Now that everyone is starting to get settled into their lives in Japan, Kansai Gaidai decided to schedule an optional trip to the nearby city of Kyoto. Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan for over a thousand years, but it was changed to its current location, Tokyo, when Tokyo began expanding due to trade from foreign nations, something Kyoto didn’t open itself up to quickly enough to remain the capital.
Regardless of their economic decisions regarding globalization, Kyoto is the longest standing capital in Japanese history. Because of this, many temples, shrines, and other relics exist from ages past. When the city is this old, all manner of things can be seen, from temples, to wilderness, to the Tori gates that are ubiquitous at Shinto shrines.
For the trip done by Kansai Gaidai, we went to some of the more famous temples in Kyoto. To start, we all met on campus, then divided up into groups of 6 to 8 people, with each group including Japanese students volunteering.
In Kyoto, the best thing was, without a doubt, the 1000 tori gates at one shrine. Known across Japan, this landmark streches quite a ways – a ways we didn’t travel, but we went through a good bit. Coming back and taking some photos of the scenery was one of the best parts, though, in my opinion.
In addition to seeing the shrines, we also went around and tried a local restaurant serving ramen. It was quite good! I ordered the kitsune ramen, ironic perhaps if you’ve read my last post and know that kitsune translates to fox or fox spirit, which may have been what I saw on the mountain.
After that, we kind of just wandered the city for a bit. The tour wasn’t strict at all, so we got to do whatever we wanted. Just kind of wandering, seeing the architecture of one of Japan’s oldest cities… even if there wasn’t one particular building we were looking at, this was one of my favorite parts.
I hope you enjoy the views too.