Japan Part 3: Kyoto and Nara

Ok, so this post has been a long time coming (almost 10 months in fact!).  After our stay on Miyajima we hopped on a train up to Kyoto.  I was really looking forward to going here, I had read so much about it and the history (geeky I know) and wanted to see these places in real life.  It didn’t disappoint!

Kyoto is kind of split, there is old ancient Kyoto and modern business Kyoto.  The city and surrounding area is full of some beautiful temples and shrines, I won’t bore you with details about each one, but some things they have in common are that they are peaceful places, colourful and beautifully decorated, each with their own differences. Some even have Nightingale Floors that sing as you walk!

Tenryu-ji TempleNijo Castle

Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji)Fushimi Inari ShrineHeian ShrineJapanese Tea Ceremony - Nijo PalaceHeian ShrineRyoanji TempleKenninji Temple

We stayed in the more modern part of town in a little studio apartment, which was great being able to go to the shop and try random things.  I think Stuart tried every flavour of ‘Pot Noodle’, not quite the culinary experience I had in mind!! We did eat out a couple of times, in the old town and also quite randomly at the train station, which had restaurants on the top two floors, we had the best Katsu there (Wagamama certainly don’t make it like that!)

Funky Taxi LightsLittle TrainWatch Out - Alien and ChildPretty LanternHeian Shrine GardenFushimi Inari Shrine LanternsGeishaGion StreetGeisha Bus !Heian Shrine GardenKamo-gawa RiverFox Prayer Cards - Fushimi Inari ShrineShirakara CanalNice Shoes - Gion Street LifeWatching Dinner being made!

Kyoto is just nice for wandering, and stopping for cake (a lot, which I didn’t think would happen in Japan!).  They are very much into their patisserie, and we enjoyed Cream Puff (took me back to being a kid!) and a nice tasting platter from a rather trendy tea house

Afternoon Tea Kyoto StyleMatcha Tea Cream Puff!

The indoor market is also amazing, it spans about 3 blocks and sells everything including fish lollipops and other random sea creatures and veg that I couldn’t tell you what it was!

Nishiki Market RandomsNishiki Market RandomsNishiki Market RandomsNishiki Market RandomsNishiki Market RandomsNishiki Market Randoms

Not far from Kyoto is Nara, the ancient capital, where deer roam free.  So we took a day trip.  It was such a lovely place, with again lots of temples and gardens, but a large park in centre where the deer roamed free and tried to eat your ice cream!

Nigatsudo TempleBig Buddhas House (Todai-ji Temple)Kofukuji TempleBeware of the Deer!!A ShrineSake BarrelsPurification FountainHeart Prayer CardsHungry Deer!

They also have the worlds largest Buddha!! Yeah, check out the size of this guy:

Big Buddha

Then it was back on the Shinkansen (still makes me smile thinking about them, they are so cool) and Hello Tokyo!