The 3rd day we headed to Tokyo-Eki to catch the Shinkansen to Kyoto. The lightning-fast train made the trip in just a few hours. We had a hard time finding our guesthouse at first. I ended up stopping a random man on a bike to ask him if he’d heard of the address before. He then guided us around for about 15 minutes, asking random people in the street and going into stores asking people if they knew where the street was that we were looking for. If this kind of gesture of kindness from a stranger happened to me in China, I would automatically suspect a scam of some sort. We had many encounters with extremely friendly and helpful people.
It was also hard to get used to lining up for buses and trains and seeing people give up their seat not just for elderly people, but anyone that looks tired. And people actually leave a lane open on the escalator for people that are in a hurry! People were really very polite and didn’t spit, either.
First, we went to Gino, the Geisha district. My traveling buddy filled me in on the long and very interesting history of the Geisha, and we were actually able to see a few. The architecture is very traditional and uniquely Japanese.
The next day we visited the amazing Kiyomizu-dera, a Tendai Buddhist temple. Not a single nail was used in its construction! It is also a UNESCO World-Heritage site. There is an area where if you walk from one part of the temple to another with your eyes closed, you will find your true love sooner, not later. I cheated and opened my eyes, so I guess I’ll have to wait!
Next we visited the Fushimi Inari Taisha, an Inari shrine. It is an Inari belief that foxes are messengers, so there are many statues of foxes on the temple grounds.