August 03, 2006

Day 7 - Kyoto Japan

We had an action packed day in Kyoto. In the morning, we visited the Nijo castle, Golden Pavilion, and Kyoto Imperial Palace.

The Nijo Castle was completed in 1626 by the third Tokugawa Shogun Iemitsu. I finally got to experience “Nightingale” floors which squeak when walked upon to warn of intruders. The tiger door painting was only one of the many treasures.

We loved the Rokuon-ji Temple which contains the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku) which is covered in gold-leaf. This temple also contained gardens, the Snake Shrine, and a sculpture with many coin offerings.

The last stop in the morning was the Imperial Palace which was completed in 1855. Security was tight and I found this complex to be rather austere. The Japanese Emperor only uses this palace for special official occasions.

After lunch at the Handicrafts Center, we visited Sanjusangendo Hall, a Heian Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple - but took no pictures.

The highlight of the afternoon was Sanjusangen-do which contains 1001 (1000 standing, 1 seated) statues of the Buddhist deity “Kannon”( Juichimen-senjusengen Kanzeon).

The Heian Shrine and Kiyomizu Temple were very nice but by now we were on sensory overload.

At the end of the day, we were put on a direct Shinkansen to Tokyo. In Tokyo, we were greeted by a Sunrise Tour representative and sent to our Tokyo hotel by taxi. This two-day tour set us back by $1500 but we have to admit that we saw a lot, stayed in a great hotel, and were care of very well.

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