Kyoto (Everything but the Shrines)

There’s other stuff to see in Kyoto apart from the shrines.  For example, in Arashiyama, just outside of the city centre, we went for a walk through the beautiful bamboo groves.

In Arashiyama we also visited Iwatayama monkey sanctuary and saw the playful monkeys swimming around trying to keep cool (they did a better job than us, as the sanctuary is on the top of a steep hill and we were sweltering by the time we got up there).

In the city centre, the train station is really big and impressive, as well as being full of lots of nice restaurants.  Here’s a picture showing it reflecting the Kyoto tower.

In the city centre there’s also the Imperial Palace, which you need an appointment to look around so we didn’t, but we were allowed in the adjoining park, where I did my parkrun.

There’s also Nijo Castle, which was built at a time of great intrigue and therefore has all the usual security features (moat, high walls etc) but also some innovative ones (deliberately squeaky “nightingale” floors, and secret panels for bodyguards to hide behind).

One day, we went for a picnic in Umekoji Park, where it was hot enough that we joined all the local children and had a paddle in the stream.

Kyoto is also famous for Gion, the Geisha district.  We didn’t see any geisha, but it is a very well-preserved piece of old Japan and very picturesque, but the most interesting bit for me was the cat cafe.  People in Japan mostly have too little space to allow for pets, so you can come here and pay Y800 (about £6.50) to spend half an hour playing with the cats.

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3 thoughts on “Kyoto (Everything but the Shrines)

  1. The bamboo looks amazing and the thing I would go to first. Then I would go to the shrines. Then I would go to the cat cafe! I bet there would be a market for that in the UK. A ‘petting zoo’ on every corner.

    • I have a (rubbish) picture of the cat cafe taken on Col’s phone but I can’t figure out how to upload it. It could definitely be made nicer – I think they have more swanky ones in Tokyo, but I agree that as a concept, it rocks. Although, I guess you would have to source cats with a certain temperament. None of the cats I’ve ever owned would take too kindly to being fussed over by a string of strangers. They treated me with indifference most of the time, unless of course there was the possibility of food. You’d end up with a cafe full of morbidly obese cats if you had to constantly bribe them for affection.

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