Kiyomizu-dera was our first destination, but before we could get there we had to stand in line to get on the bus. Then walk with hordes of people up the hill. Then stand in line to get tickets... Luckily few of the lines were all that long, but the crushing mass of humanity was still a bit much. I'd say it was pretty close to being as crowded as it was when I went for Fall leaves in November. The weather was amazing though, warm and not too muggy. Well, it was sort of muggy.
Our next destination was the zoo, but we made a brief detour to Heian Shrine. It was a bright sunny day (quite a contrast to Kanazawa!) and the white sand and brilliant ly painted vermillion buildings made me wish I had a set of super sunglasses on. I am sure the effect was just as dazzling as the builders intended.
Much to our keening dismay, the zoo was closed for the day. We paused for a quick sitdown and a pow wow.
Deprived of our animal companionship we skipped straight to the Tokugawa palace at Nijo castle. I had been before, but was eager to go again. The splendid paintings and delicate woodwork really enhance the subtle beauty of the palace. It is one of the few Royal Residence type of buildings that I could see myself living comfortably in.
As things turned out, we were in Kyoto at the same time as Zach and Sanami, so we met up with them at Kyoto Station for a trip to my hands down favorite sight in Japan, Fushimi Inari. The endless twisting rows of bright red Torii are almost hypnotic, and are certainly magical and mystical, and plenty beautiful. The whole area is perfect for wandering around at dusk, the gloaming really adds a whole new layer to an already fantastical atmosphere.
We made it to the top, but there was such a strong haze that the sun actually disappeared far above the horizon! We the took our time wandering through the twisty paths and dodging mischievious fox (kitsune) spirits.
Safely back in Kyoto station we hit up another conveyor belt sushi joint. A mere 120 yen a plate, anything goes. It was delicious, I rather gorged myself on Tuna and Salmon, with a piece of grilled corn sushi for good measure. Mom was rather more adventurous than I, leading to the quote, "I think I liked the raw horse better than the raw duck." The sheer insanity of Japan strikes again.