Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Day 5: Northern Kyoto + Around Kyoto Station

Welcome back to my random wandering. Today, I'm staying in town and touring the areas that I missed out on the last time I was here and focused primarily on the core.
Starting off, I make my way to the Toei Kyoto Studio Park: a back lot turned amusement park/museum to the Toei Studios that I'm told is still used from time to time to film but, being there on a Sunday, I can't confirm. The main building upon entry is largely an exhibit of samurai gear and animation on the first floor, and an exhibition of Tokusatsu/Toei Superhero (ie: Power Rangers/Kamen Rider)on the second. Once you leave the building, you enter the back lot proper and find yourself into a small medieval Japanese town with inns, merchants district, castle gate, and other set pieces. There are a few general fun house style (haunted house, ninja house, maze), attractions but no rides proper as you'd expect of a working set.
Spend about an hour there touring the buildings then move northwards towards the temples surrounding the hills passing though more than a few:
at the Myoshinji Templecomplex before making my way to the Ninnaji Temple complex:

where I tour the interior of the temple house.

From here, it's a short hop to Ryoanji Temple where I view the traditional zen rock garden:
and browse the interior. The garden itself is a national treasure as an example of the classical style.
About this time I'm hungry so I was going to stop into another of the by the plate sushi places but it's packed solid: about 20 people at the door. So, I move on and grab a buffet of Kyoto style dishes: primarily vegetarian dishes as Kyoto had a large Buddhist population to service but all good.
Lunch out of the way, I'm off to Kinkakuji: The Temple of the Golden Pavilion. This is one of the most beautiful temples in all of Kyoto. Built of cedar and then coated with Gold Leaf, it's a stunning sight to behold.

It's getting towards the end of the day for most of these sites, so I walk over and hop the subway down to Kyoto Station where I tour the Nishi-Honganji and Higashi-Honganji Temple sites. Both are undergoing extensive restoration work on site but they're massive in size and the headquarters for two separate sects of Buddhism who once shared the grounds before they had a disagreement of interpretation.

At this point, it's time for dinner so I grab a set Tuna diner at a local sushi shop and call it a day:

Tomorrow's forecast: Sunny, no chance of silver linings.

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