Days 12 and 13:
We did not do a lot! We were resting! Our legs were utterly wrecked by the mountain climb. We ate out and had some drinks but we really took it slow, which was quite nice, actually. We needed to!
Day 14: Travelling to Kyoto
Up at stupid o'clock again! Tiring. We did leave about 10 minutes later than we intended, which meant that Him Indoors worried we'd miss our booked train - if you don't have a seat reservation, apparently, it can be hard to get a seat at all, and it was going to be a 2 hour journey by train. Well, at that hour, it turned out that it was pretty empty anyway! But we made it with 5 minutes to spare, so... yay!
We used the bullet train to get to Kyoto from Tokyo. One of my ex-neighbours said that we'd barely feel the speed. This was true; I was conked out asleep!
We found our way to the place we'd AirBnB'd for two nights... it was in the outskirts of Kyoto. Not particularly picturesque and not particularly overwhelmingly pleasant. It was a small one-room apartment, really. Just big enough for a slightly-smaller-than-standard double bed, t.v. in the same corner, wardrobe, kitchenette in the entrance and a teeny tiny shower room which unfortunately reeked of plumbing. It was not pleasant - also I don't think the drain on the floor worked properly which is a) where the smell was coming from and b) why there were loads of midges and mosquitos hanging out in the bathroom. I got bitten thoroughly again (sigh) but they're more or less sorted now. (3 days later I'm typing this.)
We went around Kyoto and visited the Imperial Palace - it was pretty cool. You could go inside of this one, which we did; just as the rain began. It rained and rained and rained! It flooded the grounds and everybody that was inside the castle found somewhere to sit it out. Eventually when it looked as though it had eased off a bit, we put plastic bags over our feet and went over to the entry gate. Then we made our way to the subway station which was fortunately near by. It's a real shame because we didn't get to make the most out of our entrance fee. :(
The castle itself was interesting and full of reproduced wall paintings (the real ones in a museum) and had some waxworks to show feudal lords paying fielty. The building was beautiful and I got great shots of the downpour.
We made our way over to the rest of town and by that time the rain had stopped. We walked along the river which was buzzing with wildlife - herons, ducks, dragonflies, water skaters. I had a great time and took the most beautiful photos, particularly as it was golden hour!
Unfortunately, when I returned home and uploaded my photos I found that my SD card had corrupted ;__; So those photos are not a thing. I couldn't recover them. I tried! Tried real hard. At least Amazon will give me a refund, so that's good...
Here are the only photos that survived The Disaster:
Our first impressions of Kyoto were that it was very much the forgotten ex-capital. It didn't have the same buzz and vibe as Tokyo and we were a bit unfair upon it, perhaps because we were tired. Once in the centre, it's actually rather lovely, and we feel we barely scratched the surface of its places to go and see. We needed another day or two, really.
Day 15: Bamboo Forest, Tenryu-Ji Zen Temple
The next day we had slept in by accident, and we went to see some temples. We made our way out to the Bamboo forest, as He had really wanted to see it. To get there, we had to take a cute little shuttle train from one hot destination to another! It was a real tourist trap out there - a little townlet which was built around people passing through to visit temples and shrines. We walked a little way into the forest, where we found a cute little shrine.
We carried on some way and found an enter-able temple, so we decided to visit that and its gardens, which were gorgeous. Really lovely.
We got to see some original wall art, too, which was nice. It can't have been very old though, as they were open to the (very) bright sunshine and we were allowed to photograph it.
Here are the photos from the forest and temple:
We lost the forest trail but decided we'd tarried there too long - there was other stuff to see. We visited a bridge that was sign posted and I got to photograph the same birds as the day before - though the heron looks to be an immature and the lighting is waaaay different. I had to touch a lot of these as I either forgot to lower the ISO or it was too bright even on the lowest setting I could manage. The views were lovely though.
Here are the photos of the bridge area and shuttle train townlet:
Then we got back onto the shuttle train and made our way towards the Philosopher's Walk, We found another huge temple (closed by that point) and the inspiration for the Ho-Oh tower in the second gen Pokemon games... and an aquaduct which was cool. We walked for hours - it was lovely on a summer's day, but we could imagine how beautiful it would be in the spring and autumn when the blossom out or the leaves were changing. Then, finally, after MUCH build up, the rain started. We had brought an umbrella, which had earned us a lot of looks, but this time WE were the ones feeling smug. HAH. We managed to make our way back to the subway relatively dry. Success.
Here are the pictures from the Philosopher's Walk: