23 May 2014

Kyoto - Things to do

The Golden Pavillion (Kinkakuji Temple, officially Rokuon-ji)

This was one of those things that I soon realised I needed to see. A temple coated in gold? Wow!

My first impression wasn't 'wow' though... It was "Boy, I can see what they mean about the crowds". My second impression was "WOW". My third impression was, where's the rest?...

Maybe I was spoilt with my first sight in Kyoto but after the Golden Pavilion there isn't all that much in the Kinkaku-ji temple complex and once you walked past it there isn't really much going back as the crowds surge forward. It would have been a lovely thing to just sit and admire, but with no benches and lots of people this was no place for meditation. All the same I'm glad I went and if you ever find yourself in this part of the world then do go.

Cost: 500 yen

Station: Bus stop

Top Tip: Avoid the crowds and go early. Get rid of your 1 yen coins by aiming them at the bowl (you'll see when you get there).

Honen-In Temple

This little temple was recommended by Lonely Planet and it's completely free to enter. It's nowhere near as grand or perfected as the larger temples, but it feels like dropping in on the locals' (rather beautiful) temple.

Cost: Free

Station: 15 mins walk from the Bamboo Forest (see above) about 20 mins walk from central Arishyama.

The Silver Pavillion (Ginkakuji Temple, officially Jishō-ji)

Dreams never achieved is nothing new, and this temple joins the pack. It was intended to be covered in silver and although it never quite made it, it still got the title.

With a Japanese zen garden and a mighty view it was a good way to spend an hour or two

On a side note... Can you see the floating 1 yen coins? They feel like fake money because they're so light.

Station: Ginkakuji-Michi or Ginkakuji-Mae

Cost: 500 yen

Happy Terrace @ Kyoto Station

Another Lonely Planet recommendation that was time well spent. Convenient on your way in or out of the city.

The happy terrace, on the top floor of the station, gives you some pretty views of Kyoto and somewhere to rest your laurels before/after a trip. It would also make a lovely picnic stop, or go back down to the 10th floor for some Ramen.

Cost: Free

Cafe Green

I'm including this place simply because it's somewhere that does good food western style, for when you just want a bit of home.

I had a lovely fish pie with a kiwi mojito.

A quite cafe overlooking a busy street - perfect for people watching. The variety of cocktails on offer is impressive, including some more imaginative ones than the normal variations of sex on th beach, starting at around 650 yen.

Station: Get off a Gion bus stop. It's location off the main drag in Gion bus station or Shijo if you're getting trains.

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