After spending the last five weeks sharing the Delica with Risa, it felt strange last night sleeping in it by myself (she stayed at a friends house in Kyoto).
I rode the ‘cub in to Kyoto from the michi-no-eki that I have the Delica parked at in Kameoka. It was only 28km on the map, but with the traffic (and the traffic lights), it took me around an hour to get to where Risa was at Daitoku-ji. I arrived hot, sweaty and a little tired. We had a quick walk around the grounds, then headed to the area nearby to check out some cafes that Risa and her friend went to last night.
Kinkaku-ji sadly was burnt to the ground (by an obsessed monk) in the ‘50s, so it’s just a recreation (that is meant to be a replica, except the application of gold to the lower floor too). It was crowded. Very crowded. Taking photos was a struggle, as everyone (and their cellphone) were also trying to take photos. I wasn’t really in the mood (and the cloudy skies weren’t impressing me), so I didn’t have much motivation to take photos. It’s a beautiful sight, so I was content enough to just enjoy it (and try and ignore the flow of people).
From here we headed to Kiyomizu-dera (convenient having the scooter). It brought back memories of Takayama City, the old shops/streets full of tourists and souvenir shops. We pushed on through, up the street to the actual temple. Again, it was busy. Very busy. I couldn’t imagine what it would be like during actual busy times. The main temple is built on the side of a hill, with parts of it using gigantic stilts to connect it to the ground below.
Inside there was another small shrine area called Jingushi-jinja, devoted to love/lovers. Inside were all sorts of areas that seemed to have been created to cater for tourists (and felt entirely unauthentic). There was a lover’s challenge, requiring a person to walk from a rock across a courtyard to the matching rock, all without looking. Ordinarily it wouldn’t be that much of a challenge, but with so many tourists occupying the same area, it was a challenge. I had to help Risa navigate through the tourists to the other side (she did it).
Lower in the temple grounds there was a natural spring that you could drink from (if you had the patience to join the massive queue, which we didn’t). I was a little disappointed that there was such a queue because I was thirsty and I had an empty 2L water bottle.
Outside of the temple, we walked around through the streets for a while, eating our fair share of souvenir snacks samples (which we also ate on the way in…). It was a nice area, though I imagine it would be a whole lot nicer first thing in the morning without the tourists. I’d like to see that sight, but I’m not going to wake up that early just to see it.
We were waiting for it to get dark, so we spent a bit of time just riding aimlessly around Kyoto, beside the river through small alleys with small restaurants/brothels. Quite good fun, and sure beat doing the same thing on foot. We rode in excess of an hour before actually getting serious about where to go/what to do. There was a small alley, absolutely full of small bars/restaurants/cafes called Ponto-cho. Again, full of other tourists and expensive (but delicious looking) food. Not being all that hungry (and not wanting to spend too much money on a meal), we left the area.
Last night Risa had dinner is a small café called Sarasa (which was actually a renovated sento) near Daitoku-ji (and her friend’s apartment). There was another Sarasa café near Ponto-cho, so we went to investigate. Sadly, the décor wasn’t anything special (like the ex-sento one), but still interesting enough. I was tired, thirsty and not all that interested in food. It all looked nice, and I was too lazy to really decide so an Okinawa-style taco-rice sounded good to me. It had a really different spice to it, that I couldn’t work out (nor could Risa). Delicious, and eating it made me hungry. Risa got a delicious looking chicken steak, on a layer of potato fries, covered in a creamy tomato sauce. Super delicious.
Tonight’s full-moon is meant to be the biggest of the year, and many of the temples were doing things to celebrate it. Risa found one that had a musical performance (and some kaleidoscopic visual projection), but it was too far out of town. It was close to 9PM, and we still had a nearly hour long bike ride home, so we got on the ‘cub and made our way back to Kameoka. I didn’t mind the ride (though, at times the traffic is quite aggressive), but Risa didn’t enjoy it one bit. Don’t think we’ll be doing it again tomorrow…