We started the day heading for Arashiyama, the bamboo forest. I had read that it was good to go early so that your photos would not be filled with other tourists. Very good tip. So peaceful.
Near the bamboo forest was a zen temple, Tenryu-ji, which had beautiful gardens.
We walked through the town (bought some delicious furikake there), across the Togetsukyo Bridge, and were relaxing next to the river, when Yuki, a Kyoto local, befriended us. 50 years ago, she had been an exchange student in Pennsylvania, where she learned English. We are so grateful for her friendship and helping us to get around using the buses. She taught us how to pay for a one-day pass. And she brought us to more temples than we had planned to see. It was quite an adventure.
This guardian was at the entrance to Ninna-ji, which Yuki said was her favorite temple. It is famous for its five-story pagoda.
We then went to Kinkakuji, the golden temple, one of the more famous landmarks in Kyoto.
Later in the afternoon, Yuki wanted us to see the Heian Shrine, as the admission was free on Monday. It was not so much the shrine itself, but the gardens that she thought we would like. As we got off the bus, she starts running to the entrance, as it was very close to closing time. She tells us we don’t all have to run, she’ll do it for us. Sure enough, she made it just as a guard was closing and he let us in.
As it turned dark, Yuki brought us to see the Gion district. I don’t have many photos but I can tell you that I did see an actual geisha. She shuffled quickly past us as we were walking through a street. Yuki pointed her out to us and assured us that she was authentic.
And then, it was time to part ways. She made sure we got on the right bus, going in the right direction. Though she gave me her email address, I tried to write and it was returned as an error message. Yuki, or as she referred to herself, Noisy Yuki, domo arigato gozaimashita for your wonderful company. You really made our time in Kyoto so special and memorable.
I have traveled quite a bit, and am using this page to record some memories. Travel is a wonderful education, expanding your view of the world, of other cultures, of the beauty of diversity.