Friday, April 2, 2010

Kyoto - A Castle & 2 Temples

Had breakfast in the hotel. They set it up in a downstairs room at tables. Breakfast included many different styles of tofu, so the kids ate rice and some smoked salmon. Walked from the hotel to the Nijo castle, which was home to the Tokugawa Shogun in the 1600-1700s. Very cool b/c it has the "nightengale" floors that sqeak on purpose when you walk on them so ninja assassins could not sneak up and murder the castle dwellers. T & W got some samurai sword souvenirs.
Started to walk t
owards the Temple of the Golden Pavillion, but ended up in a cab b/c it was too far out. The gold floors of the temple (viewed from outside . .you can't go in) are dazzling. It shined so bright, it hurt our eyes! Gardens were pretty. Lots of places to give coins to buddhas.

Advice to adults traveling with kids - give kids lots of treats when you take them to historic sights. They had ice cream before the temple and then we stopped at some Euro style cafe afterwards, where Trevor & Yamini had waffles with whipped creme.

Next temple was Ryoangi, which is famous for its Zen rock garden. Matt was starting to balk at the admission prices for everything, and when we walked in and saw the rock garden, the kids were like, "We paid for this?" But actually, once we sat down on the benches and looked at the garden for a while, we all really liked it! Trevor and Amy were wondering if monks brag to each other about how many chants they can do in a certain amount of time or how many rocks they rake in a day. :)

We tried waiting for a bus that would take
us back to the Kyoto train station where we had to pick up some tickets and wanted to check out the stores. We ended up in a taxi after two buses came by that were not going in our direction. The train station is really cool because it has a shopping mall, a movie theater, a hotel, and an observation deck above it. We went up to the roof, walked through the Isetan department store, and the boys did a race down the roof

Got back to the hotel with some time to relax before dinner. Tonight's dinner was Shabu-Shabu beef, a sort of make your own veggie omlette thing, more sushi, pork, noodles, rice, fruit, tea, etc. There was definitely enough food for 10 of us! (But that's also b/c William eats enough for half a small child!) Tomorrow is our last day in Japan for activities and Sunday will basically be an all-day travel day, so check in one last time tomorrow and thanks for following our blog! P.S. this video is for 12 year olds and younger.

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