the daily life in a house made of gold when I felt someone looking at me. I turned to my left and there was a little school boy, maybe 13 or 14, and he asked if he could take a picture with me.
I was a little confused at first but then his friends laughed and said that he thought I was beautiful. #humblebrag
So I smiled and tried to act normal and we took a picture together. Suddenly all of his friends wanted one too! I thought this was hilarious (I was also really really nervous) so I handed the teacher my camera and we all took photos!
(I wish you could’ve seen how tickled the woman on the right was getting at all of this.)
So we all said “thank you!” and laughed and Napkin and I went to keep moving and all of a sudden there was another group of kids who wanted a photo!
(I was really flattered by all of this. I hope I don’t find, like, totally flamed photos of myself on some forum…)
So cute, right?!
So we spent a little more time admiring the pavilion and decided to walk around the grounds a bit more. It was right about this time that I realized the day was fading, we were at the end of our time in Kyoto and I turned to my new husband and said, “I really… really… want another soy milk ramen.”
Without another word we were mapping our way from the west side of Kyoto back to the East side. A complicated bus ride and beautiful (I mean BEAUTIFUL) walk later:
There I was:
…Warming up with a green tea latte at Cafe Proverbs 15:17. The same waitstaff was there and they were really tickled that we were back– and even more tickled when we ordered the same thing.
I kept my cool, practiced my Japanese… and kept it together on the outside. On the inside I was feeling like this:
And before we knew it, our food had arrived!
(Literally three seconds later…)
(I’m getting weepy remembering this… someone take me back to Kyoto!)
The second bowl of ramen at Cafe Proverbs was even better than the first. Maybe it was because I knew what to expect or because I knew it was my last chance to enjoy it… Or because it WASMINEALLMINE. But it was heavenly.
Napkin and I decided, with bellies warm and full, to try and see one more temple before we lost all daylight. The closest and most impressive seeming was Hokan-ji Temple! (It’s also known as the Yasaka Pagoda.) So Napkin thanked everyone at the cafe for us while I cried into my empty bowl of ramen, swearing, “I’ll return to you one day… Don’t forget meeee!”
I dried my eyes, joined my husband and we skipped over to the temple!
We got a little turned around in trying to find the Higashiyama District, where the Hokan-ji temple resides. By the time we got there, it was totally dark– but still open for a little while so the guards let us explore. I have a feeling that it would be an entirely different experience in the day– but at night, it was eerie. In a good way.
I was still, even in the dim light, blown away by the amount of detail put into the architecture.
…to be honest with you, I felt fortunate to see it at night…? I had read that Imperial Prince Shotoku had seen it in a dream, inspiring the construction. It seemed appropriate and mystical to see it at night when dreams happen, you know?
Napkin and I were speed walking by this point… we were watching people being lead to the gates (it was closing time) but we had to stop for a second to take in the view. Just look!
One of those little blobs is the Kyoto Tower! We were so high up! I didn’t anticipate how rolly-polly Kyoto was going to be!
This was when my camera totally pooped out for the day. In fact, all of the photos of the Hokan-ji temple were taken with my archaic back-up camera, which is a shame. Finally, we were lead out of the gates (we definitely were there a good thirty minutes after they were supposed to close) and we decided to walk around the Higashiyama district which is very old and very touristy– which means there are tons of shops with super cute Kyoto themed things… and swords. Lots of swords.
We meandered around for a little while and gazed at the shops that were still open… and decided that it was probably best to go ahead and say our final goodbyes to Kyoto. We took a bus back to Heianbo, got our things and walked back to Kyoto Station to catch a bullet train back to our hotel in Tokyo.
We had a little while before the next Shinkansen arrived, so I bought a magazine for the way home. (#fashionable.jpg)
In what felt like a few minutes, we were heading back to Tokyo with a ridiculous amount of new memories. Kyoto was probably the highlight of my honeymoon. It was so much more romantic and classic than I thought it would be… if I could change anything, I wish we would have spent more time there. My blue boots and I will never be the same.
I’ve said this in, like, six different posts now… but REALLY. If you’re looking for a traditional style inn in Kyoto that’s convenient to everything please consider Ryokan Heianbo. I found these pictures I had taken of the outside!
It’s affordable and lovely and you won’t regret it.