Today a small group of us ventured out an hour away from Osaka to the old city of Kyoto. We successfully managed the metro and trains and arrived in Kyoto happy and excited to see some of the shrines and temples as well as the cityscape itself.
We met our tour guide at the Kyoto train station and in a few minutes we were in his minivan and off to tour.
We visited the Geisha district, the Bamboo Forest, Tenryu-ji Temple aka Temple of the Heavenly Dragon, the Golden Pavilion aka Rokuon-ji Temple, the Arashiyama neighborhood and finally, a Shinto shrine famous for its orange poles and hilly trails up the mountain behind it.
It was very cold out but most of the day it was sunny. A couple of times during the afternoon we got a few snow flurries. This morning it was 33 degrees but it did warm up to the mid 40's in the afternoon.
In the gardens near the bamboo forest we even saw the first hint of the coming cherry blossoms!
We had a nice lunch at a small cafe and enjoyed the local beer along with rice and meat curries.
There's a picture below that looks like a small cemetery with writings on headstones but it is really a haiku garden. Each stone contains a unique haiku poem! Cool!
We also got quite a surprise when we stopped to use the bathrooms at the train station! Talk about a squatty potty!
Tomorrow I go on a ship's tour to visit southern Kyoto, a sake brewery in Fushimi and then a visit to another city called Nara. And if I'm not too tired I might have a go on the giant ferries wheel sitting right next to us on the dock. We don't leave port until late in the evening tomorrow.