Today we visisted Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion. Here stands a beautiful zen temple where the top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. This place was the retirement villa of the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu. It overlooks a large pond and is a quick but beautiful stop. You’ll probably be in and out of the area in 30 minutes.
Next stop was the Imperial Palace. This place was not originally on our places to visit but my dad is a huge history nerd so we decided to make it a point to come visit. The palace sits on water with a surrounding moat and it is massive. As you walk through the entire parameter, you have to wonder how many people used to live and work at this palace and how they communicated from one end of the palace to the other! The landscapers were out trimming bushes and trees and they take such pride in their work. They handle each branch with their bare hands, no gloves, and carefully pluck off leaves to keep the trees prim and proper. We spend about an hour here just walking through leisurely.
Afterwards we made our way to Kitano Tenmangu Market. We were lucky to stumble upon this market because it only occurs once a month. We got to see a monkey perform tricks at the market, we ate delicious noodles soups from a street vendor, and just snacked the whole way through the market from beginning to end! My dad got to shuck oysters and just eat it off the shell, Vu enjoyed bacon wrapped rice balls, and my mom and I munched on grilled corn on the cob!
For dinner, we sat in our lonely, anti-social ramen stall at Ichiran! Each booth is designed for only one person to enjoy their ramen. You do not see or speak to the wait staff that brings your food to you on the other end. It was such a fun experience! We all kept peeking over each other’s stalls but it was a nice way to just take some time for yourself and really enjoy your ramen in peace!
Tomorrow, we’ll be taking the train from Kyoto to Osaka to head for Taiwan!