Japan trip September 2017

7th Day In Kyoto, Japan

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017
Woke up this morning and had breakfast. I meet up with Dana and told her my planes for Sanjsangendo Temple. Dana started telling me how she helped a guy get to that temple by walking there but she never went into the temple. So I asked her if she wanted to go with me and this time go inside the temple and she said ok. Then she wanted to go to another place later on in the afternoon. I figured it shouldn’t take to long. It wasn’t that far of a walk. About 30 minutes and just look around the temple and then come and eat later and go where she wanted to go. That was the original plane but things happen. And this is one of those times.
On Our Way To Sanjsangendo Temple
We had a nice walk to the temple. We had to go over a bridge that went over a river. It was such a beautiful view from the bridge. I was able to see all the beautiful architecture of the houses and see the beautiful mountains in the background. I love walking around Kyoto. It’s such a beautiful place that has so much history and still has a traditional feel to the city.

As we continued walking, my friend Dana started taking some shortcuts. She said the guy that she helped out went down some alleyways. I told her it was creepy because that’s how people get kidnap. But luckily she didn’t and now she is taking me down the same alleyways as the guy she helped out had taken. Down one of these alleyways, I saw a wooden shrine symbol on the cement wall. I have no idea what it means. Maybe it is letting us know that there is a shrine nearby. I thought it was really interesting to see so I took a few pictures of it.

As you can see it’s interesting in its design and how it was placed on the cement wall. I’m glad we took a shortcut.
As we are still walking, we pass by a school. Dana found the school amazing and was wounding what the students were doing because everyone was wearing green, red, yellow, or blue t-shirts. They were playing tug-a-war outside and there was tents seat up all around the field. I told her it looks like sports day because my Taiwanese students have the same seat up at their school on sports day. In Thailand, I was working at a government school and we did the same thing. Everyone has color teams and same for the teachers. I was on the green team and we just help out our students and cheer them on. It’s a lot of fun. We were also cheering on the students from outside the gate. Some students saw us and waved to us. It was cute and fun to watch. After a little bit of watching the student’s play their sports competition, we had to keep moving.

After walking for about an hour, we finally arrived at the Sanjusangendo Temple. There weren’t many people there so that was a nice break from the normal overcrowded people at most sites that we’ve been to. This temple that we went to holds 1001 statues inside, but you can’t take any pictures. So I just took pictures on the outside of the building for a little bit. Then we paid the fee to get into the temple. You can see signs everywhere about how you can’t take any pictures. There is even a sign saying if you take pictures you will be forced to delete them. It was an amazing sight to see. How all the statues are lined up in rows and they have different god statues standing in the front. The old, worn, down color on each statue and just the design of each statue was an amazing sight to see. I’m so happy we went there and got to see this. I highly recommend this place if you want a break from all the crowded touristy places.

Exploring The Area
After we were done looking around the temple, we decided to explore the area for a little bit. We found a busy road and we started walking down it. I saw an interesting wall building that I thought was a temple. I wanted to take a look inside but we couldn’t find the entrance. We walked down one street and found some small restraints that had Halloween decorations up and after looking at the menu, we suddenly got hungry.

Lunch Story

We walk into the store and take our seats. The waiter comes to us and explained how things work at their restraints. I was wounding why he would have to explain anything to us. I thought he would just hand us a menu, we would place our order with him, and wait to be served our food. Well, things work a little differently at this restraint. He told us we need to use the tablet that is seating at the table. The tablet had a cord on the back of it so it’s not like you can walk off with the tablet. He said there is an English button we need to press first. We did that and everything turned to English. He showed us how to browse through the menu and how to place our order. Then we will just have to wait for our food. Pretty much this tablet takes out the middle guy. The waiter only has to serve your food and that’s it. You don’t have to interact with them much. If you need anything, there is a button you can press and the waiter will come and help you with your needs. Once we figured out what we wanted we placed our order. The food came pretty quickly and it was delicious as always. I’m never disappointed with Japanese food. After we were done eating we went up to pay. Dana had to go to the restroom and I went up to the front desk to pay the guy. At the front desk, they had a bowl of Halloween candy. I was looking at it but wasn’t going to ask about it. The guy at the front desk read my mind and told me I could take some. I was only going to take one but he told me I could take more. I was too shy to take more so he hands me a handful of candy. I said thank you and waited outside for Dana.

Back to walking around.
Now back to our walk and figuring out how to get into this temple. We went back to the main street and just followed the outside wall. I figured if we keep following the wall we should find the entrance eventually. After walking for a bet, we finally found the entrance. We also saw a sign that said this is a women university. But it didn’t look like a university to me. It looked like a big temple ground and when we looked inside it had two big buildings that look like it could have been the dorms. We didn’t explore too much because we didn’t want to get in trouble for being there. After we left we kept walking straight for a little bit. We found another busy road and just kept walking till we found a highway. There was a temple called Otanihombyo and next to the building was a map of the area. We checked out the area and found a subway that was about 10-15 minute walk from where we were at. We decided to check out the temple first before we headed to the subway. Otanihombyo is an interesting temple. In the entrance, you will see a nice bridge going over a small pond area. It was really beautiful to look at and took some photos. After crossing the bridge we entered the temple. There are a few buddies people that will be walking around or doing their prayers. There is a section where you cross under a walkway between the two buildings and there will be a sign that will say, “please pass quietly”. You will need to be quiet because of the buddies people are chanting. Once you cross under the small hallway, we saw a wide space area and a tent that is set up in the center with chairs that are available for the public to seat on. We saw a few people there paying their respects to the temple and giving gifts or money. We took this time to just relax and enjoy the view.

Second-Hand Kimonos
After we were all rested up, we started our walk to the subway station. On our way, we saw some more traditional Japanese buildings and we saw a shop that sold second-hand kimono. We had to check it out. We walked inside and there was a young guy there that knew some English. The young guy looked about his early 20’s I would say. I’m 31 years old so early twenties is conceder a young guy to me. We decided to just look around. But once we got to the back of the room and saw all the different kinds of kimono that you can buy for only 3,000yen, we just had to buy one. To just rent a kimono for one hour you have to pay 3,000yen. I had no problem buying a kimono second hand for the same price just to rent one. We tried on a few kimonos and found one that we wanted. But we couldn’t get the belt there. They can custom make a belt for you but it will cost 30,000 yen. ($260 US dollars) We were fine with what we got and felt we didn’t need the belt.

Once we paid and left the shop, we walked a little further down the street and found another seconded-hand kimono shop. It wasn’t as nice as the last one but they had second-hand shoes, coats, kimonos, belts, and hairpins. We walked in and you could defiantly tell that it was a second-hand shop. It was very small and the air inside had that second-hand shop kind of smell. Just like at Goodwill or Salvation Army in America. Everything was crammed onto the shelves on top of each other and a bit messy. We found the belts in the back corner and we had to dig through the belts that went with our kimono. The prices for a second-hand belt ran around 1,000yen to 3,000yen. ($10-30 dollars.) We also found kimonos that were cheaper than the other shop. We found kimonos for 1,000yen to 3,000yen. We couldn’t help ourselves and we bought another kimono with two belts. Total damage for shopping for second-hand kimonos and belts was $60 dollars. Not so bad compared to how much I would have spent if it was brand new. After we got done shopping for kimono stuff we found the subway and headed back to our hostel.
Meet up for language exchange
There was a language exchange meet up in central Kyoto that Dana and I wanted to go too. I found out about the meet up through Dana and she reminded me about the MeetUp app. I’ve used the Meetup app before in Taiwan but I didn’t think to use it in Kyoto. Dana told me about a few events she was going to through the app. One of them was a language exchange. It started in the evening around 7. We had to buy a drink once we get there. We left an hour early from the hostel. We took the subway to central Kyoto. Once we got off the subway we followed the dictations from our screenshots from Google maps the best we could. But of course, as usual, we got a little lost. Dana found a woman to ask for dictions. She was in her business wear clothes and was caring four bags. But, instead of just telling us where the place was she took us there. She didn’t have to do that. She looked busy and she already had her hands full. She didn’t have to go out of her way and walk us to the café. She was very friendly and nice and she kept talking in Japanese the whole time with mixed English.
We finally arrived at our dictation. We said goodbye to the women that helped us. Then we walked into the coffee shop and it was pretty nice inside. It was a traditional Japanese coffee shop where you have to take off your shoes before you go to your table. The Japanese guy in charge of the meet up was seating at the nearest table by the door with some paperwork. We asked him if this is where the meet up is and he said yes it is. He asked for our names and reminded us that we had to buy a drink first. We ordered our drinks and went upstairs. When we got upstairs, there were a lot of people. I would say about 20 people showed up. Most of them were Japanese, one person from Melisa, one person from Thailand, one person from Italy, three of us from America and one person from England. Everyone was very friendly and nice. We talked for a bit with some of the people at our table. Then the host walked in and introduced himself has the host and how he created the meet up for the language exchange. He started splitting us off into groups of three or four. Since there was so many of us, he split the group in half. He put half of the group in a room across the hall and left the other half in the room where we are already in. We got to stay in the room we were already in. Then every 30 minutes the host would have the foreigners move to the right to the next group over. The meet up lasted for about two hours. Got to meet other people and understand Japanese culture a little better and get some traveling advice. It was a lot of fun and I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend using the MeetUp app when you are in another country if you have the time.

After we were done, most of the group went home and some of us went out for a late dinner. It was mainly us foreigners that went out to eat and two Japanese women that came with us. It took some time to find a place to eat because it was almost ten o’clock and most restaurants were closing. But we found a place that would take our small group and we had some dinner. We chatted for a bit and talked. Everyone seemed really nice and we had a good time. Then most of us left to go back home after that. We got back to our hostel around midnight.
It was a great day, had some fun sightseeing and meeting new people. Glad that Dana reminded me about the MeetUp app. I’m so happy I went and met new people. Hope you enjoyed the read. Have a good day and hope to see you here at my blog again soon.

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