Talk about a day of contrasts. The old and the new.
Didn’t head to Ise today. I am still undecided if it is worth the journey from here in Kyoto. Seems it will be about 2.5 hours each way which is a fair bit to visit a shrine… especially given I am seeing heaps here and will be seeing Nikko (Japan’s primo shrine) before I go home. Hhhhmmm.
So instead I decided to head to the northern area of Kyoto to visit some more temples. These took a bit more effort to get to, but were apparently worth it, so backpack went on the back and off I went. Rather than bus of subway it there i decided to walk it. It was about 6km or so, but when you are wandering past temples and through gardens why wouldn’t you walk? Plus I was in no hurry.
So the first part of my wander was basically the same trek I did on my first visit, the Southern Hagashiyama area (see that earlier post if you want details!). I didn’t really stop at any of the places I had been before… just the odd photo, like the one at the top of the post.
So through that area I wandered, checking out the odd shop along the way. unfortunately the Godzilla mask was way too big (yes I did try it on) so it didn’t get bought.
Seems as though you meet all kinds of characters on your travels too.
So I arrived at my first destination, Nanzen-Ji. This was a pretty cool complex with some nice zen gardens which photos don’t do justice. I did take a moment to sit and zen out and let my mind wander.
From there it was further meandering north, along the Philosophers Path. This was a nice path that wound its way north. I think it would be amazing in season… this time of year it was a bit barren. I felt quite at home there, what with being a doctor of philosophy and all ha ha. Although I would be lying to say I felt any more enlightened whilst on the path 🙂
Conveniently the path ended at my main destination, Ginkaku-Ji, or the Silver Pavilion. Not really too sure why it is deemed the silver pavillion, as the pavilion itself was pretty stock standard. But the gardens and surrounds were gorgeous, with some amazing sculpting of sand in them.
That took me to a bit after lunch, so I decided to contrast my temples with some crazy city action… by heading to Osaka. A bus to the station and then half an hour on the train and I was there. Too easy huh?
Opinion on Osaka seems a bit split. Some people I know adore it, others are nonplussed. To me it just seemed like a big city really. The only thing I knew I wanted to do was wander to Dotombori, which they say is a bit of inspiration of the city in Blade Runner… neon, food stalls, etc. Quite a contrast from World Heritage listed Kyoto temples.
On my way, I caught sight of this store and my heart skipped a beat…
OH. MY. GOD. A Kit Kat store! I was really nervous going in… was this going to be my mecca? In a word… no. I was stooged. I could see no reason why it should be branded with Kit Kat at all. They didn’t even have any special flavours, not even any of the ones I had found nearby. What a jib.
Anyway, by the time I got there after wandering through some shops and things the sun was starting to set (gets dark early here this time of year, like 5pm or so) and everything lit up. Quite cool. And the area had a crazy vibe. For someone by themselves it is a bit difficult to work out really what to do, but if you were with some people it would be good fun I imagine.
One of the main things I wanted to see was the big neon Glico Man sign. Glico I hear you ask? They make Pocky! If you don’t know what pocky is then tell me and you shall receive.
Anyway, it was great to see it. Seriously, I was quite excited to see the big neon man. Getting a photo in front was difficult but some teenage boys, who were also trying to get photos, helped me out.
By this time I was about done wandering in Osaka. I could easily go back and wander some more there, but I had seen enough for the day. So a bit of a walk back to Osaka Station, another 40 minutes on the train, and here I am back in Kyoto. Tomorrow may be Ise (probably not) or maybe filling some final gaps in Kyoto. Maybe even a trip back to Nara? I will decide in the morning. Exciting!
Oh, my Kit Kat day wasn’t a complete bust. I found these in Osaka Station on my way out. Kobe Pudding. Mmmm… tasty! Another very sweet one, not far removed from the hotcake kit kat actually. And how crazy is this box! Man I love this place.