Kyoto is known as repository of Japan culture. The city is the spiritual heart of Japan. Kyoto has surely gained popularity as a must visit destination because of its incredible attractions for tourists. The city alone offers 2000+ temples and shrines.
I got an opportunity to visit this place couple of months back in December. We had planned to stay in Kyoto first for couple of nights followed by Tokyo for our remaining stay (generally people do the opposite). Upon landing Narita airport, we straight headed towards Kyoto by boarding domestic flight.
Kyoto is much beautiful than i thought. It appears to be any other city which is full of temples and their is nothing much to do through internet. But the city has amazed me by its natural beauty.
We stayed here for 3 nights. We reached in the evening here on Day 1 and relaxed for rest of the evening
Day 2 started with Arashiyama tour. We went to our meeting point at Kyoto station and from their the tour begin. It was interesting to travel in world famous train system of the country. It was a long walk from the station to reach our first destination but was a pleasant due to weather. It was the first time i saw a snow fall. The snow fall was very much unexpected but was exciting.
Our first stop was the Bamboo Grooves. Walking in the bamboo was so amazing. It was beautiful to watch long trees surrounding you. I could have easily spent couple of hours watching beauty but our guide gave us only 15-20 mins. It was really beautiful.
Our next stop was Jojakko-Ji temple. The main attraction here is Tahoto Pagoda, which is the two storied pagoda. It is said that when Shaka Buddha was preaching, the ground cracked open & a stupa appeared from below. And the other attraction i is the view from the top.
Our next top was Temple of the heavenly dragon – Tenryu-ji-temple. It is one of the largest, most impressive and historically significant first Zen temple. The temple is also surrounded with beautiful Zen Lake and garden.
Our last stop was a very beautiful lake side Togetsu-Kyo bridge. It is the iconic landmark of Arashiyama. There is a very interesting but strong belief about the bridge. It is said that if an unmarried couple crosses this bridge together, they will be separated forever. Hence, no other unmarried couple dare to cross the bridge together.
Our rest of the evening was spent exploring roads of Kyoto followed by Dinner.
We woke up early on Day 3. Post breakfast we hurried to reach to our meeting point. Our first stop for the day was Ryonji Temple (instead of Nijo castle as it was closed on that day). The temple is famous because of its Rock Garden. The rectangular Zen garden is completely different from from other gardens. No trees are seen, it consists of only 15 rocks and white gravel.The walls are made of clay boiled oil. And as time went by, the peculiar design was made of itself by the oil which seeped out.
It felt so good sitting here. We then proceeded to our next stop Kinkakuji Temple, popularly known as Golden Pavilion. It is a Zen temple whose top two floors are covered with gold leaf. The pavilion is surrounded by garden and pond. The three levels build represents in three different style. The first level is build in shinden style, while second and third are built in buke style of warrior aristocracy and the chines zenshu-butsuden style respectively.
Our last and final stop of Kyoto tourism was Kitano Tenmango Shrine.
Post lunch we proceeded to Nara and later to Tokyo. Staying in Kyoto was certainly a very pleasant experience. A must visit place.