Kyoto: An Adventure to the Past (京都:過去への大冒険)

April 6, 2012

in Academic Year 2011-2012, Asia, Japan, Zach Garcia

平成二十四年四月五日 4/5/2012

I meant to write this article a long time ago, but I’ve been occupied with tutoring, celebrations, watching important movies……Japanese dramas, and my parents came to visit this

Kinkaku-ji 金閣寺

past week. My trip around Kansai ()関西 ended in Kyoto (京都). It is a city that relives the past and whichever way you turn you will find something that screams Japanese history. I can’t possibly write about all the temples and shrines I saw in Kyoto (京都), therefore I will mention my favorites as well as other little stories that I remember.

The first temple worth mentioning is Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺). It’s famous because it is a temple of gold. I expected it to be a bigger temple, but it was quite small. It was absolutely beautiful as well. Snow started falling and it made an interesting backdrop for the pictures. I believe the only down side to Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) is that it is SO popular that it is a tourist traffic jam. I really wish I could have seen it by myself without the hundreds of others around me. Besides that if you go to Japan for a long period of time, you HAVE to at least see Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) once while you are there.

After having visited Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), it gave me my first big impression of what Kyoto (京都) was like. I love Japanese history and literature, so you would think I would have a field day in Kyoto (京都), however, I thought the amount of tourists and crowds took away from the beauty of it. I am not saying it was not worth going. I enjoyed Kyoto (京都), but I believe it is a bit overrated. I hope I can go back one day when it is less crowded with people, but days like that are probably very very rare.

Ginkaku-ji 銀閣寺

I guess the next important spot that should be mentioned is Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺). It is suppose to be the Silver Temple in contrast to Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), the Gold Temple. However, Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺) is not silver at all. I thought Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺) was a beautiful temple, but the surrounding gardens were not too spectacular, but Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺) was not as beautiful as Kinkaku-ji (金閣寺), yet the gardens at Ginkaku-ji (銀閣寺) were amazing. I recommend seeing both of these temples just to say that you’ve been there. Like I had said before, they are a must see when visiting Japan.

Little octopus treat! So yummy!Japan.

Kyoto (京都) cuisine is also some I took interest in when I was there. Kyoto (京都) is famous for it’s maccha tea (抹茶), pickles (漬け物), and other little treats one can find in markets such as Nishiki-ichiba (錦市場). I had a wonderful time with my friend and her aunt exploring all the vendors and trying all the exotic foods. I had no complaints with the food. It was all wonderful.

I believe the most memorable part of the trip was that I was so eager to see a geisha (芸者). My Japanese friends had told me not to be upset if I don’t see one, because it is rare for even Japanese people

Maccha Tea 抹茶

to see a geisha (芸者) in their lives. As my friend, her boyfriend, her aunt, and I were walking down the geisha district, Gion (祇園), two geishas came out quickly from one of the buildings and were walking quickly to find a taxi. I knew this was my only chance! So I ran over and asked the geisha (芸者) politely if I could please take a picture with her. She said make it fast. Hahahaha. I hope I didn’t make her late. It was so cool. Once I had returned to Tokyo (東京) a lot of my Japanese friends had commented on the photo saying they have never seen a geisha (芸者).

My journey through Kansai (関西) was over and I had a great time. It was the first time I had traveled alone for the most part. I didn’t get lost at all. I hope to return to Kansai (関西) one day.

Nishiki-ichiba錦市場 : Pickles! 漬け物!

 

The geisha and I! 芸者と僕!

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Lauren Worth April 9, 2012 at 10:08 am

Zach, I thought the gardens at Ginkaku-ji were some of the most beautiful I had ever seen! Glad to see someone else agrees!

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