August 14, 2012

Kyoto Tour ~ Day 3

(yesterday I was too exhausted to post, so now here comes the entry for august 13)

Today starts early because I booked the 'Kyoto Morning' of my travel agency. So I had to be in the Hotel Lobby at 8:35 am. I had to stand up alone because understandably my friends wanted to sleep a little longer^^'
I took breakfast at 'Mister Donut' and bought delicious cookies at the mart '7eleven', so I was prepared for my tour.

Unfortunately it rained and I didn't have a umbrella...
But first we went by bus to Nijo Castle. Luckily the rains stopped when we arrived there^^
Nijo Castle was really cool. We could go inside (though we had to take off the shoes to do so); the Castle is in its original condition because it never was destroyed, it gives you a really great freeling from the past. The floor was interesting: when you walk on it, it makes the sound of a nightigale – so people in the rooms (mainly samurai) could here someone was coming). We got interesting information and it was nice to look at the puppets in the rooms which should show the visitors some scenes from the past (unfortunately you aren't allowed to take pictures inside, so I can't show you).

Nijo Castle

After Nijo Castle we went to Kinkaku-ji (Golden Pavillon). It is really a wonderful building! If you visit Kyoto you should go there, I can totally recommend it^_^


Walking through the surrounding garden was also nice and on the way back to the bus I bought a mojo (300 円) and there were several shops which sold sweets and you were able to taste them, that was quite good X3 so I could try some Matcha Dangos and sugared dangos.
my mojo (to avoid bad luck)

By the way on the parking place I made a picture of our tour guide 'Mickey' (nickname for Michitaka). He was really great and it was nice to listen to him. He was kind of funny and made the tour entertaining.

Tour guide Mickey

The last station was the Imperial Palace. It was great to be able to get inside the gates this year. But it is really strongly overwatched. You have to fill out a special formular (each tourist) and a police officer count the number of group members. If the number doesn't fit with the angemeldet people you can't get in. So we have to stand up in lines (each with four persons) and then we could finally go in. But the police offiver followed us all the time and overheard what our tour guide was saying.
But the Palace area was great^^

Gate & Imperial Palace

Because I was the only one with the Kyoto Morning Tour the bus driver was so kind and didn't brought me back to the hotel (where the others would have had lunch) but let me get off at Shijo-dori (downtown). Because my next aim was the Kyoto Handicraft Center.

But first my walk led me through the Heian Shrine (a Shinto Shrine). It's a nice place, too.

Heian Shrine (front gate)

Behind the gardens I finally arrived at the Handicraft Center. I really wanted to go there because I like japanese Handicraft. It was a paradise for me: two building with a lot of japanese-made stuff on four floors each. You find clothes (f. e. Kimono, Yukata, also T-Shirts so on), bags, pottery, food (especially sweets), paper scolls and Calligraphs, swords, jewelry and I guess I forgot some stuff XD
The staff spoke very good english and you can also easily pay with credit card or you can exchange your money there.
I had to spend a lot of money there... want to take a look:

Yukata (knee length) & Kimono bag

Matcha Powder (for baking X3), Matcha Cake and Matcha Cream Sweets

Besides I also bought an umbrella and some postcards.

Heavily loaded with a lot of stuff I walked back to the Gion Quarter because at 6:00 pm I wanted to see the show in the Gion Corner. I perfectly arrived a few minutes earlier (I was pretty exhausted...) and good enjoy a great show of japanese traditional culture. The show consisted of seven parts: tea ceremony, Koto play, Ikebana (flower arrangement), Gagaku (music at court), Kyogen (classic comedy), Kyomai (Maiko Dancing in Kyoto style) and Bunraku (puppet play).

tea ceremony / Koto play / Ikebana

Gagak / Kyogen / Kyomai / Bunraku

Happily I went back to the hotel. I abladen my shopping results, refreshed myself and went to the food court, I was so hungry because I didn't manage to eat something in the meantime^^'
In the food court I saw some familiar faces: I met my friends Kiki and Lau there (what a surprise *haha*). So we could just eat dinner together and talk about our day^^
(today's decision was the same restaurant as yesterday so I ate some other chicken dish with onions and rice)

The day was nearly perfect and I'm so glad that I got to see so many traditional things and experienced japanese culture this way. I also plan to make videos with it, I hope I manage to do so.

The next day will be some kind of free day. We have no special plans so I let surprise me^^

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