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Well better late than never.  We went to Kyoto over Thanksgiving and here it is Feb 18 and I am finally getting around to blogging about it. We left on Friday morning by Shinkansen.  We arrived in Kyoto around 9:30. We had rented a house called a machiya. They are old houses that have been renovated almost like a  bed and breakfast .  It was beautiful. We left our stuff and headed out for a day of sightseeing.  We started at the Golden Pavillion or Kinkakuji Temple. It is probably one of the most photographed places in Kyoto. It is beautiful.  Afterwards, we walked down the road to a ramen shop for lunch.  Dad was being a good sport about trying things.  After lunch we walked to Ryoanji Temple. It was really a combo walk / bus ride.  We did not know how far it would be so started walking then decided to take the bus and then it really was not that much farther. Ryoanji Temple has a beautiful zen stone garden. There are 15 rocks placed so that you can not see all 15 at the same  time.  From there we bussed to Ninnaji Temple.  It was very quiet there. Dad and Lyndon stayed at the front while we walked through it.  We trecked back home to freshen up before heading back out for the Kiyomizudera Temple which was lit up at night. With the time of year, the colors are vibrant and many temples have night illuminations.  It is a long walk through the temple so Dad came but waited at the bottom. Of course he found people to talk to.  Back at the house, the sleeping arrangements were set up and we all had a good nights sleep after all the walking.  Lyndon got up early the next morning to watch the Alabama vs Auburn game on the computer.  ROLLTIDE!!  After a light breakfast we started out again. This time we decided to try the train system.  We went to the Fushimi Inari Shrine. It has thousands of tori gates lining the pathway. It was really cool.  We saw a priest of the temple giving a blessing to a new car! It was very funny.  Our next stop was the Nijojo Castle.  It was interesting in the fact that the floors were designed to squeak so that they could hear intruders.  Very clever.  We had to travel to Osaka for the night because we could not stay two nights at the machiya.  We trained to Osaka, checked in , then went to find dinner. We went across the street to a “mall”. Dad and I went one place and the rest went to a tonkatsu restaurant.  The next morning we  went to an area called Arashiyama. It is a quiet village area but it was packed that day.  The monkey forest was there. We did not know what the hike would be like so Dad started trying but stopped halfway up. I think he really did the hard part. But once again he found people to talk to as they passed. At the top there were many monkeys running around in the open. They were very tame but you really should not get too close. You are not supposed to look them in the eye. One did not like Sarah and hissed at her.  Back at the bottom of the hill we walked around , found lunch, and then walked through the bamboo forest. There were many photo ops along the way.    We headed back to Osaka for our luggage and then took the Shikansen back to Tokyo. Fall is  a beautiful time to go to Kyoto. The leaves were beautiful shades of red, orange and yellow.  It was a quick trip (and  condensed blog) but well worth it.  

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