Monday, February 7, 2011

A Sunday in Kyoto

{Fushimi Inari, Kyoto}

My friend Charlie was in Osaka for the weekend (escaping rural Japan, what else...), and after a Saturday night filled with slices of pizza, shopping, wine and a sweets binge, we thought it would be fun to spend Sunday in Kyoto, to see different sights, and since it's so close to Osaka (a 25-minute train ride). It was Charlie's first time in Kyoto, and I got quite excited, seeing it from a fresh perspective.

I may or may not be the worst tour guide ever. I'm definitely fun to hang out with, but don't count on me for relating the significance or history of particular sights and attractions. I DO know several random bits of information and trivial pieces, but there is always a big part missing.

Our Sunday afternoon stroll among the exquisite temples and parks of Kyoto went as follow:

Vivian, getting all excited at the sight of a cherry tree in Maruyama Park:
"Oh, this tree is very famous!!! I'm not sure why.... might be the oldest... no, wait. It's the biggest!! Or maybe it's magical... I'm not sure... but it's famous!! Take a picture!! Other people are!"

{Turns out the tree in question is just a beautiful weeping cherry tree, and it's not magical... or perhaps it is.}

Hiking Fushimi-Inari mountain, through the neverending red tunnels, after being asked about the fox statues:
"Oh... the foxes are important for this particular shrine.... something to do with foxes running around... I don't know why exactly, but foxes are a big thing. Buy a fox souvenir!!!"

{Turns out the foxes were regarded as messengers}

We could not have picked a better day to visit this enchanting city, as it was a warm, sunny February day. We climbed Fushimi Inari shrine all the way to the top (those tunnels of red torii gates go on for kilometers, and it was the best workout to burn the calories from the previous night's candy binge.

We picked up portions of okonomiyaki at a food stall nearby, and sat in the sun for an afternoon delight of cabbage and batter goodness... and some cotton candy for dessert. I felt like a kid again, and it was such a wonderful thing (um, especially after spending all week nurturing kindergarteners). We walked around the little hidden alleys of Kyoto, soy matcha lattes in hand, soaking in the old city's charms and magic, before heading back to the Osaka madness.

I feel so lucky to be here.

Photos by Charlie Reeves. Thank you, thank you.

Camera: Canon canon Rebel xsi. Lens tamron 70-250 f/2.8.


Kristina said...

would love to visit kyoto, must be such a magical city!!

Fegebeh said...

I loved Kyoto!! I went to those red gates, but didnt have the time to go all the way.

Aqui said...

I love your writing! Kyoto sounds beautiful!

Michi said...

I love your posts about Japan! *sigh* Gorgeous pictures by the way!

Anonymous said...

Wow, Charlie's a fantastic photographer! I want to visit Kyoto, too! Complete with Vivian tour :-)

Kelly said...

Vivi! This post made me laugh out loud! I think you're the perfect tour guide! Probably because I'm the same way when it comes to showing people around hahaha.

Love those pictures; your friend Charlie is SO talented!

Rosemary Brennan said...

What a wonderful weekend for you and your pal Charlie. It sounds so beautiful there!!

Miyan said...

i absolutely loved your commentary, i seriously laughed out loud because that is exactly how i would be here in israel. like oh! jerusalem, i know it where jesus something....and oh! that mountain thats been mentioned in the bible for something....

you are too cute!


Samurai Shonan said...

{Turns out the foxes were regarded as messengers}

They could go back and forth between evil and helpful. it is part of Shinto

Anonymous said...

This was really funny and relatable. I always admire people who know all of these random facts about where they live.

Jeffowick said...

Ahhh, Kyoto is so beautiful! Have you ever considered getting a maiko/geisha makeover? I hear there are shops that will paint your face and rent you a kimono in Kyoto so you can experience it for a few hours. Perhaps I'll persuade my wife to do so someday.