October 14, 2015

Kyoto, Philosophers walk & the first zen gardens.

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Having arrived, by bullet train to Kyoto we checked into our hostel - which, I may add is the most beautiful hostel ever, you must stay here when you come to Kyoto. 

 Everyone has their own room, you are provided with breakfast and there is a roof terrace, a fully equipped kitchen and the staff are wonderfully helpful. If you end up in Kyoto, you will almost definitely want to spend a day in Nara, this hostel is perfect as it is situated right  behind Kyoto's huge station. 

We arrived to a very soggy Kyoto and after getting soaked whilst trying to find a shrine, we gave up as even our waterproofs could not cope and went to explore the huge railway station that was apparently a foodie hub, a great place to people watch and all in all a great place to kill a couple of hours when the rain is torrential outside. 

The following day we woke early and with the weather lovely we navigated our way up to Philosophers walk in the north of the city by bus - supposedly the easiest way to get up to the temples and cheap as chips compared to a taxi.

The Philosophers walk is a long walk along a canal surrounded by shrines, Ginkaku-ji and Nanzen-Ji to name a couple. and lined with cherry blossom in spring and beautiful burnt orange and red maple leaves in autumn. The walk is named after an influential Japanese philoshper, Professor Nishida Kitaro who is thought to have used the path for daily meditation.

We managed to catch the first leaves starting to turn without the crowds that descend on the city when autumn is in full swing. 

We ventured from shrine to shrine and were surpirsed that we pretty much had the path to ourselves. The beauty of these shrines and zen gardens is hard to explain but one thing I can tell you is that they have a calming silence and you do feel extremely at peace visiting these sacred sites. 

Once we had explored each temple, walked bare foot along tatami mats and marvelled at the hundreds of coy carpe in the surroundings ponds we took a long, and rather sticky bus ride back to the centre of Kyoto for some lunch time tempura.

 We then headed down to Nara for the night...but more of that tomorrow! 

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