Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kyoto - a wonderful mix of old and new. Sept 20-25



Kyoto was the 2nd of 4 stops on our two-week trip to Japan/US. After a weekend of relaxing in Niijima, we headed to Kyoto partly because a friend of ours was doing a sabbatical at the University of Kyoto and also partly because this city, so wonderfully foreign, just seemed interesting.

In the reading we did prior to leaving for our trip, we had read much about the insanity of Tokyo. We could easily imagine the exoticism in Niijima but we couldn't quite form a clear expectation of Kyoto. And as a rule, blank canvases preconceptions make for interesting trips.

While we were aware of some history, we couldn't fully appreciate that Kyoto remains a tangle of graceful Shinto temples...



a place where old traditions somehow remain largely mysterious...



a city that has some depth....



and beauty...


and surprising youthful edge...


and finally, contains a living dichotomy that is harder than you might think to nail down, or categorically identify.



Kyoto was both everything that one might expect...


and amazingly, just a little more...



We made but two quick day trips outside of Kyoto, to places that still house castles that you might remember seeing in your childhood dreams. It was hard to reconcile not having two more weeks to do even more exploring.
(Himeji, an hour from Kyoto)




As happens frequently when we travel, we both identified with Kyoto as a place where we could actually live...


If only....



one could ever make the leap...



5 days was entirely too short....




Next stop - Tokyo.

310 comments:

1 – 200 of 310   Newer›   Newest»
thordora said...

I can't wait to have money to pack everyone up and just go. If I had my way, we'd be living on a beach somewhere, just living.

Luckily, according to some, I'm not the only on with decision making powers. :P

I can wait to see Japan.

slouchy said...

oh my god, the BEAUTY.

thank you for this glimpse.

Sarah Barah said...

Wow! Your pictures captured all these places so beautifully! (esp Kinkakuji) I lived an hour train ride north of Kyoto right after college and spent many weekemds there. Did you make it to Kyomizudera? Or Arashiyama?

wordnerd said...

yes Sarah we DID get to Kyomizudera and Arashiyama....I have pictures too! OMG how wonderful to have lived so close to Kyoto....WOW...am imminently jealous...I swear I could LIVE in Kyoto....very easily.

Natalie

Dustan and Betsy said...

Ahhhhh! I love these pictures!

I think "Kyoto" is the #1 overused name for a Japanese restaurant in America. What a shell of a representation, huh. Kyoto isn't about soggy sushi and splintered chopsticks at ALL.

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