京都 2005.03.22 () - 清水寺, Trails, and a Cemetary

I went up to see 清水寺, as it's very near to the guesthouse. On the way I stopped at a smaller temple (not sure which), and then walked through a huge cemetary. Above this cemetary is 清水寺. The famous view is extraodrinary. After walking the grounds, I came across a marked (in 日本語) trail. I took the trail out of curiosity (it was sort of inconspicuous), and evenutally made it to the top of 清水山. I back-tracked a little bit to a branch in the trail, and tried to follow the signs to something called しょうぐんずか, but got off the beaten track a bit, and a little lost. I kept following the trail I was on, and it came to a paved road with a gravel road, gated off, joining it. There was a trail map here, and it showed that the gravel road is part of the trail system. The trail to しょうぐんずか connected further down the road, according to the sign. I went up the road a bit and found a shelter, where I stopped to have a snack and to write this. While here, I saw the first person on the trails since I started! If you want to, it really isn't too hard to get away from it all, even in Japan.

It rained a little while I was in the shelter, but nothing too bad. After that, I continued up to the しょうぐんずか, which has a helipad and not much else. I took off down another trail which claimed to head for 円山公園. It seemed to just... dissipate. I ended up sort of following this large fence which had met the trail earlier, as I didn't want to back-track... eventually the fence connected with a tall stone wall around the large cemetary. I scuttled around until I could find a way into the back of the cemetary without too many problems. That felt sort of bad, but I was almost ready to start climbing the wall! I decided not to take any more trails at random.

I walked around the cemetary awhile, and then wandered back to the guesthouse. I met Marlon and his girlfriend Tamra, who were nice and talkative, and interesting. They were visiting from Oakland.

That night, the cafe was closed, so I asked みちる where else I might find food; she suggested an うどん place just down the street. It was okay; these noodle shops tend to be designed sort of like a bar, which is interesting. After dinner I just took a walk around, and went to a Starbucks I ran into. I finally figured out that the trays next to every register are for putting money into when you pay. I don't think it's a faux paus to not use them, however. I don't think I ever got change via the tray; it was handed back directly.

An aside about money in Japan. Like in Europe, coins are used a lot more than they are in the US. The smallest bill demonination is 1,000 (about $10); lots of 500 and 100 coins are used. There are also 2,000 bills, but I think I'm the only person I saw with one; the next largest bill, more commonly seen, is 5,000. I never had a problem using a 5,000 bill. The number of vending machines may have something to do with it, but most of those seem to take bills as well. Maybe it's just considered more convenient.

At any rate, the Starbucks looked pretty much the same as they do in the US, although the sizes were shifted one smaller -- small, tall, and grande. The drinks available were different, too; e.g. a 抹茶 frappuccino.

Finally, I went back to the hostel, and took a shower... uh, oops, forgot my towel. So I used my shirt and made a mental note to find someplace to buy a towel, and then crashed.