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Graeme Shiomi | profile | all galleries >> Japan 2007 - Travelogue >> Day 9 - Slapping Rocks and Kyoto Arcades tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Day 1 - YYZ to NRT (Toronto to Narita) | Day 2 - National Museum and Ameyoko | Day 3 - Tonkotsu is King | Day 4 - From the Emperor to Harajuku Girls | Day 5 - Department Stores and a Super Meal | Day 6 - Roppongi Hills and Charcoal Grills | Day 7 - Chanko Chanko Man! | Day 8 - Green Car to Kyoto | Day 9 - Slapping Rocks and Kyoto Arcades | Day 10 - Temples, Ramen and the Mega Teriyaki | Day 11 - Osaka | Day 12 - Old as good as New | Day 13 - Panic at Shibuya | Day 14 - The Namesake | Day 15 - The Big Buddha | Day 16 - Last Stop to Shop | Day 17 - Sayonara Japan | Tips from the Trip | Engrish and Other Fun Stuff | Drink Breakdown from Japan

Day 9 - Slapping Rocks and Kyoto Arcades

In the morning, we head down to The Grill to have their breakfast buffet -- want to compare against the Hilton's most excellent breakfast. Mandy doesn't like the eggs as much, but I am impressed by the fact they have soft-boiled eggs available to eat with toast sticks. The fruit is much better than the Hilton -- fresh pineapple, Kiwi, Grapefruit, Oranges and Musk Melon. The pastries are also much better. There is a big selection of cheeses, from which Mandy loads up on Brie.

We leave and walk North to Kiyomizu-dera, one of the larger temples in Kyoto. Upon arriving in what we think is the area, ask an elderly man who's sitting next to a sign for the area if we are walking towards Kiyomizu-dera. In perfect English, he tells us we're walking towards the graveyard, that Kiyomizu-dera is one street over. That would explain all the people dressed in black. Walking the right direction to Kiyomizu-dera, we find that we're walking uphill on narrow streets filled with many shops selling everything from charms to mochi to pickles. Mandy stops to have some Green Tea Ice Cream in a pastry cup.

We reach Kiyomizu-dera as it begins to rain. This place is huge! These temples are complexes, filled with paths and multiple buildings for worshiping. One such building has a set of stairs going down, that you pay to take down to the basement. You go downstairs into a strange area where you wander through absolute pitch black, guided only by a handrail (it is seriously pitch black, your eyes never adjust to see anything) until you reach a rock with a single light from the ceiling that you are supposed to touch (at least that is what the picture says). After slapping the rock a few times, we head back up and out to walk along the long trail that goes through Kiyomizu-dera.

The rain eventually stops, and I start taking numerous pictures. Mandy gets a charm for a "happy family" for our house, and we head out.

We walk Northwest towards downtown Kyoto, where one finds the few skyscrapers in Kyoto. We arrive at the covered Arcades near Hankyu and Takamishaya, wandering through, finding it very similar to the ones found in Tokyo near Ueno or near Senso-ji. It's getting near the time when the Tourist Information Centre closes, so we go to take the subway back to Kyoto Station.

Well, we try to. We initially buy the wrong tickets, and when trying to ask about our tickets to the agent, we find he speaks zero English. But he tries hard, figuring out what we were trying to do, leaving his kiosk and coming with us to the ticket machine. He shows us the right one to use, the right amount to put in and then gives us a little pamphlet explaining in English how to get to Kyoto Station via subway. Another great experience with Japanese Customer Service.

Once at Kyoto Station, we head up to the 9F to the Tourist Information Center, known for English speaking help and tourist maps. We grab a bus map, and a tourist map and head down to the Bus Ticket Center to get a day pass, as suggested by the TIC. Once there, we start asking about the pass, and the elderly man working behind the counter also speaks perfect English! He explains everything, and gives us another English map of Kyoto. Today is the day of people who speak perfect English!

Back upstairs to the 11F to try a different restaurant, this time one specializing in Okonomiyaki. This is best described as a somewhat thick Japanese pancake, filled with interesting ingredients and covered with things like Bonito shavings, mayo and "brown sauce". We get a Shrimp and Seafood Okonomiyaki, and a "Special" which is Beef, Pork, Bacon, Squid, Scallop, Shrimp with an egg on top. I enjoy it along with an Ume (sour plum) Chuhai, but Mandy is not as impressed, we won't be having Okonomiyaki again.

Back to the hotel, we grab some snacks at a Family Mart on the way. Mandy grabs some cold Soba (since she didn't really enjoy dinner) among the many meals available at the convenience store. In the hotel, we rest, watch some TV and Mandy eats her Soba, before we go to bed.
Hyatt Dining Room at Touzan
Hyatt Dining Room at Touzan
Hyatt Chapel
Hyatt Chapel
In the lobby of the Hyatt in front of the Grill
In the lobby of the Hyatt in front of the Grill
In the lobby of the Hyatt -- stairs to the Italian Restaurant Tratoria Sette
In the lobby of the Hyatt -- stairs to the Italian Restaurant Tratoria Sette
Shichijo Intersection
Shichijo Intersection
Temple Entrance
Temple Entrance
Kyoto Alleyway
Kyoto Alleyway
Kyoto Bridge
Kyoto Bridge
We looked down a side street, and saw a shop with this ice cream light in front.  Thought it was neat, so I took a photograph.
Ice Cream

We looked down a side street, and saw a shop with this ice cream light in front. Thought it was neat, so I took a photograph.

Road to Kiyomizudera
Road to Kiyomizudera
This is some kind of restaurant/bar.
Not a Temple

This is some kind of restaurant/bar.

Kyoto Stairwell
Kyoto Stairwell
Continuing on the Road to Kiyomizudera
Continuing on the Road to Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Famous Open Veranda at Kiyomizudera
Famous Open Veranda at Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
View of Kyoto from Kiyomizudera
View of Kyoto from Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
I believe this are statues meant to represent Jizo, guardian of children who died before their parents.  This is why you often see them wearing children's clothing or bibs, placed there by the parents hoping Jizo will help guide their children's soul.
Jizo Statued

I believe this are statues meant to represent Jizo, guardian of children who died before their parents. This is why you often see them wearing children's clothing or bibs, placed there by the parents hoping Jizo will help guide their children's soul.

Pathway
Pathway
You could buy a cup to drink from, or you can use a free one that is cleaned with an ultra violet cleaner.  No idea how it works, but it is supposed to kill all bacteria.
Water Fountain

You could buy a cup to drink from, or you can use a free one that is cleaned with an "ultra violet" cleaner. No idea how it works, but it is supposed to kill all bacteria.

Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Kiyomizudera
Pilgrims
Pilgrims
This place sold mini-donuts, which could be eaten alone or with ice cream or with ice cream and root beer or orange soda slush.  Weird.  If I wasn't weary about eating too much cream (slight lactose intolerance attack on this trip) I would have tried it.
Mini Donut + Ice Cream + Slush

This place sold mini-donuts, which could be eaten alone or with ice cream or with ice cream and root beer or orange soda slush. Weird. If I wasn't weary about eating too much cream (slight lactose intolerance attack on this trip) I would have tried it.

Pagoda Streetlight
Pagoda Streetlight
Since we were in the middle of election season, we saw these everywhere.  Vans with loudspeakers on the top for the politician to use to blare their message.
Election Van

Since we were in the middle of election season, we saw these everywhere. Vans with loudspeakers on the top for the politician to use to blare their message.

Kyoto River
Kyoto River
Kyoto Downtown Arcades
Kyoto Downtown Arcades
Little Crab
Little Crab
Big Crab
Big Crab