Sunday, April 13, 2008

Spring Break--Kyoto

My DELICIOUS non-spicy, vegetarian, Indian meal in Kyoto!
The Golden Temple (Kinkaku-Ji). Originally built in 1397, rebuilt after being burned by a monk in the 1950s.
Daibutsu-den Hall, the largest wooden structure in the WORLD!!! It was rebuilt in 1709 and is only 2/3 its original size.

After 4 nights in Tokyo, we got on the train and went to Kyoto. Kyoto is the old capital of Japan and is famous for all its shrines. We spent 3 nights there. I hate to say it, but my favorite part was the amazing Indian food we had the first night was delicious!!!

We took a day trip around Kyoto and saw some of the main sights, including a palace where the floors are designed to squeak with even a little pressure, so that an intruder can't sneak in, and the squeaking sounds like birds, which is cool to hear! We also saw the Golden pavillion. Then we went to nearby Nara, which has the largest wooden structure in the world with this giant Buddha in it. The Buddha was amazing. Nara is also famous for having all these deer around (the guidebook says over 1200), so we got to pet some of them!

Spring Break--Tokyo

Mom by the Imperial Palace, where the Japanese Emperor lives.
Mom at Senso-Ji temple in the Asakusa section of Tokyo. She's standing by a big incense burner thing.
Mom writing a prayer for world peace and a Democrat president at the Meiji Shrine.

On March 22nd, the first day of my spring break, I flew to Tokyo. I spent the first night there on my own before meeting my mom and her friend Linda to travel around Japan and Korea with them. We were staying in the Shinjuku part of Tokyo, which Lonely Planet calls the place to "dive headfirst into the modern Japanese phenomenon." I explored that area on my own that day and then went to the airport to pick up mom and Linda the next day. We spent 4 nights in Tokyo and saw all sorts of cool stuff, some of which are in the pictures above. We also ate lots of interesting food, including sabu-sabu (grilled meat and veggies), yakisoba (grilled meat dipped in raw egg), some very authentic tempura, including eel, and soba noodles.
I was impressed by how much greener and less polluted Tokyo was than Seoul. It seemed to have a lot more parks and a lot less litter, which was nice! The people were also very polite and helpful and I don't think I saw one person spit the entire time I was there!