Kyoto is a city built on history. It feels as though time permitted the city to morph into this specimen that organically grew like moss in the forest. Everything gradually combined to create this web of modern civilization with scattered bits of ancient history.
We hardly got to experience even a percentage of what Kyoto had to offer, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t get to experience the city as it should. Day 19 was filled with some past curiosity getting resolved along with some welcomed surprises. We started the day off a little slow, but we jump started the afternoon with a quick trip to Kinkakujin (Golden Pavillion). For so many years this temple has been the icon that linked my mind with Kyoto, and to see it with my own eyes rewarding. It definitely beats the wallpaper that I had on my desktop for many of my teenage years.
Once we got onto the grounds I couldn’t help but feel that we were just screaming tourist! With multiple cameras in hand and a “Ooo ah” expression plastered on our faces, I felt for the first time being in Japan that I was a true blooded tourist. Regardless of how I felt about walking around, the truth of the matter was that we were tourists and it was our first expedition to a significant tourist attraction. It’s just funny looking back on it now.
Kinkakujin was beautiful, a little smaller in real life than in the pictures I used to stare at but still very beautiful. The attention to detail that the temple administration team puts forth is equally amazing. The grounds are kept spotless, not a piece of garbage in sight let alone, tree leaves that have fallen or cigarette butts(which are EVERYWHERE in Japan).
After walking through the Kinkakujin park we made our way to Nijojo – or Nijo Castle. The castle was originally built in 1601 – 1626 and was the resident for the Tokugawa shoguns. These shoguns and their descendents were the most powerful entity for a couple hundred years and would essentially be the governing/political power even with the presence of the emperor.
The castle grounds are spectacular, and the gardens are phenomenal. Again Japan’s attention to detail is what makes these historical sites all worth it. Sometime I wonder why I’m so excited by these old buildings, and I think it stems from the immaturity of my own country and just how young Canada’s history is. Witnessing something so old whether it be a building or artifact causes my mind to drift off into a realm where I see the world/time in which these objects were created.
This day was something of a visual experience. It was like playing a game of how much detail could you pick out and retain. There was no way to document all the attention to detail that was put into the art work, architecture of the buildings or the garden and grounds themselves.
Day 19 was in the simplest forms an adventure for the eyes and mind.