May 19: Kyoto: Golden Pavilion, Nijo Castle
Day 4 and we are getting into the rhythm of travel. We found Kyoto a wonderfully easy “walk-around” city after we were given the tour by Brenna-san our Tauck Tour Guide. Our hotel was centrally located, so we found shopping readily accessible on foot. Amy and I had a request to find what we thought was “wash paper” which my sister-in-law uses to decorate eggs at Easter. Several blank faces at the hotel concierge and a correction by Tomo-san, our local guide: “You’re looking for washi paper” which means Japanese paper. Now it was easy.
Today we visited the Golden Pavilion (Kinkaku-ji Temple) and toured the gardens with hundreds and hundreds of school children. May is the month for field trips. Kinkaku-ji Temple has a different architectural style for each of the three floors. It is surrounded by a beautiful water park. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kinkaku-ji
Our next stop this morning was Nijo Castle, known for its “nightingale” floors constructed such that walking on them creates sounds that would alert the Tokugawa shogun of one’s presence. No electricity needed for that seventeenth century alarm system. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nijō_Castle
The afternoon and evening were left open for us to explore Kyoto or to rest.