Why not Kyoto?

After I bought my new Macbook, I suddenly had a laptop surplus. I happened to be chatting to a friend, expressing a little buyer’s remorse, when he suggested I sell the computer to him so he could give it to his sister for college. Hey, that’s a good idea! She lives in Kyoto so I had a great excuse to travel to Kyoto this weekend. In addition, a colleague suggested that we drive there this weekend as well. So my plans converged and Saturday was designated as a trip to Kyoto.

We really didn’t have plans – just playing it by ear. As my colleague suggested, it is the difference of being tourists and living here. Just do what we wanted to do. We met Reina at Kyoto Station to “deliver the goods” and have lunch. I had never met her, so it was a little awkward. “Hey, here’s a really nice computer that is a little old. I hope it works for you.”

We were hoping to have a little bit of fall colors in Kyoto. Last time I was in Kyoto was in November, 2003 (I think). The colors were great – I think it was Thanksgiving Day or a weekend before or after Thanksgiving. This time, we were a BIT to early. However, there were still some good colors. We went on a scenic drive and got a few good shots.

One view along the scenic route in Kyoto


Another view along the scenic route in Kyoto


After leaving the scenic route we were trying to get to Kinkakuji. Unfortunately, it was getting late and the traffic was bad. As we were heading to Kinkakuji, we passed Ryoanji. Since I was the only one who had been there, we decided to stop. It is one of my favorite places in Kyoto, so I was thrilled to stop again. Ryoanji is famous for its Zen rock garden and one of my favorite black and white photos is from Ryoanji. I snapped a few more pictures at Ryoanji. The property has a lake, and I snapped a few pictures as we walked around it. It was getting dark, so the pictures are a little dark as well.

One of my favorite black and white photos


The Zen garden at Ryoanji


The Zen garden at Ryoanji


Reflections on the lake at Ryoanji


After Ryoanji, we decided to cross Kyoto to go around Higashiyama. We wanted to go to an okonomiyaki restaurant in the Sanjo / Gion area of Kyoto for modanyaki. Kyoto traffic was remarkably bad. Really, really bad. We were also were planning to go to Kiyomizudera temple. Every fall, the temple and the trees are lit. Since this was the first weekend, it was crazy busy. We made it to the area, parked the car, walked to dinner (and bumped into another colleague in the crowd who seemed to find the coincident unremarkable) and enjoyed the scrumptious okonomiyaki (Kansai style). We then walked to Kiyomizudera. It was late but still crowded. My pictures were really disappointing. I was frustrated by the crowd and not paying enough attention so I technically wasn’t as sharp as I needed to be. Oh well.

A Zen garden we stumbled upon


On the way to Kiyomizudera


Kyoto at night from Kiyomizudera


It was great though to be in Kyoto and made me realize how lucky I am to be here. I finally got home around midnight. Definitely a long day.