This is a detailed post of my 2 weeks long solo backpacking trip to Japan. Please see preview and itinerary/index of my complete trip on this post.
Day 3 – Kyoto
Search for Gold ends
Kinkakuji (金閣寺, Golden Pavilion) dating back to 1408, is another Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold. Temple itself is quite impressive and overlook a large pond. It is said temple has been burnt numerous times during civil wars but it has been reconstructed every time. Kinkakuji is one of the top attractions in Kyoto. Temple charges an entry fees of 400Y.
I reached Kinkakuji just in time. Temple closes entry at 5PM. I reached around 4:30PM. I wanted to visit the temple just around sunset. Sun sets directly behind the temple washing it in golden color just before it sets. I spent nearly half an hour at temple.
Vending Machines are omnipresent
From the moment I entered Japan through Osaka, I have been noticing excessive usage of vending machine. Almost everything can be bought from vending machine. Hot/cold coffee, cold drinks, water, hot ramen/noodles, cold beer, cigarette, Ice creams etc etc and list goes on. You can even charge your phone on per hourly basis using a token machine. Similarly internet cafes have CPUs which accepts 100Y coins and charge on time basis. Need SIM cards? no problem. Buy it from vending machines. What an awesome utilization of resources, cutting man handling costs and making items available 24×7 at no additional costs. There are many lesson on optimum utilization of resources and automation that I got to see in everyday life in Japan.
Random Strolling across Streets
It was my third day in Kyoto and I wanted to explore local market places. I boarded a bus heading to Gion. On my way I crossed the shopping centre of Kyoto, Shijo Dori. I got down seeing a entire road lined with cherry trees. Shijo Dori is very bustling street. Local and tourist alike were roaming around. I could find many watering holes across the streets covered with cherry trees. A small stream of water across the street made the environment dramatic and straight out of movie. I met a french couple who have been in Kyoto for ten days already. They were on a three month trip to Japan. After a couple of Asahi’s (Japan’s Local beer) and longish discussions over how Japan was expensive and looked developed in every aspect of life, we exchanged emails and bid goodbye. Even after a trip of three months couple did not plan to cover entire Japan. That’s amazing to know how different people have different way of traveling and perceiving things. They were surprised to know I carry my camera, lens and tripod every time with me. They used only iPhone to take all pictures.