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  • Day13

    Kiyomizu Temple

    October 11, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    Situated at the top of the steepest street in Kyoto the temple is the busiest place we have been to date. The grounds are immense but across hilly terrain and as such while they are elevated it is quite a hike to get between the buildings. With huge balconies and lush trees the views are stunning but unfortunately we didn't have time to walk across the hills or sample the water as the queues were simply too great for the time we had.

    The views back over the city give a view way out to the South but there isn't much to see as it's very industrial and city chic. While there are lots of kimono's on show they are rented cheaply to tourists do it's lots of Chinese rather than locals that the Europeans are busy adding for photos with which is hilarious. Overall this area was overly aimed at tourists and hence not a highlight as the abundance of shops meant lots of pushy tourists and ruins the experience somewhat.
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  • Day13

    The Golden Pavilion - Rokuon-ji Temple

    October 11, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 19 °C

    Getting across Kyoto proved congested with heavy traffic to get across town to the Golden Pavilion. The pavilion itself is very popular with what seemed like thousands of people queued for photos of the temple and surrounding gardens and buildings.

    There is a pond with the Golden Pavilion with islets large and small at the center of the garden. Rocks donated by various provincial lords of the period are placed throughout the garden. As a pond garden designed for sterling, it is typical of the Muromachi period in Japan's history.The garden is listed as a national special historic site and special place of scenic beauty.

    With 24 carat gold leaf adorning the exterior of the top levels it makes an impressive site for photos with the reflections across the pond and also when looking back down from the top of the hill
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  • Day13

    lunch in Kyoto

    October 11, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    A full 4 course lunch awaited us in Kyoto at Kazahana and while the sushi was about the only thing that was Japanese it was very tasty

  • Day13

    Kasuga-taisha Shinto shrine

    October 11, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Next up was the local shrine in Nara and the deer were also prevalent. The area is beautifully maintained and had recently retrieved it's latest refresh which occurs every 20 years

    Kasuga Grand Shrine (春日大社 Kasuga-taisha?) is a Shinto shrine in the city of Nara, in Nara Prefecture, Japan.[1] Established in 768 AD and rebuilt several times over the centuries, it is the shrine of the Fujiwara family. The interior is famous for its many bronze lanterns, as well as the many stone lanterns that lead up the shrine.

    The architectural style Kasuga-zukuri takes its name from Kasuga Shrine's honden (sanctuary).

    Kasuga Shrine, and the Kasugayama Primeval Forest near it, are registered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as part of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara".

    The path to Kasuga Shrine passes through Deer Park. In Deer Park, deer are able to roam freely and are believed to be sacred messengers of the Shinto gods that inhabit the shrine and surrounding mountainous terrain. Kasuga Shrine and the deer have been featured in several paintings and works of art of the Nambokucho Period.[2] Over three thousand stone lanterns line the way. The Man'yo Botanical Garden, Nara is adjacent to the shrine.
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  • Day13

    Nara Buddhist temple

    October 11, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 16 °C

    We started out from Osaka by bus and headed for Nara Prefecture. The trip showed the massive scale of the motorways and a 5km tunnel connecting Osaka with Nara.

    The weather is perfect for our tour and it should make for some great photos

    We first visited the Todai-ji Buddhist temple where the number of deer was immense and they were very keen on tourists with food. The deer had recently had their antlers removed in a local ceremony during Autumn, otherwise they could have been very scary as they ran fat at each other but seemed to avoid tourists

    Tōdai-ji (東大寺?, Eastern Great Temple)[1] is aBuddhist temple complex, that was once one of the powerful Seven Great Temples, located in the city ofNara, Japan. Its Great Buddha Hall (大仏殿Daibutsuden?), houses the world's largest bronze statue of the Buddha[2] Vairocana,[3] known in Japanese simply as Daibutsu (大仏?). The temple also serves as the Japanese headquarters of theKegon school of Buddhism. The temple is a listed UNESCO World Heritage Site as one of the "Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara", together with seven other sites including temples, shrines and places in the city of Nara. Deer, regarded as messengers of the gods in the Shinto religion, roam the grounds freely.
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  • Day12

    Departure time from Yokohama

    October 10, 2016 in Japan ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    So after spending time getting through check in we were soon unpacking and sitting out on the balcony in our room. The cruise allows a bottle of wine per passenger to be brought onboard without any charge so we quickly got the champagne into the fridge while unpacking.

    As we left the port we had a local brass band and hundreds of locals out waving us off. The music was excellent from the brass band, if only they were onboard.

    The boat itself is fairly large but not massive, the bars have a fairly good menu (incl craft beer!) And there are plenty of pools etc but it's certainly aimed at charging for extras and catering to the American market. We had expected a more Japanese clientele but I think instead they have targeted Americans and Australians to fill the boat as there are lots of fairly obnoxious groups around who boast about having done 30+ cruises. The service is not as good as the South America cruise we did in 2010 and the entertainment seems to be done on a very small scale. The band were the only highlight from the first nights show.

    In any case we have spent plenty of time relaxing and as I write this I am sipping a glass of champagne and sitting back relaxing so compared to working it's no contest
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