Kevin and I in the Bamboo Grove
Kevin at the Tenryu-ji Buddhist Temple
The Tenryu-ji Buddhist Temple garden
Wearing yukata in our ryokan
Thursday morning we woke up way before breakfast because we were still jet-lagged. Our ryokan served either breakfast or dinner per day you stayed there. We were signed up for breakfast which was really a dinner in the morning. The Japanese don't really do breakfast. This was actually perfect for us because it's hard to get a good breakfast there and since we were kind of on US time- we were actually eating it at what felt like dinnertime to us.
Most of these were yummy
We needed fuel because next up- we were hiking up the Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine! This shinto shrine is awesome. You start at the base of the Inari mountain with the two-storied gate followed by the main shrine. As you follow the trail up the mountain you go through Torii gates and visit the other smaller shrines until you reach the top of the mountain which is 233 meters (764 feet) above sea level. We were told it would take us about 2 hours to walk up and took almost exactly that amount of time (counting the time it took me to snap hundreds of photos).
At the Kiyomizu-dera Temple site
This is the main temple- it's known for the way it hangs over the edge
Zen garden! I just want to run out there with a rake!
Ryōzen Kannon and War Memorial building
From there we headed back through Maruyama Park, which was gorgeous. The park has a weeping cherry tree, musical entertainment, and what appeared to be a heron trained to pose for pictures.
Park and Weeping Cherry Tree
To get to Gion, we passed through the Yasaka Shrine. Seriously, you can't get from point A to Point B in Kyoto without accidentally walking through a beautiful shrine or temple. In Gion we walked around some more, did some shopping, and finally headed to the train station for our hotel reservation in Osaka that evening.
Streets in Gion
It was crazier than it looks even
Buying octopus balls in Dotonbori
Kevin had a drink at Bar Core, a TINY but fancy whisky bar.
On Friday, after having some conveyor belt sushi for lunch, we went to the main site in Osaka, the Osaka Castle and its park. The castle is surrounded by two moats which have been partially but not completely rebuilt after numerous historical misfortunes.
Me and Kevin in front of Osaka Castle
We went to a baseball game in evening. This was high on Kevin's to do list, but when we were planning our trip I initially rolled my eyes. We bought tickets to a game at the end of the week though and it ended up being perfect because by the end of the week my feet were just giant agony blisters. Sitting and drinking beer was the best plan ever.
Me and Kevin in Koshien Stadium
Kevin and I in front of the main hall.
Gardens at Rengeo-in
The 1000 life-size thousand-armed Kannon statues, and some of the guardian statues
The huge thousand-armed Kannon
Sadly, now it was time to go home! We went from Kyoto to Tokyo and from there to Narita. Our flight left Tokyo at 5:30 PM local time (really 4:30 AM in the US) and arrived in Toronto at 4:20 PM on the same day. Earlier than we left! Haha! After a short layover in Toronto, we arrived in New York on Saturday, 7:45 PM. It was a total of 12.5 hours from Tokyo to NYC, a little shorter than our trip there.* This post was originally 10 posts!