The Ancient City of Kyoto

Temples, temples, temples, and more temples!

That’s pretty much how to describe Kyoto, Japan. Known as the Ancient City, Kyoto was the former Imperial capital of Japan for over a thousand years, and you can’t walk for more than five minutes before running into another beautiful temple or shrine! For those not “in the know,” Buddhism is practiced in temples and Shinto (the other religion of Japan) is practiced in Shrines.

I think pictures will do more justice than me rambling, so here are some of my favorite spots!

To start, these photos below are just some random shots around the city. Imagine walking through places like these to work every day!

If you happen to like bamboo, the Bamboo Forest was made just for you! Simply magnificent. You walk through seemingly endless paths of ginormous bamboo stalks.

Oh, and did I mention temples, on temples, on temples?

Being a traditional city, it was really cool seeing the locals walk around in their kimonos – men, women, young, and old alike. I didn’t get the best photos since I felt creepy taking pictures of random people on the streets, but you can see them in the top left picture walking through the temple. They do look comfortable!

One temple in particular stands out above the rest. It’s called Kinkaku-ji, or “The Golden Temple”.

It’s a temple made of pure gold!! The pictures can’t even do it justice, especially the way it shines off the water. Now, that’s my kind of temple!

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
Albert Einstein

No matter how fascinating all these temples were, my favorite part of Kyoto actually had nothing to do with temples. It was hanging out with the monkeys! Up in the mountains, about an hour from the city by bus, lies the Iwatayama Monkey Park.

What’s great about leaving the western world, is that you can actually experience things like they were meant to be experienced! No strict rules or ridiculous safety precautions. We walked up the mountain and there they were! Monkeys everywhere! At least thirty! There was only one piece of advice: if we wanted to feed them, we should go into the feeding room, and feed them through the gates. Fair! Monkeys will do anything for their bananas! The baby moneys were adorable – way cuter than human babies!

Oh, and I must not forget. I woke up to a fun surprise one morning! It was very confusing, almost like the world was shaking. And what do you know, it was! A magnitude 6 earthquake hit the Osaka/Kyoto region at 8:00am! My first earthquake! Fun! The worst of the damage was in Osaka, which amazingly, I had just left the day before!

So… What do you think, human babies or monkey babies? Let me know in the comments below!

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