Sunday, June 15, 2014

Japan Adventure - Day 4

For Day four of our Japan adventure we decided to head out to the Lonely Planet Guidebook's top rated temple: Shoren-in. While we could have taken a train or bus, we opted instead to walk. The amazing part is that while walking to this temple, we must have passed 4 or 5 other massive temples along the way. Some of these are easily multi-block structures. But no, we stayed focused. Well, mostly focused.

We ended up exploring Chion-in, the temple right before our final destination. This particular site turned out to be almost comically large. Every time we'd turn a corner we'd find yet another set of steps to climb, which would take us to a new set of buildings to explore. Along the way we came across the largest bell in Japan, as well as a number of other interesting sites.

We finally made it to Shoren-in, and found the grounds to be surprisingly small compared to many of the other temples we'd seen that day. Unlike other structures though, this one allowed us (for a few bucks) to go in and make ourselves comfortable. It turns out, Shoren-In is rated so high because it's the perfect place for quiet contemplation, not because of its massive size.

From Shoren-in, we made our way to the sprawling Heian-jingu shrine and toured its gardens.

While I didn't eat anything on a stick during day 4, we did have cold udon noodles with tofu and vegetables. I think I'll be sticking to eating my udon hot, but it was still interesting to try this delicacy. We broke down and visited a Persian / Indian restaurant for dinner. Oh, to eat naan, curry and falafel - it was delicious!

After putting in (according to my Galaxy S5's pedometer) about 29,000 steps for the day, I finally pleaded with Shira to let us take the train home rather than walk it. Of course the Kyoto metro system is easy to navigate and spotlessly clean.

We hit one final 'temple' before heading back to our hotel: Bic Camera. Bic Camera isn't just a camera store, it's 7 massive floors of retail space that sells any and all things electronics. This place makes Best Buy look like a bunch of amateurs. It's shopping overload on a level I can't even begin to describe.

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