Saturday, September 17, 2016

UNESCO Kyoto

We took the Kyoto Loop bus today - a hop on hop off service that visits just about all the World Heritage sites and most important museums of Kyoto. I don't know how anyone could see everything in one day - but we did our best - to see our top four anyway .....

Our first stop was the beautiful Nijojo Castle - built in 1603 as the Kyoto residence of the first shogun of the Edo period. The gardens of this palace were especially beautiful.






We were very interested in this traditional Japanese wedding taking place in the teahouse.....
 ...and its minimalist setting for the ceremony.


Have I mentioned that it is very hot in Kyoto? - hot and humid...these misting devices provide very welcome relief!

Next stop was the Nishijin Textile Centre, in the centre of Kyoto's weaving district - an alliance of over 700 small companies that continue to nurture the ancient kimono and textile traditions.

We enjoyed our talk with the women in the kimono workshop (no pictures allowed) who unwrapped a beautiful silk kimono for us and explained how it was made. It was a "cheap" kimono (around $5000) as it had been screen printed, not handpainted.

It was a fairly long drive north then to the site of Kinkakuji - the Golden Pavillion - a Zen Buddhist temple built in the late 1300s, whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. This beautiful UNESCO site is really popular with tourists - and it was very crowded today......










Then another long drive in our K'Loop bus, this time over to the other side of town to see Ginkakuji (the Silver Pavillion). In 1482 shogun Yoshimasa built his retirement villa on the grounds of this temple, modelling it after his grandfather's Kinkakuji (Golden Pavillion). It was converted into a Zen Buddhist temple after the shogun's death.

 We know now how these black pine trees grow so artfully!!
The gardens of the Silver Pavilion were my favourite today. I loved the way they used moss, running water, clipped azaleas and dry sand Zen gardens in this mountain setting.




It was interesting to see this close up view of Japanese cypress shingle roof construction.
We have fallen in love with green (matcha) tea in all its forms. We rewarded ourselves after a very hot and humid day of sightseeing (with lots of walking) with a green tea ice-cream after our visit to the Silver Pavillion - YUM!
It was well after 4.00pm by the time we returned to our starting point at Kyoto Station. We ended off the day at our lovely hotel with a drink on the balcony, another free drink at the hotel bar and then a great meal of sushi, sashimi and more sweet snacks - we are all really enjoying the food on offer here!

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