The first treat of the train trip was seeing Mt. Fuji from much closer than our hotel in Tokyo. I got a few good shots and my husband got even better shots. We had reserved seats in a mostly empty car and the two hour forty minute trip went by quickly.
|Mt. Fuji taken from shinkansen|
Kyoto station is an amazing architectural feat. We admired it briefly before we headed to our hotel at the station, the Hotel Granvia Kyoto. Since we were at the station, we were able to come back frequently to watch the travelers, the Christmas shoppers near the Isetan department store, and the escalators to the sky--about 12 stories worth. We also discovered the underground Porta mall with our favorite breakfast spot, Starbucks where I ate a small mixed sandwich (egg, potato salad, cheese) every morning with my nonfat latte.
|Kyoto station evening|
In my previous blog, I described our first activity after we checked into the hotel--heading off to Okutan for a terrific tofu lunch. What I did not tell in that entry was how crabby I was in the taxi on the way to Okutan. In my mind's eye, Kyoto was a quaint little city with plenty of old buildings and authentic historic sites (like geiko and maiko--after all we all read Memoirs of a Geisha). In reality, Kyoto is a big city (population is about 1.5 million in about 320 sq. miles) with plenty of uninteresting boxy large buildings from the 1960s and 70s, with pockets of beauty and history. I looked out of the taxi at a place that seemed to sprawl forever and wondered why I had wanted to spend four days there.
Okutan is across from Nanzin-ji, the head temple of the Rinzai sect of Zen Buddhism, so we strolled over there after we had finished eating. Most of the buildings on the grounds were closing but I was able to hear some beautiful Zen buddhist chanting as we wandered the grounds. I walked up to and through the Sanmon, away from the Hatto and headed toward a garden that was still open near the Sanmon- the Tenjuan Gardens.
|Side hall at Nanzin-ji - chanting inside|
|Sanmon from within the grounds|
|Sub Temple of Nanzen-ji from Tenjuan Garden|
|zen rock garden in Tenjuan garden|
|entry to Tenjuan garden|
|well in Tenjuan garden|
|waterfall in Tenjuan garden pond|
|autumn colors Tenjuan garden|
|Bamboo in Tenjuan garden|
|temple seen through Tenjuan garden foliage|
|Stone walk on pond Tenjuan Garden|
|stone lantern in pond in Tenjuan garden|
|Koi in Tenjuan garden|
|Another view of Tenjuan garden pond|
|Moss Tenjuan garden|
|Room in Tenjuan garden with view of autumn colors|