Because it was pouring down rain, our planned outdoor sightseeing was on hold. We got some ramen for lunch and checked into our hotel, which came with pajamas (this reminds me to mention that the gym at my apartment loans out workout clothes... not that I've taken them up on it). Then we did some shopping, had a Kyoto-style dinner (lots of vegetables), and turned in for the night.
The sun was shining this morning, so we were able to hop in a cab to Kiyomizu-dera, a temple that has a nice, official website here. The walk up to the temple was crowded with people and gift shops. We saw lots of young women and girls in kimonos, but weren't sure why.
|Hello Kitty in Kyoto|
Next, we walked about aimlessly for awhile (hadn't had time to plan during the work-week), found a few additional World Heritage Sites and saw three geishas walking down the street before catching another cab to Nijo castle. Inside Ninomaru palace, the rooms were overwhelmingly simple. The aesthetic is just so different--while there were murals on the wall, there was no other furniture or decoration. Such a contrast to Europe. (No pictures allowed inside.) We got a kick out of the nightingale floors that intentionally squeak in order to alert occupants to intruders, but the gardens were the highlight of this site for me.
I wish I had taken the time to do more research before we went to Kyoto, because I felt I wasn't fully appreciating much of what I saw.