Today started off a little slower because we were up later than usual. I am still really tired all the time, but that’s no different than at home, I guess! We got some breakfast (baked goods) at the train station and hopped aboard the train to Saga-Arashiyama, which is the area of Kyoto that has a bamboo grove. It was very cool, though kind of short. It is about 200 meters (broken up into two sections). There were more people than I would have liked, but that’s to be expected, I suppose. I had no idea the bamboo grew to be so tall. It was like being in a “regular” forest. The stalks were very, very tall. In some parts, at the beginning, we could hear the wind rustling in the leaves up high, which was cool.
We then went to the Tenryu-ji Temple, which is situated in the bamboo grove and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It is a Buddhist temple and means “Temple of the Heavenly Dragon.” The Temple is renowned for its Zen garden. The garden is in the same form as it was in the 14th century when it was created. It was very beautiful and had many different types of plants, trees, flowers, and even moss! I could see it being very relaxing…if there were fewer (no?) people there and even fewer screaming children!
After the bamboo grove and temple we returned to Kyoto Station to catch a bus to the Golden Pavilion, also known as Kinkaku or the Tokuon-ji Temple. (I slept most of the way!) The Golden Pavilion is said to contain relics of Buddha and is only part of the larger temple. It is quite beautiful as it is situated out on a pond. We were there at the right time, as the sunlight was hitting the Pavilion at the right angle and it was very shiny and pretty!
This area was PACKED with people, so it was not as enjoyable as it could’ve been. I can be patient in these circumstances, but I do not have patience for rudeness. I was quickly transported back to Europe last year when I was trying to be polite, letting people get their shots, assuming that I would get the spot after and I didn’t want to compromise their photo. Then someone else comes elbowing me out and getting in the person’s way anyway. Like the pavilion was going somewhere and they had to get their shot RIGHT. NOW. So annoying and downright rude.
We then took the bus back to Kyoto Station and I was starving, as it was almost 5pm. We hadn’t decided what to do for dinner yet, so I stuffed Pringles and Starbust minis in my face as we rested a bit. I had suggested some type of Hibachi as a possibility, but couldn’t find one. So Loren found something else that seemed similar, in that it had a grill at each table and was nearby. It was no bueno. I found the English menu before we went in and they had nothing I would eat. Weird food, vegetables, tofu, or pork. Not gonna do it for me. Loren had found an English pub nearby and we saw it as we were looking for the grill place, so we went there. I had fish and chips!
I am getting increasingly frustrated with the food here. Everyone tells me all these things to eat: ramen, hot and cold noodles, sushi rolls, but we can’t find them. Any of them! We look at menus and it’s all crazy food. I’m very thankful that Loren doesn’t really like seafood and isn’t wed to the idea of eating crazy food here, but I also am trying to branch out. But it’s not easy. Looking up restaurants online isn’t very helpful, as it’s not in English. So this is not very easy for me. I knew this was going to be about as adventurous as I’ve been, culinarily speaking, but I knew I was going to try new foods. Now it’s basically a matter of finding them.
Hopefully tomorrow fares better!