These pictures below were taken at the ending of the first day. At night the riverside really starts to have an almost celebratory festival feel, with the lighted lanterns and people enjoying the outdoors.
The next morning we had a breakfast buffet at our hotel. The above picture was the view from our window seat in the dining area. A really tranquil view for eating! The Hyatt Regency really is one of the best places to stay in Kyoto.
On the way to our first stop, I took a time to take a picture with the sidewalk since the tile work was so unique. Also pictured below is my new favorite travel bag, my Mansur Gavriel bucket bag in canvas. It can hold endless amounts of stuff.
First stop was Kinkakuji, or the Golden Pavillion (that's the admission ticket above). It was beautiful but the throngs of tourist and the fact that it was rebuilt in the 50's and then regilded in the 80's made it feel less historically accurate and more like Disneyland's Cinderella Castle.
Outside of the temple were cute stores selling cute things.
Within walking distance is Ryoanji, a temple famous for it's Zen rock garden. I think the idea is to quietly observe the garden in mediation, but I had the interesting experience of visiting during peak school field trip hours. And so I was completely surrounded by middle school students who were incessantly counting the number of rocks out loud. They say that you can only really see 14 rocks from any one point on the veranda, but would be able to see the 15th after attaining enlightenment. Guess I'm not enlightened yet since I only saw 14 rocks as well.
The other side of the veranda was equally beautiful. Right around the corner was this lush green landscape, which I'm sure is even more gorgeous during the spring and autumn seasons. It would be such a joy to be able to watch the changing of seasons from this place.
Inside the temple was one large room, with screen door dividers, so the whole space could be completely open to the outside.
The grounds surrounding the temple were also breathtaking. Summer was in full force and there were just so many shades of green.
Except the one tree here that was confused and thought it might be autumn. But it does give you an idea of what this place looks like during the fall months, all shades of red.