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Kyoto, the home of Japan's imperial court for over 1000 years, is home
to a staggering array of temples, shrines, and castles, most of them dating
from the 16th and 17th centuries. This was our next stop after Miyajima,
and one of the highlights of the trip.
Jesse does his best to "Fight the Power," on the recommendation
of this sign.
Inside a pachinko parlor, a temple to sensory overload ten times more
overwhelming than an American arcade.
Waiting for the bus
At Chion-in, one of the largest temples in Kyoto. Originally built in
1234, most of the buildings now date to the 17th and 18th century.
A covered walkway at Chion-in
The grand temple at Chion-in
An ornate shrine in one of the smaller Chion-in temples
The huge steel torii at the entrance to the Heian-jingu shrine
Kinkakuji, the famous "Golden Pavilion"
Jessica poses with visiting schoolgirls at Kinkakuji
Himeji-jo is one of the few Japanese castles that survives in their original
wooden construction. Most others have burned over the years, but this
building has stood since 1580.
On the castle grounds, we came across a man showing off his trained squirrel.
He wasn't doing it for tips. He just had a trained squirrel and wanted
to share it with the world.
The 5-story donjon (central tower) was a breathtaking sight
Climbing the steep stairs in one of the peripheral buildings, the Princess's
Stocks for rifles and gunpowder lined nearly every wall
Jessica celebrates reaching the top level of the castle
At the entrance to Kiyomizu-dera, one of the largest and most famous temples
in all of Kyoto. The peaceful, contemplative air we found in many temples
was a bit lacking here due to the huge crowds of tourists (most of them
The road to Kiyomizu-dera is so crammed with souvenir dealers that it's
known as "Teapot Alley"
Jessica purifies herself before entering the temple
A deck at Kiyomizu-dera
Jesse drinks from the waters of Otowa-no-taki, a sacred waterfall believed
to have therapeutic properties.
A covered shopping arcade
The Zen garden at Nanzen-ji
Rakes for the Zen garden
The proprietor of Birdland, a tiny 10-seat bar in Gion, Kyoto's nightlife
district. An expert on single-malt scotch and jazz, he was a remarkably
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