Sunday, 4 November 2012

Kyoto. Oh no!

Ah, Kyoto. Tranquil temples, long narrow streets which all seem to have interesting shops or restaurants, a busy hub of shopping streets and arcades, and a wide river which is perfect for the stroll back to the hotel in the evening. A lovely place to be.

Assuming, that is, you don't fall ill on the second day like I did. Nothing that kept me bedridden or anything, but it did mean most evenings were spent in my hotel room, with sandwiches and milk for supper, watching TV. Often baseball.

My only evening out in Kyoto

During the day, things were okay. My plan was to go to temples mostly, and get a bit of culture, so I could handle that. Things got a bit much in the city centre. However, there were plenty of side streets to duck down if I needed a rest, and you're never far from a temple. If you are going to have a constant headache in a city, then Kyoto's probably one of the best.

Daimonji. I walked up that last time I was in Kyoto. I must've been mad.

In one temple, I was walking about when two people sitting nearby started playing a haunting melody on a couple of flutes. That was very nice. And I spent a peaceful hour or so in the Shoren-in temple, just padding around in my socks from room to room in the autumn sun.

Shoren-in Temple

I went on the guided tour of the Imperial Palace. It was very interesting, but there was one building off to one side that looked a bit shabby and run down. The guide didn't mention it, and I was left wondering about it. I looked it up online afterwards and discovered it was called the Shunkoden, but didn't find much else except it was built in 1915 (so I guess it isn't a replica of an earlier building) and it's the only building in the palace still in regular use. As a tool shed, by the looks of it.

It was a real shame to go home in the end, but I'd filled up with Japan for another couple of years. Having to work out how each toilet works out before you use it loses its novelty after a while. I didn't get the DVDs I wanted – should've gone to Tokyo for that, but I did get a book on Kansai-ben/Japanese. And my Japanese is really no better than last time, which is a shame. All in all, though, a very nice holiday. Must do it again sometime.

A surprise discovery in the 100 yen section of a second-hand bookshop.

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