京都 2005.03.24 () - 金閣寺, きたのてんまんぐう, and Rain

In the morning, I met Shanka from India (now working in England). His real passion is singing, and he can sing real well. I really did meet people from all over the world; it was interesting that most of them were heavy travelers and / or living outside of their native countries...

After a bit, Marlon, Tamra, and myself headed out for 金閣寺. We were going by bus, and it took us awhile to even find the bus stop. At one point, we were going to ask the policemen in a 交番, but they were busy with someone else... eventually we gave up waiting. I understand that in 東京, there's 交番 on every corner; they're a little less common in 京都, and I actually never made use of one on my trip.

We eventually found a bus stop on 四条 west of the river; most busses pass through there. When the bus finally did show up, Marlon and I went to get on... and Tamra was missing! Marlon hopped back off but I stayed on, which wasn't too smart. Tamra had gotten on the bus immediately proceeding the 金閣寺 bus, and then got off at the next stop. When I arrived at 金閣寺, I waited for Marlon and Tamra to arrive on the next bus, which didn't take too long.

金閣寺 was very pretty. It was a cloudy day, but we got a little bit of sun while we were there. It was definitely the most tourist-packed place that I had been to so far. Next we went and got lunch at an Indian restaurant. After lunch we parted paths, and I headed out on foot for a train to 天竜寺 and 嵐山. I lost my sense of direction, however, and got a little lost. I stopped at a post office and got directions to the station; in between the two, I came upon the きたのてんまんぐう. There were some plum blossoms and a lot of pretty buildings, and I'm glad I got a chance to look around before the market. I also had my first run-in with a Japanese toilet, which really wasn't that problematic...

I went on to the train station, and needed change for the ticket machine. I went to one of the food stalls by the station and managed to ask for change by way of example. The train is just a short local one, with a couple of branches; I needed to go to the opposite branch, which was pretty simple. When I arrived at 天竜寺, however, it started pouring. Fortunately, this was the only time the weather had a negative affect on my trip. I guess that 嵐山 was living up to its name... I wandered a little, but just ended up heading back to town. I wandered through Gion and the area south of Gion but north of 五条, looking for potential places to eat. I had some luck in that department, and also found out that the area has a lot of very long and twisty alleys.

Went back to the guesthouse and hung around for awhile. There were some new people about, including Justin from Portland, who's now in the JET program up in Sapporo. But I was hungry, so before long I went back out to the Gion-ish area for dinner. It was a little sort of secluded, nice westerned themed place -- 1200 for a pork steak with side salad, great prices! Nice host. A pretty big meal, for Japan. I planned to go back before my trip ended.

Returned to the guesthouse again, and then out with Louis to Gion. We saw one Geisha, and eventually found the Gion Corner and theatre, where 都をどり is performed. Went back to the guesthouse and hung out with everyone some more, and finally went to bed.