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


Bell


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


Twrily


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


Theater


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


The gardens