Achieving Zen 

Where: Kyoto, Japan

When: 11-15/07/2016

Kyoto straight up may be one of the most beautiful cities I’ve ever seen.

It’s hard to believe that there could be so many shrines, temples, and zen gardens in such a small areas well as spring with new leafs and cooler weather. Maybe next time I can hit a hot spring or two as well!  spring with new leafs and cooler weather. Maybe next time I can hit a hot spring or two as well!  It could so easily give the city an old and worn out feel, but instead felt fresh and bright and lively, and made walking around a pure joy! It acts as a perfect compliment to aggressively futuristic Tokyo.

Getting here on the Shikansen (bullet train) was quite fun – it really moves unbelievably fast. We were quite tired and sore from Fuji so we relaxed the first day, cleaned ourselves up and got some sleep to be better prepared for the rest of our time.

Obviously the bulk of our time was spent at shrines and temples. I had multiple friends tell me how beautiful they would be, and they absolutely lived up to the hype, each one being unique and interesting in their own rights. I particularly liked Zen gardens – the ones with rocks displayed in patterns. I could definitely see its value as an art form, and I bet there were a lot of subtleties I missed.

Kyoto also had two other activities I thoroughly enjoyed – walking through the bamboo forests, which are everywhere, and feeding/lounging with Macaque monkeys at a specific monkey park. The macaques were particularly feisty and it was great to watch them interact with each other, seeing which ones were bullies or lazy or what have you. One trait they all shared – greedy for our food!

I would definitely have liked another few days in Kyoto, I feel as if I barely scratched the surface. But I think I would rather come back here in some other seasons. Winter could be especially beautiful with fresh snow, as well as spring with new leafs and cooler weather. Maybe next time I can hit a hot spring or two as well!

 

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