As our last trip with Tag, we decided to go to Kyoto. It was the capital of Japan from 794 to 1868, and because of it, there are so many temples and shrines that are historically very important and are the origin of Japanese culture.
This is Kyoto Tower right in front of Kyoto Station.
This was our first stop in Kyoto... Guess what's inside here!
These are the tickets we needed to purchase in order to go inside. From what are written on them, they seem to be charms. The small one is for kids and it is for doing good at school and for being protected from traffic accidents, and the big one is for adults and it is for having a good luck and for raising a good family.
So, our first stop was the Golden Pavilion Temple (Kinkakuji)! Yuki and Tag were very surprised at how golden it was! This was built as a retirement villa for this shogun (samurai/military leader), Ashikaga Yoshimitsu in 13th century.
There are so many shrines and temples to visit throughout Japan, but this Golden Pavilion Temple is so breath-taking and also very unique that we would definitely recommend visiting this place if you ever come to Japan!
They had a coin toss here, too.. and this time, Tag said he wanted to try, so he tried! It was very hard to get the coin into the box in front of the buddha statue!
There are so many buildings in Japanese cities and we rarely see any nature, but when we come out to those historical places, it makes us realize Japan indeed is a very beautiful country with beaituful nature and rich culture!
The rest area:
They had a little shrine inside this retirement villa:
Kyoto is also known for their green tea. There are many green tea flavored foods in Kyoto or in Japan for that matter. When we lived in Kyoto, some of the Church members told us that in their school, green tea comes out of water pipe instead of water! But because of the words of wisdom, we do not drink tea nor eat tea-flavored foods. Tea is a big part of Japanese culture that when we say we do not drink tea, many Japanese people ask what we drink instead. In Japan, Church members are allowed to drink wheat tea.
We found this golden ice cream! Yuki really wanted to try so we got it. It is actually a regular vanilla ice cream, but it has a thin layer of golden paper on top of it! Gold didn't really have any taste to it, we don't think, but it just felt weird eating gold!
We found teddy bears in monk outfits. ;P
After visiting Golden Pavilion Temple, we visited Fushimi Inari Shrine. It is very famous for their thousands of red torii gates, and it is actually Yuki's mom's favorite place in Kyoto!
They believe foxes were the messengers of gods, so they have statues of foxes all over this shrine.
As you can see from this map, this shrine has those torii gates through the mountain. We have never been to the top, but we hear it is quite a trip and the view is very beautiful when you do make it to the top.
People saying prayers. You can see those girls in kimono (traditional Japanese dress)!
Walking through torii gates...
They had a shrine specifically for doing better at schools and for passing entrance exams for schools (that's what it says on that white board).
They had many paper cranes that people folded as they made wishes that they'd do better at schools and/or pass the entrance exams for schools.
They had festival stalls outside the shrine.
So, those 2 places are the must-visit places in Kyoto recommended by Yuki's mom! We are glad we got to visit them with Tag to conclude our summer adventure... Usually, it gets dry but stays pretty hot here until mid October, but this year, it cooled down quite fast as soon as we entered September. Fall is here!