Monday, August 10, 2009

Day 45: Kyoto

Saturday, August 8, 2009
  Kyoto.  Imperial capital of Japan for over 1,000 years.  A World Heritage Site endowed with sculpted gardens, awe-inspiring temples, shrines, palaces, theaters.  A city of mysterious, ancient traditions.  The menu for a visitor overflows with options:
 - explore the famous Kiyomizu Dera temple complex with its beautiful wooden terrace and commanding views
 - stand in awe before Sanjusangendo's impressive collection of 1,001 golden Buddhist statues, each one different from the others
 - Ogle Heian Jingu shrine's bright orange hallways, massive structures and and sprawling courtyard
 - Take a contemplative stroll along the peaceful, wooded Philosopher's Path
 - Seek inner peace at Ginkakuji, Temple of the Silver Pavilion, with its sublime hiking trails and stunning sand sculptures
  The list goes on and on.  So much to choose from...
  And we spent the morning bowling.  
  I was impressed by Sho's ability to convince me to prioritize a visit to a game center over Kyoto's more inspiring spots.  But I just couldn't say no to his puppy dog eyes, as he asked so fervently for "just a little fun on a rest day."  I decided that he deserved to get his way this time after a month and a half of intense riding.  Plus, it was good to see that his bowling skills were improving.
  After the game room and lunch, we hopped on our bikes, ridiculously light without our luggage, and explored Kyoto the best way: by bicycle.  We hit all of the places mentioned above, enjoying the impressive sights, despite the oppressive heat.  On the way to Kiyomizu Dera, we stopped to ask directions.  The helpful stranger pointed the way, adding, "It's a steep climb to the temple.  Might be a bit much to try on a bicycle."
  Sho and I smiled at one another.  "If we can bike over the Japan Alps, I'm sure we can manage this hill," Sho commented to me as we pushed off.  As we biked up the steep climb along a shopping street full of visitors pouring out of the temple, we finally had to walk our bikes, because of the crowds.  Sho ate a cucumber on a stick to cool off as we navigated our way through the throng.
  After a satisfying afternoon of culture and history, we ate okonomiyaki for dinner, Sho's first time to try the Japanese seafood pancake.  Returning to our hotel, I read to him and sang a few songs before he drifted off to sleep, visions of bowling pins dancing in his head. 

1 comment:

  1. I'm so glad to see that you took in a lot of culture, including the ancient Japanese game of....bowling : )