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New Website, New Blog, but the Old Blog Archive remains: September 28, 2023

After many years of wanting a real website, this month I finally have a website designed by the very knowledgeable Rey Rey Rodriguez ( TheMindOfReyRey ). My old blog,  Vacation-Travel-Adventure  continues with the same address but it is located in the "Archives" tab on my new website . The new blog which is a continuation but with much better resolution for 4K screens, it is now at .

Kyoto, Japan: May 17-20, 2016

Ah, Kyoto with its comfortable Western-style beds and beautiful sights. The first sight we visited was the Shinto Heian Shrine with its striking vermilion colored 24 meter/80 foot-high torii gate that is visible from the tops of the mountains/hills surrounding Kyoto.

There were either a lot of bad fortunes at this shrine or the shrine attendants had not yet removed yesterday's cursed fortunes from the racks.

Shrine visitors can also buy a small wooden plaque on which they can ask for blessings or make requests.

One of the Zen Gardens at Daitoku-ji
Kannon-den at Ginkakuji Temple, a Zen Temple, in Kyoto is dedicated to the Goddess of Mercy
Ginkakuji, a Zen Temple, was established in 1482, but the current structure was built in 1955. The garden was beautiful and even serene when we could separate ourselves from the crowds.

We climbed a mountain. It was a tough climb to the top of Daimonji with an increase in elevation of 466 meters/1528 feet on a hot day. I'm not sure what the distance was but it took us several hours.

A hazy view of Kyoto with Osaka beyond 

Climbing a mountain definitely deserves ice cream
We took a day trip to the Bamboo Forest in Arashiyama, rode the Romantic (too crowded for any romance) Train further up the Hozu-gawa River, and returned in a Dory boat.

Inside the "Romantic" Train 
While this photograph taken from the "Romantic" train shows placid water, there were quite a few rapids and rocks for the oarsmen to navigate
Three of our Dory boat oarsmen
After the rapids, a floating snack bar selling grilled fish/squid and beer boat side

The Bamboo Forest at Arashiyama 
Young Women in Kimono Costume
The Nembutsu-ji Temple at Adashino is an easy walk from Arashiyama. The temple was founded in the 8th century CE. In the 12th century it became a sacred center for Amida (Pure Land) Buddhism. About 100 years ago, approximately 8,000 stone sculptures of Buddha were discovered in the surrounding bamboo forest. These stone sculptures were made as gravestones mostly for wealthier individuals and spanned several centuries. The stones do not have any indication of for whom the stones were made. The stones were gathered together in lines around a stupa and larger statue of Buddha. Each August 23 and 24th, 1,000 candles are lit and offered to these many stones of Buddha to ask for the repose of the spirits of the ancestors. What an amazing sight that would be!

Back in Kyoto we visited some markets and malls.

Some Sake tasting
At a knife maker's shop, carving a name or blessing on the blade
Japanese people love their dogs
Gate to Nijo-jo Castle
Ninomaru Palace at Nijo-jo Castle
Nijo-jo was begun in 1569 by the warlord Oda Nobunaga and finished by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The interior is filled with gold leafed and painted shoji screens and my favorite part was the "nightingale" floor. As you walk along the corridors of the Palace, the floors creak but the sound is like the nightingale's song. The sound is beautiful, but the creaking floors are actually an ancient burglar alarm to warn of intruders. So much nicer than the ear-piercing alarms of today.

Tomorrow we train to Asuka for two days of walking. Our baggage will catch up with us in Dorogawa.