232 - 14th September 2006 - Kyoto

Lantern on the way into the Kinkaku-ji pavilion

Nice tree lined avenues

The entrance gateway

Lots of nice architecture in this city


Simple but effective

Pile of buckets

This is the Golden Pavilion!

Originally built as a retirement residence! It later turned into a Zen temple

Now it's mostly a tourist attraction

This phoenix sits on the top

It's not the original. In the 50s a stroppy monk burnt it down. It was reconstructed in 5 years and then gold plated in 1987. Rather an expensive process!

It does look very nice though

Little hut on the side

This shrine was tucked behind an information booth

Stairway to nowhere - Sadly it was roped off

If you can throw a coin into the bowl in the middle then you will be granted a wish

Pond towards the end of the path

I think this was a shrine to a fire god.

Arriving at Nijo-Jo

Behind these gates is the extravagant former home of the shogun

Well protected by moats

The area is far more extravagant than the imperial palace. A show of where the power really lay in old Japan.

Lavish decorations

It was built as the home of Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu

It is regarded as the epitome of the Momoyama style

Wide sweeping lawns - Unusual in Japan

The Ninomaru Gardens - Designed by Kobori Enshu

No photos were allowed inside sadly - But the palace was very large

Fish in the moat

Chris at Nijo-jo

The outside of the palace

There were actually two building but one had shut early the day we were there

Looking into the interior from one of the outer walls

The moat from above

The gateway that leads us back out

Yet another garden. This is on the other side of the 'Castle'

Very tranquil

Mirror Pond

It's all a bit Zen

We went to a demonstration of Japanese traditions at Gion Corner - This is part of the tea ceremony.

Koto music

On the left, Flower Arranging. Middle, Koto Music. Right, Tea Ceremony. All happening at once.

Flower Arranging is a very desirable attribute for a lady to have apparently.

We were treated to a short comedy play

They usually take place in breaks in the very slow 'No' plays

Here the master has tied up his servants to stop them stealing his sake

As you might expect - They figure out a way to get very drunk

Two local maiko show of their art

It was very precise

Very deliberate movements

and quite symmetrical at times

All part of learning to become a geisha

Very elaborate cloting

It seemed to be a dance resembling the beautification process - Doing their hair


The movements were all very delicate

Quite slow and serence

It was very dark so the photos didn't really come out. But the puppet work here was incredible

We weren't too sure about the hooded puppeteers though

We got to take part in a tea ceremony after the show - The equipment. A bowl, tray, tea pot, tea cup, tea scoop, tea whisk and cloth

Chris at the tea ceremony

Chris' tea set

Preparing to make the tea. The position of all the different instruments is very important. 1 o'clock for the whisk, 11 o'clock for the tea pot etc.

You put the powder in the bowl

Here's what it looks like

Pre whisking

Post whisking - Frothy!

Chris' whisking attempt

Drinking the bitter tasting tea

All the items are returned to the original position once finished

The table

The streets of Gion - The geisha district of Kyoto


Inside our hotel - Very nice and posh, but the carpets could have done with a clean to be honest

The gardens