Blog: Destination – Japan (Kyoto Part 1) by Leon Matigian
The crescendo of our magical Journey to Japan was maximised upon reaching Kyoto. Our six night stay in Kyoto was well rewarded with visiting temples, shrines, Imperial Palaces, beautiful gardens and parks.
We were totally stunned by the size and height of this space-age futuristic train station, which contains amongst other things, department stores, souvenir and boutique shops, cafes, restaurants, public spaces, glass atriums and the longest escalator we’ve ever been on that rises to the rooftop. It even has an open space with seating for concerts and other entertainment events. You can literally shop, eat and enjoy your day here, till you drop.
Just a 20 minute walk from the train station is this impressive five (representing earth, water, fire, wind and sky) story Toji Pagoda. It is one of the tallest in Japan. The surrounding park and the lake complement the spiritual site and enhances the area’s attractiveness for taking more than a few snaps.
We were inspired by the beauty of the Golden Pavilion, Kinkakuji. It was originally constructed as a retirement villa for the Shogun and the 3 story pavilion is covered in gold leaf. Although it was not a clear sunny day but I still managed to capture the reflection of the structure in the calm pond.
Not that we were at Arashiyama during the cherry blossom season but visiting the Tenryuji Temple and the gardens beside it and then walking through the Bamboo groves was just a wonderful experience. The path lead us inside the forest and it got darker as the tall bamboo stalks stopped the sunlight from shining through. It was a most enjoyable 30 minute walk, which finally brought us out at the river and the famous Togetsukyo Bridge.
We crossed the bridge and went to the Monkey Park, which is literally located at Arashiyama mountain. We hiked uphill for about 15 minutes whereupon we came to this open area with around 100 monkeys and some with new born were roaming around freely. We spent an hour enjoying the experience and the wonderful views of the surrounding area.
All images by Leon Matigian. All rights reserved.
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