kyoto 2013: day two

Here’s another installment of our Kyoto explorations! I’m going to try to keep the commentary short because I realize that I may have gotten too talkative on the last post, apologies! *whoops* On our second day in Kyoto, we were blessed with a sunny day, which was a relief from the previous all-day-rain-fest. On our itinerary for the day were Nishiki Market, Nijo Castle, Kinkaku-ji (The Gold Pavilion) and Ryoan-ji. Quite a packed schedule, but it was going to be our last full day, and we wanted to make the most of it.

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Looking down Nishiki Market (錦市場), a long alley filled with produce, seafood and food vendors

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All sorts of pickled vegetables

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A store that sold delicacies like pufferfish! (That mobile is adorable haha)

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At the end of Nishiki Market alley was a shrine where I caught this schoolgirl midturn as she looked for her friends.

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Fruits with faces at a small shop outside, so cute!

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Had lunch at this Chinese-style Dan Dan noodle place outside Nishiki Market

Most of the guests at this place were Japanese men on their lunch breaks. They all wore white shirts, unlike here where baby blues, baby pinks, yellows, light purples, and darker checkered shirts are commonplace. Ippudo and Ootoya were only a few doors ahead but we have those chains in New York so we decided to try this place instead!

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Ninomaru Palace at Nijo Castle (二条城)

Nijo Castle is most popularly known for its Nightingale Floors, so-called for their ability to elicit chirps from its wooden planks whenever a person puts his weight on them. The builders constructed the floors of the corridors in that way to render sneak attacks useless. Probably even the most light-footed ninja assassins could not walk across without making the “nightingales” chirp. It was a delight walking through Ninomaru Palace and seeing all the rooms where the shoguns received their guests and other lords. Paintings on the screens were also amazing but since photography was prohibited inside we could only retain the memories in our minds.

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Some schoolkids checking out the nightingale floor construction with their tour guide

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The beautiful Ninomaru Garden at Nijo Castle

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Details on the roof of Ninomaru Palace

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The moat surrounding Nijo Castle. My brother and I pondered if the moat was a Western or Eastern innovation.

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School kids on a field trip heading out of Nijo Castle.

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Kinkaku-ji, The Golden Pavilion (金閣寺) truly looked golden in the afternoon sun!

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More school kids lighting incense at a shrine on the grounds of Kinkaku-ji

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Visitors attempting to meditate on the meaning of the stone garden at Ryoan-ji

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The day ended with us heading out of Ryoan-ji unable to find a taxi to take back to the central part of Kyoto. We ended up taking the bus back to the main intersection of Gojo-Karasuma, a 40-minute long ride spent standing squeezed amongst locals and tourists alike. We didn’t even know at first whether we needed to pay as soon as we got on or on our way out. (It turned out to be the latter). Luckily it was just a flat rate of 220 yen per person and the driver was used to having tourists on board, so he patiently pointed out where we needed to put in the bill to get change and then where to plop the coins in to pay. We only hope the locals didn’t mind having to wait a teeny bit longer than usual for us to get off that bus!

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