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Kyoto, Japan shines with endless interesting sights (pt 1)

The orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine are one of the most photographed places in Japan; the key industry of Kyoto is IT and electronics: the city is home to the headquarters of Nintendo, Kyocera and Rohm

The orange torii gates at Fushimi Inari Shrine are one of the most photographed places in Japan; the key industry of Kyoto is IT and electronics: the city is home to the headquarters of Nintendo, Kyocera and Rohm

The Arashiyama Monkey Park was the perfect destination for those of us with temple burnout; it's also at the top of a very steep hill so a good workout was involved in getting there

The Arashiyama Monkey Park was the perfect destination for those of us with temple burnout; it's also at the top of a very steep hill so a good workout was involved in getting there

Kyoto Tower is the tallest structure in the city with its observation deck at 100 m (328 ft) and its spire at 131 m (430 ft); Kimiko Date, a tennis player who reached number 4 in WTA rankings in the 1990s, was born here

Kyoto Tower is the tallest structure in the city with its observation deck at 100 m (328 ft) and its spire at 131 m (430 ft); Kimiko Date, a tennis player who reached number 4 in WTA rankings in the 1990s, was born here

In 1950, a novice monk burned down the Golden Pavilion which was subsequently rebuilt; this temple is one of the most popular sights in Japan and is rated the number one thing to do in Kyoto

In 1950, a novice monk burned down the Golden Pavilion which was subsequently rebuilt; this temple is one of the most popular sights in Japan and is rated the number one thing to do in Kyoto

Tofukuji Temple was destroyed in 1319, 1334, and 1336, and burned again in the 15th century; the temple is best known for its massive gate - at 22 meters it is the largest in any Japanese Zen temple

Tofukuji Temple was destroyed in 1319, 1334, and 1336, and burned again in the 15th century; the temple is best known for its massive gate - at 22 meters it is the largest in any Japanese Zen temple

Tofukuji Temple has one of the largest rock gardens in Kyoto and the checkerboard pattern left visitors wondering how it had been made; in 1997, Kyoto hosted the conference that resulted in the protocol on greenhouse gas emissions

Tofukuji Temple has one of the largest rock gardens in Kyoto and the checkerboard pattern left visitors wondering how it had been made; in 1997, Kyoto hosted the conference that resulted in the protocol on greenhouse gas emissions

The main shrine at Fushimi Inari-taisha Temple was built in 1499; the shrine draws several million worshipers over the Japanese New Year(2.69 million for 3 days in 2006 reported by the police, the most in western Japan)

The main shrine at Fushimi Inari-taisha Temple was built in 1499; the shrine draws several million worshipers over the Japanese New Year(2.69 million for 3 days in 2006 reported by the police, the most in western Japan)

The Five-Storied Pagoda at Toji Temple is the highest in Japan at 187 feet; the current pagoda was built in 1644 at this UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Five-Storied Pagoda at Toji Temple is the highest in Japan at 187 feet; the current pagoda was built in 1644 at this UNESCO World Heritage Site

Sanjusangendo Temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after the original structure had been destroyed in a fire; 124 of the 1000  statues in the temple are original while the others are from the 13th century

Sanjusangendo Temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after the original structure had been destroyed in a fire; 124 of the 1000+ statues in the temple are original while the others are from the 13th century

These painted panels at the Ryoanji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are being displayed for the first time in 115 years; the panels would fold to allow for flexible room configurations

These painted panels at the Ryoanji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, are being displayed for the first time in 115 years; the panels would fold to allow for flexible room configurations

Ryoanji Temple; with its 2,000 religious places – 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and architecture intact – Kyoto is one of the best preserved cities in Japan

Ryoanji Temple; with its 2,000 religious places – 1,600 Buddhist temples and 400 Shinto shrines, as well as palaces, gardens and architecture intact – Kyoto is one of the best preserved cities in Japan

The Insho-Domoto Museum of Fine Arts was one of the few architecturally adventurous buildings in Kyoto; Japan's television and film industry has its center in Kyoto

The Insho-Domoto Museum of Fine Arts was one of the few architecturally adventurous buildings in Kyoto; Japan's television and film industry has its center in Kyoto

The furnishings in the Shinto shrines, like this chandelier at Nishi Kongwanji Shrine, were tasteful but not often labeled; cities in Japan are surprisingly quiet since there is no honking, people are soft spoken and loud noises are frowned upon

The furnishings in the Shinto shrines, like this chandelier at Nishi Kongwanji Shrine, were tasteful but not often labeled; cities in Japan are surprisingly quiet since there is no honking, people are soft spoken and loud noises are frowned upon

The Ministry of Environment included the Sagano Bamboo Forest on its list of 100 Soundscapes of Japan -- a selection of everyday noises intended to encourage locals to stop and enjoy nature's music

The Ministry of Environment included the Sagano Bamboo Forest on its list of 100 Soundscapes of Japan -- a selection of everyday noises intended to encourage locals to stop and enjoy nature's music

There were 140  snow (Japanese) monkeys living in Arashiyama Monkey Park; babies are born from April to July with maturity taking 10 years and with life expectancy 30 years

There were 140+ snow (Japanese) monkeys living in Arashiyama Monkey Park; babies are born from April to July with maturity taking 10 years and with life expectancy 30 years

Considering the age of the Buddhist temples in Kyoto, it was impressive how well-maintained the complexes (like here at Tenryu-ji Temple) are

Considering the age of the Buddhist temples in Kyoto, it was impressive how well-maintained the complexes (like here at Tenryu-ji Temple) are

For $1 you could buy a small bag of apple or banana slices and feed the monkeys; you go into a wooden room with wire windows (like a cage) and feed the animals who are free and on the outside of the cage

For $1 you could buy a small bag of apple or banana slices and feed the monkeys; you go into a wooden room with wire windows (like a cage) and feed the animals who are free and on the outside of the cage

Anraku-ji Temple had more bling than other temples; it is famous for its annual pumpkin festival in July when visitors eat boiled pumpkin which is said to prevent paralysis

Anraku-ji Temple had more bling than other temples; it is famous for its annual pumpkin festival in July when visitors eat boiled pumpkin which is said to prevent paralysis

Honen-in Temple; this temple is on Philosopher's Path which is listed as one of the 100 most beautiful walks in Japan but I was underwhelmed since it was poorly maintained

Honen-in Temple; this temple is on Philosopher's Path which is listed as one of the 100 most beautiful walks in Japan but I was underwhelmed since it was poorly maintained

Hatto building at Nanzen-ji Temple (1628); this temple is typically considered an end to the Philosopher's Path (the walk to Ginkakuji takes about 30 minutes)

Hatto building at Nanzen-ji Temple (1628); this temple is typically considered an end to the Philosopher's Path (the walk to Ginkakuji takes about 30 minutes)

The 25 m high torii gate of Heian-jingu Shrine was the only one I've seen across a major road; the gate is in front of the excellent Kyoto Metropolitan Museum of Art

The 25 m high torii gate of Heian-jingu Shrine was the only one I've seen across a major road; the gate is in front of the excellent Kyoto Metropolitan Museum of Art

Of the dozens of temples I visited in Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera was my favorite; the buildings were constructed in 1633 and the complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Of the dozens of temples I visited in Kyoto, Kiyomizu-dera was my favorite; the buildings were constructed in 1633 and the complex is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site

At Kiyomizu-dera Shrine there is even a temple for a safe and easy childbirth!; this Buddhist temple, like the others, seems dependent on superstitions with faithful praying to counter them

At Kiyomizu-dera Shrine there is even a temple for a safe and easy childbirth!; this Buddhist temple, like the others, seems dependent on superstitions with faithful praying to counter them

A 19th century aqueduct passes through the grounds of Nanzenji Temple, one of the most important Zen temples in Japan; Nanzenji is also roughly at the southern end of Philosopher's Path

A 19th century aqueduct passes through the grounds of Nanzenji Temple, one of the most important Zen temples in Japan; Nanzenji is also roughly at the southern end of Philosopher's Path

Kyoto was a wonderful city with plenty to see and do (besides all the temples); with more time, I would have taken day trips to Osaka and Nara (there's even an Obama, Japan nearby!)

Kyoto was a wonderful city with plenty to see and do (besides all the temples); with more time, I would have taken day trips to Osaka and Nara (there's even an Obama, Japan nearby!)

The Kara-mon Gate stands at the entrance to the Ninomaru-Goten Palace in the Nijo-jo Castle complex; gate architecture was used to indicate status explaining the magnificent carvings seen here

The Kara-mon Gate stands at the entrance to the Ninomaru-Goten Palace in the Nijo-jo Castle complex; gate architecture was used to indicate status explaining the magnificent carvings seen here

Barrels of rice wine (sake) have spiritual significance when located near a Shinto shrine; sipping a cup of sake is still a prayerful act of symbolic unification with the gods in the Shinto religion

Barrels of rice wine (sake) have spiritual significance when located near a Shinto shrine; sipping a cup of sake is still a prayerful act of symbolic unification with the gods in the Shinto religion

At the Shimogamo Shrine I watched traditional Japanese martial arts being demonstrated; the shrine, dating to the 6th century, existed centuries before Kyoto became the capital of Japan in 794

At the Shimogamo Shrine I watched traditional Japanese martial arts being demonstrated; the shrine, dating to the 6th century, existed centuries before Kyoto became the capital of Japan in 794

The mounds of sand represent a deity here at Kamigamo Shrine; in Kyoto, temples are typically Buddhist while shrines are usually Shinto although sometimes complexes have elements of both religions

The mounds of sand represent a deity here at Kamigamo Shrine; in Kyoto, temples are typically Buddhist while shrines are usually Shinto although sometimes complexes have elements of both religions

Painted screens and bamboo mats (here at Ninnaji Temple) are ubiquitous at Japanese temples; most of the popular temples prohibited photos to keep the crowds moving

Painted screens and bamboo mats (here at Ninnaji Temple) are ubiquitous at Japanese temples; most of the popular temples prohibited photos to keep the crowds moving

Higashi Honganji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1591; the temple serves as headquarters of one of Japan's largest Buddhist sects

Higashi Honganji, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was built in 1591; the temple serves as headquarters of one of Japan's largest Buddhist sects

Kyoto was removed from the atomic bomb target list (which it had headed) by the personal intervention of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, as Stimson wanted to save this cultural center, which he knew from his honeymoon and later diplomatic visits

Kyoto was removed from the atomic bomb target list (which it had headed) by the personal intervention of Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson, as Stimson wanted to save this cultural center, which he knew from his honeymoon and later diplomatic visits

In 1933 Inshō Dōmoto painted the large and vivid Blue Dragon ceiling painting at Tofukuji Temple in 17 days; Tofukuji is the largest and oldest temple in Kyoto

In 1933 Inshō Dōmoto painted the large and vivid Blue Dragon ceiling painting at Tofukuji Temple in 17 days; Tofukuji is the largest and oldest temple in Kyoto

Kyoto was the capital of Japan for 1000 years until it was moved to Tokyo in 1868; with 1.5 million people, it's the 9th largest city in Japan

Kyoto was the capital of Japan for 1000 years until it was moved to Tokyo in 1868; with 1.5 million people, it's the 9th largest city in Japan

Japan is pretty crowded at times, just ask the turtles!; the azaleas were in bloom at Toji Temple which is an easy walk from Kyoto Station

Japan is pretty crowded at times, just ask the turtles!; the azaleas were in bloom at Toji Temple which is an easy walk from Kyoto Station

Posted by VagabondCowboy 20:40

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