Monday, February 10, 2014

Nara and Kyoto trip - Part 2

Kyoto Kamo river at dusk right before it started snowing...

I was due to share pictures of our trip to Kyoto in January, so here they are at last! You may remember that we went there between Christmas and New Year last year [check Part 1], it was really quite cold and we had snow on the first day we arrived, while walking in the traditional area of Gion at night. Magical!

The next day was sunny and bright - but still cold, and we enjoyed walking from our hotel [the Kyoto Garden Palace, located in front of the Imperial Palace] to the city center and then the Kyomizu-dera temple overlooking the city. With our two kids. In the cold. Yep.

Needless to say it took us a long time and a lot of energy. But it was well worth it as it allowed us to check out some not-so-touristy areas... and get some exercise too! We were only so disappointed to discover that there was no onsen at our hotel, something we had completely overlooked when booking it. It would have been so relaxing!

photos above: Kamo river under the bright sun, a shrine, the view from the entrance 
of the Kyomizu-dera temple, the gate, the pagoda and 
the main hall's impressive wooden structure. 

We were due to drive back to Tokyo on our third day, but we managed to squeeze a visit to the  Golden pavilion or Kinkakuji zen temple in the morning. I took the photo below with my iPhone, quickly.  There was a huge crowd. It wasn't a zen experience at all. The Golden pavilion is still beautiful though, as is the garden all around.

I wonder when is the best time of the year to visit this temple - to avoid the crowd...



We will most certainly go back to Kyoto in the future, first of all because we weren't able to visit half of the temples there and then because I spotted so many gorgeous little shops I had no chance to visit. Ha, and the food my friends. The FOOD. 

We may need to go without kids to truly enjoy the food in Kyoto, in intimate restaurants that serve the best Kaiseki in town, or just simple food that require peace and quiet to be fully appreciated...

I can't wait!

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