my favorite picture from Kyoto
Andy and I went to Kyoto from Nagoya October 21 - 22nd 2010 to see the sights and check out the famed 時代祭り - Jidai Matsuri [Festival of Ages] at the Heian Shrine. We even planned to take a trip up to Kurama for the Fire Festival, but none of these things worked out and we spent the whole time walking around Kyoto Station and our ryokan. No problem though - we had a great time anyway.
a family shrine
Mt. Fuji from the Bullet Train windowEXPECTATIONS
People/guidebooks/family - everyone told us how magical, wonderful and mystical Kyoto was. The temples, the shrines, the gardens, the museums, the atmosphere - all my research put Kyoto on an almost unattainable pedestal of wonderment. I expected Kyoto to knock our socks off the second we stepped off the train and be transported into a different world.
That's not really fair to demand that of any place. I wish I could say we had this experience. We didn't.
Kyoto is very warm. Kyoto is full of obnoxious tourists and disaffected ex-pats. Kyoto is home to many hard working people who don't have time for your cute Japanese conversations/questions. Kyoto is magical and mystical and wonderful, so just two days and one night is not enough time to discover that.
We walked from Kikokuso to Sanjusangendo - a beautiful temple just over the Kamogawa. All the tourists went the other way and we found ourselves walking inside an endless line of hundreds of middle school girls going to school. They trudged along in the heat, what seemed like miles, all the storefronts dirty and broken, potted plants drying out and smokey old men with smokey old jackets.
It's real life. Not the slick, Tokyo world we were immersed in just a day before.
★ But we can have expectations of anything - and when we are disappointed, we can do two things:
1. Get sad / blame the place
2. Never you mind and deal
The worst vacations have been to Washington DC and Chicago - but I'll never think the places were bad. Things just didn't go so well, but they'll go better next time!
We'll go back to Kyoto someday (and DC and Chicago) and try again ☺
Osamu Tezuka museum in Kyoto Station
Kyoto is a magical place, and I know the next time we visit we'll discover even more.