Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Japan Trip - Day 6 - Kyoto and Tokyo

Thursday was another train day, but since Kyoto and Tokyo are only 2.5 hours apart, we still had plenty of time for sight-seeing.

We started our day by learning the Kyoto bus system. We were able to successfully make our way across town to Kinkakuji, the Golden Temple. This is one of Japan's best known sights, and I think the fame is deserved. It is a beautiful temple surrounded by lake and beautiful gardens.

Multiple times while we were in Kyoto, we were stopped by kids on school trips that wanted to ask us questions to practice their English. Some questions, like "where are you from?" were easy to answer. Others, like "What are your favorite Japanese words?" required a bit more thought. (I think our answer was to just list all the Japanese words we knew.)

From there we went on a (very long and hot) walk to Ryoan-ji, a Zen temple famous for it's rock garden. This was interesting, and a nice place to sit for a minute and relax.

It also had a beautiful lake with pink and yellow flowers.

From Ryoan-ji, it was time to take the long bus-ride back to the hotel and then make our way back to the train station. Luckily, we already knew how to get to our Tokyo hotel, since it was the same one we'd been at the first night.

It was evening by the time we got settled in, so we headed off to Shibuya. Shibuya is the neighborhood in Tokyo with the huge times-square like area. Tons of people cross the intersection at every light - it's mesmerizing to watch.

There is a star bucks on the corner that overlooks the intersection, so we stopped there to sip coffee and people watch.

Our last stop of the night was at a restaurant with outdoor seating on one of the top levels of the Parco I department store. (There are three Parco department stores right next to each other...) The food was good, and the weather was perfect for sitting outside.

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