Since we got in to Kyoto so late on our first day, we really didn't get to see much. Pretty much got settled into our wonderful hotel (thanks to Aya for finding us and getting a great deal), Righa Royal Hotel and had some dinner. The next morning we all got up bright and early and enjoyed a big hotel breakfast. Good thing, we needed energy for the day.
Our first stop was to the Temple of the Golden Pavilion (Kinkakuji). Originally built in 1393 by a Shogun, burnt down several times, and most recently built in 1955 true to the original. This was my favorite stop of the day. It was truly magnificent.
This was the only time we were mobbed, and by high school girls none the less. Two girls in particular started talking to Chloe, then Etta. Then they asked for pictures. Other girls saw this and wanted pictures too. Before we know it, we are mobbed for about 10 minutes by girls asking for our pictures. Hey, the girls got a little toy from one of the girls so I suppose it was all worth it. Funny to think about how many random people have pictures of us on their cameras or computers. My parents took pictures of the girls surrounding us. Luckily this was the only time on our trip this happened.
Our second stop of the day was a world famous zen garden (Ryoanji). First you walk through a beautifully landscaped pond before coming to the zen garden.
At first I saw this and was unimpressed. I sat, and looked, and thought that it was too small to be as famous as it is. However, after looking at other gardens throughout the day I realized how perfect this one was. Obviously there is significance to the number and placement of the rocks and the raking, but later I realized just how perfect it was compared to others. No rock out of place and no growth other than what it supposed to be there. A perfect example of "size doesn't always matter".
Toji ,built in in 796 and was meant to guard the city. I hate to admit it, but my mind was so focused on keeping the girls from melting down that I didn't get much of the history of the grounds. There were so many things to see and it was approaching Chloe's nap time and no one had had lunch yet. So, needless to say we had a lot of whining between Etta and Chloe. Luckily my parents took a lot of cool pictures we didn't bother to take.
This plus another were on both sides of the entrance to the Temple. How inviting!
You can also see the largest wooden pagoda in Japan, the five storied pagoda. The frame represents the main deity. I don't claim to understand it, but it's neat to look at.