Saturday, December 3, 2016

Oh, Kyoto Kyoto... Tori, foxes and kimonos

 That day we bought bento box at the train station and took the 285 km/h train, the Hikaido Shikansen.
This is probably how a person who has never ridden a car or only a very slow one would feel in a normal speed train. We felt a bit noxious from all the objects flying by at great speed.
 The guy at the ticket office was kind enough to reserve our seats on the Fuji mountain side! There was no way we were gonna see it from the Metropolitan government building in Tokyo due to the smog. 
 We arrive at Kyoto 2.5 hours later, find our guest house and get a very warm welcome. I really recommend the Compass guesthouse! The owner told us to call her mama and took care of us just like a real one!
She recommended us a merry go round sushi place in the neighbourhood.
 The food was great and the place was very busy. Soon it was all packed. And I must say we were the slowest eating people there. Costumers kept changing around us, plates piling up. And we just took it slow, made some photos and wondered long which wonder to try next.

 One evening we went to see around the old Kyoto and visited the Fushimi Inari shrine. it was lit beautifully and was very peaceful.
 There was a light up week in most of the temples and we got to see lit up paper, wooden and stone(called toro) lanterns.

 All through our trip I documented creatures with funny anatomy. 
This little Buddha could be gently touched on the head when asking for happiness.
 We saw the pagoda of Toji temple in the darkness and did a bit of window shopping. It was probably for the best that all the shops were closed...

 Still can not stop taking photos of all those cats!

The colorful Kyoto TV tower. A bit like a gigantic Christmas tree.
Next day is for a trip to Kiyomizu-dera temple. 
There were so many kimonos in one place to look at! But most of the ladies were tourists from neighbouring countries. There are many kimono rental shops around where one can dress all up and have astroll in the old town. 
It was misty and rainy that day, with the perfect light for taking photos.

I had my Columbia rain jacket. I feel like I am writing a tiny review here :-D Well, I now know that umbrella is much better in a city if you want to take photos. Hiking in the hills carrying  one wouldn't be that smart though.
Girls were having their romantic photos everywhere. And i was thanfull for that.

Jizo hillside of Buddha sculptures.

Hm...cats again.
The view of Gion, the most famous geisha district in Kyoto. We didn't see any that day, but were lucky to see one on our first evening in Kyoto. She was going the same way as us, so we had a good look ;-)
The Ryōzen Kannon is a war memorial commemorating the War dead of the Pacific War located in Eastern Kyoto. The concrete and steel statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara was built by Hirosuke Ishikawa and unveiled on 8 June 1955.

Ok, we saw some fat rainwarms...
Hm, I am not sure if positioning this photo under the previous one is a good choice... 
Maybe even better? It reveals the beauty more profoundly.
Some brutal architecture.
The streets on the way to Gion.

And this is how Japanese matcha baumkuchen looks like. I came to love the taste of matcha !
Another evening at Fushimi Inari Shrine. And the foxes are welcoming us already at the train station.
We went there again specifically to see  Kagura, "god-entertainment". It is a Japanese word referring to a specific type of Shinto theatrical dance. We endured around 40 minutes as it was very slow and repetitive. I've heard from some locals that many modern day Japanese can not take it either, haha.
Our room in the guesthouse had two Japanese style gardens!

Foxes from the Fushimi Inari shrine. The creatures are thought to  messengers there.

The Tori gates. Believe it or not, there was a river of people flowing there. This is like 20 meters of the vacant space we were lucky to have long enough to make a couple of photos.

One of the gardens in compass guesthouse. There were golden fish, the empty shells of cicadas on the leaves and all.
See you in the next post.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

The other days in Tokyo or the Botanical gardens and Golden Gai

 We find ourselves in Shinjuku Gyoen gardens. It's a large park with a greenhouse, which I was eager to visit.
Above-a Japanese crow. It's actually called jungle crow! Huge bird with even bigger voice and appetite.
 The day was warm and sunny like the most days of our trip. We were so lucky, because there has been an earth quake and snow in Tokyo as soon as we had left. And it hasn't snowed in Tokyo in November for 54 years!
 The colorful and elegant spiders.
 There was a chrysanthemum show in the park. The pyramid the ladies are admiring is actually one live plant. It has been shaped while growing, the flower stalks meticulously weaved into the position on a metal frame.
 Sometimes we saw the equisetum plants (puzzlegrass, horse tail) as tall as a human.
 I have never seen so sad/funny looking crysanthemums before.

 Something strange was happening under each big tree in the park. There were no other plants, except for the moss and a fern like crawling plant. 
 Nice free accessories.
 I heard a chirping and tracked down this grasshopper pretending to be a stick. I've seen very similar ones in Australia. 
 To our amazement we've found some autumn blossoming sakura trees.

 The tree or the bush was alive!

 Inside the greenhouse.
 This cluster of staghorn ferns was gigantic. It took me a while to walk around it. It's only one fourth of it in this photo.
 There were some orchids in bloom.

 I love this Alocasia micholitziana 'Frydek'!
 The greenhouse was very different from all the green houses I have seen around the world. It was very orderly and lots of plants were positioned as if in an exhibition. Maybe a bit too artificial for my taste.

There were always groups of people taking photos of the sakura blooms. I was not an exception either. I think photos of flowers always turn out beautiful, no matter what!

 Praying to sakura god :-)
 I still have to find out what kind of bush is this...
 The green house.
 Ema are small wooden plaques on which Shinto worshipers write their prayers or wishes. The ema are then left hanging up at the shrine.

And sure enough we've missed another flea market next to a temple in Shinjuku. Maybe for the best as our bags were getting already too full.
I managed to snatch a pair of vintage geta for my daughter and a kakeshi doll the last second.

 We then turn towards Golden Gai. Shinjuku Golden Gai is a small area of Shinjuku, famous both for the architecture and it's nightlife. It is composed of a network of six narrow alleys, connected by even narrower passageways. Over 200 tiny shanty-style bars, clubs and eateries are squeezed into this area. 
We were there a bit too early, everything was still closed, but it gave us a great opportunity to look at things with no rush and in the light of dusk.
 G in Golden Gai.

 There were so many fun logos and names, I had to collect a few to show you here.
 Mostly cats...


And on our to the train station we come across this mysterious bar...