Nara & Kyoto

January 5, 2013 - Kyoto, Japan

This is our last night in Kyoto: tomorrow we go to Hakone after a quick stop in Mishima to look at the shrine and meet up with some friends, including Sheridan and her mum :D Today we did & saw so much - first the Todaiji Shrine (largest wooden structure in the world, housing the Big Buddha) then Kasuga Shrine with over 3,000 stone lanterns on the way up to the shrine. Deer EVERYWHERE!!!

After a really delicious lunch included in our tour, we returned to Kyoto to visit Nijo Castle, the Ryoanji Gardens,the Golden Pavillion and Kiyomizudera Temple. Nijo Castle impressed with its "nightingale floor", exquisite gold wall paintyings and delicate wood panels that look completely different on each side, all carved from a single large piece of wood.  The Ryoanji Gardens consist of both the famous dry gravel Zen garden and a beautiful stroll gearden set around an ornamental lake.  Mrs Townsend and I were very slow in getting back to the bus, as the view was so different and picturesque, no matter where you stand along the path.  It was even worse at the Golden Pavillion - so stunning, it was hard to stop taking pictures at every step. Then we drove across town and walked up the narrow shop-lined street leading to the temple.  It was jam packed with people yet so beautiful, particularly the sunset seen from the famous wooden stage or balcony supported by improbably long ancient wooden pillars, over the sheer drop into the valley below.

The weather was just perfect, cold of course but so sunny...more details later, as we have lots of photos to add (it has been hard to log on & update on the move).  The students have all been just terrific & we were really lucky with the tour guide we were given.  "Tammy san" spared no effort and has a great sense of humour.  Last night after we arrived - a bit tired & footsore after an extraordinary time in Himeji - she took us on a night walk around the oldest part of Kyoto, where we saw two maiko (trainee geisha) going into a teahouse - so lucky! We were all so glad we had made the effort - Mrs W !^_^!




Marilyn Hallett-O'Neill:
January 6, 2013
Looks like you are all having a wonderful time in an amazing country.
Thomas, Wilfried and Daniel:
January 7, 2013
hey mum, we're glad you're having a great time :) It all sounds very beautiful, take lots of pictures! xx
gure-to sukotto:
January 7, 2013
Wow I'm reliving all of my Japan memories vicariously though the photos on here. It looks like you're all having so much fun. Just wish I could be there! One day Scott, one day you shall return....
Also video footage of Westermann, Brown and Townsend all doing karaoke is requisite to complete your trip (and my life).
Enjoy the home stay and remember: don't get lost (unless you can speak Japanese and are interested in finding love in Hiroshima).
xoxo gossip sukotto yori
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