In Kyoto, we stayed at Bon guesthouse hostel our last few nights. Great family-run hostel: real friendly, helpful, multi-lingual & clean... with showers, internet, bike rental, maps, kitchen facilities and washing machine.
Guesthouse Bon (Hostel)
Our first stop was Kinkaku-ji (the golden pavilion). Very impressive and certainly worth the ￥500 entry fee, but it was drizzling rain at the time so the pictures didn't turn out so great.
Kinkaku-ji (The Golden Pavilion)
We then took a bus (Kyoto is a bus city) to Nijo-jo castle but decided not to go in because it was getting late and we wanted to get to Nara for their Bon festival events. Plus we were hungry and saw a sign for "Welcome Asia" a Thai/Indonesian restaurant that satisfied our desire for non-Japanese food.
"Welcome Asia" restaurant menu cover
Sated and happy, we headed to Kyoto Station (itself a cool site) to catch an express train to Nara.
An hour's ride later, we were walking down the streets of Nara, stopping briefly at the gojunoto (5-story pagoda), then proceeding to get in line at Todai-ji, the huge wooden temple with the Daibutsu (giant Buddha). While waiting in line, my cell phone died, so I wasn't able to snap any more phone pics from Nara.
Gojunoto at Kofuku-ji
We wandered through the rest of the park, seeing loads of stone lanterns at Kasuga Taisha shrine but missing the Mantoro (lantern festival) by one day and missing the giant burning Dai symbol on the mountain by 30 minutes.
We managed to get a train back to Kyoto just in time to hop on one of the last buses back to our hostel area (whew!).
This morning the ladies were tired so I took a 10-min. walk to the nearest grocery store to buy some eggs, fruit, yogurt & granola for breakfast while they slept in.
Sick of walking, we decided that today would be our biking day, so we rented some bikes and biked around Kyoto for the day, roughly following the so-called "path of philosophy" seeing a bunch of shrines and temples along the way. (but only from the outside because we didn't want to pay ￥500/$5 each time!).
resting our feet in the river with the fishes!
shrine monkey statue
Antique Kimono Shop and Café... what a combination!
one of the many temples/shrines we passed
Tomorrow is our last day... hope we see a geisha!
(sent from my docomo phone)