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.
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'
It's all a bit Zen
We went to a demonstration of Japanese traditions at Gion Corner - This is part of the tea ceremony.
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
Post whisking - Frothy!
Chris' whisking attempt
Drinking the bitter tasting tea
All the items are returned to the original position once finished
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