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
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.
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.
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
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.