Hello from Kyoto! Our time in Kyoto is over halfway done and we’ve been having a blast! We left Osaka on wednesday and on the way to Kyoto we went to shrines that I mentioned in my last blog. We started with the Horyuji Temple in Nara and then visited the Byodoin Temple. Byodoin is also called the Phoenix Temple. The Horyuji Temple was up a lot of stairs, which wouldn’t bother me that much but it was really hot outside. It’s been hot every day which I’m not enjoying but I’m in Japan so I can’t complain too much.
Before we arrived at the new youth hostel we’re staying at in Kyoto, we visited the Genji museum. It was really interesting and the artwork was beautiful but I couldn’t follow too much. They gave us these translators that we put on our ear but I could still hear the japanese around us so it was hard to concentrate. We saw a information movie about the story of Genji and there were so many names that I couldn’t follow the story. The story of this person seemed like a soap oprah in my head.
After seeing all theses amazing sites, we arrived at the Higashiyama Youth Hostel in the evening. It didn’t have an elevator so that made dragging up our heavy suitcases hard. My roommates and I were on the fourth floor so that made it even worse. Finally we got settled in and decided to walk around and explore the town. We saw a lot more American places in Kyoto than we did Osaka. There is a McDonalds, Starbucks, and a TGI Fridays. This youth hostel also does not have free wifi so we can either pay to use the youth hostel’s internet or pay to use the internet at starbucks. The internet at starbucks is cheaper so most of our group went to starbucks. The next day we went to the shopping district down the street and I bought a couple of souvenirs.
I’ve found I’m not seeing as many sights in Kyoto because I’m starting to get burned out from going out and sightseeing everyday. I owuld like to see everything every city has to offer but it’s physically impossible. There are times where I just need to sit around and do my homework. Yesterday we went to the Fushigi Inargi Shrine and saw the Torii gates. The shrine is a shinto shrine and sold a lot of charms and cute souvenirs. I bought a mini Torii gate and gave a little offering to the shrine. After the shrine was all the Torii gates. The best way to describe a Torii gateto someone who hasn’t seen on is like a big red pi symbol. There are thousands lined up and curving all over this mountain. We had to climb a bunch of stairs and we got half way before we were exhausted and had to stop. Even though we’d only gone about half way, the view was beautiful. Everywhere we looked there were little pockets of stone shrines. People had written on the mini Torii gate and hung them on a particular stone shrine that they chose. When we got too tired to walk up stairs anymore we headed back down.
Last night our group went to a karaoke room and it was my first experience doing this type of karaoke. We called it a hilarious failure because it took us a half hour to figure out how to work it because it was all in japanese. We eventually got it to work and it was so funny. There were 8 of us in this little room singing song like Don’t Stop Believing and Carry On My Waward Son at the top of our lungs. It was so much fun.
Today I’m just relaxing and doing homework. We’ll go to a few more sights in the next couple days until we leave for Hiroshima on Wednesday. I’m having a blast!!