Day 6: Northern Kyoto


Today, we toured the northern part of Kyoto, which includes the extremely picturesque Kinkakuji ( Golden Pavilion). Unfortunately, due to illness, our pace was slowed down so we only managed to see a few temples.

I woke up feeling absolutely terrible. Oh, the joys of the common cold. I was able to get in about 10 hours of sleep, though – just what I needed. A hot, steamy shower also helped.

The cute cappuccino I had with my breakfast!

After breakfast at a small cafe, I managed to pick up some cold medicine from a drug store with the help of a nice English-speaking pharmacist. The medicine made me a bit drowsy but otherwise, it relieved the worst of my symptoms. Unfortunately, it looks like Jr has also caught this nasty bug. Sorry!

Our first stop was naturally Kinkakuji or the Golden Pavilion. Indeed, it is quite golden and it’s reflection against the adjacent pond and garden really makes it quite beautiful. It’s a big tourist attraction, so of course, there were many crowds.

Left: the gardens surrounding the Golden Pavilion. Right: the picturesque Golden Pavilion.

We took some pictures, stopped for some green tea ice cream, and then made the ~35 minute walk to the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine. We stopped here primarily because we heard of the flea market that takes place here on the 25th of every month, but the shrine itself is quite impressive.

The flea market was absolutely huge and very busy. There were stalls selling street food (we stopped for some oden), flowers, vegetables and fruit, toys, tools, and clothes. I even bought a yukata (I did some unintentional haggling – after being very indecisive, the seller offered it for ¥500 off), although no obi (more on that later!)

What also made the shrine wonderful was the abundance of plum blossoms still in bloom (at least, I think they were plum blossoms; I’m not a botanist!).

Left: the entrance to Kitano Tenmangu and a few flea market stalls. Top-right: the main shrine. Bottom-right: plum blossoms.

After, Jr was feeling the effects of whatever bug he caught so he and Katherine returned to our hostel while I continued on to the Ninnaji Temple.

Ninnaji Temple is actually quite a large complex of buildings. The most impressive was probably the residence of the former head priest with it’s beautifully preserved painted sliding doors and a stunning garden. There was also a 5-story pagoda.

Top: the entrance gates to Ninnaji Temple, dating back to the 1600s. Middle: the garden. Bottom: the main altar.

While I was exploring Ninnaji, Katherine and Jr had stopped at a small cafe on their way to the hostel. They had kindly taken the kimono I had bought with them so I didn’t have to carry it while touring. Apparently, the owner of the cafe saw the kimono and gave my sister a matching obi! Of course, my sister offered to pay for it, but the woman declined. I wish I could thank her in person!

Most of the shrines and temples close their doors around 4:30-5:00 p.m., so since it was about that time, I returned to the hostel by bus after finishing seeing Ninnaji.


3 thoughts on “Day 6: Northern Kyoto

  1. nusseym

    Loves the cappuccino with the bear on it!! What is an obi?
    I really liked your Mcoy impression, ‘dammit, I’m a tourist not a botanist!’

    • I know! I almost didn’t want to drink my cappuccino because it was so cute!

      An obi is the sash/belt that holds the kimono together. On women, it tends to be very decorative and there are different ways to tie it in the back, depending on formality and personal tastes. Tying the obi is probably the most complicated part of putting on kimono.

      And lol, I did not even think of McCoy when I wrote that!!

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