Tuesday, April 12, 2011

kyoto in spring

This is a blog about going to Kyoto last week. Irrelevant or useless details have been redacted in the sake of brevity and laziness.

So I was supposed to go to Taiwan with my friend Yusuke, but his computer fell down in the earthquake so he didn't want to spend any money on travel because everyone knows a computer is an important window to the world. I understand, but was quite discouraged. Tokyo is shaking like a tamboruine, and I really wanted to get out of town for a few days. A friend suggested we go on a vacation in Japan for a few days and I immediately thought of Amanohashidate, one of the "three scenic places of Japan" somewhere I have been wanting to go for quite awhile.

To save money, we took a pass that can be loosely translated as the "JR Youth 18 Pass". If you are unfamiliar with this pass, let me explain that you don't have to be young to use it. It is simply only valid during school breaks, thus the name. It is quite cheap, but you can only take local trains. My travel companion is a quite relaxed lady, and so she mostly just looked out the window at the slowly rolling countryside. We left Tokyo station at about 8AM and got into Kyoto station around 5:20PM that evening. It was quite a ride. Right in front of Kyoto station is the aptly named Kyoto Tower, so we rode up the tower for a twilight view of our new surroundings.

Kyoto is a peaceful city, and a whole lot darker than Tokyo. Not a lot of neonlights, and a considerable less amount of light pollution. (Suppose if I had grown up there, my blog would have had a different name besides Neonvirus, eh?) In fact, we could make out pinpoints of major stars as we walked around the city for a bit (lost, utterly lost, never found our destination).

The next day, we did the tourist thing. We went and visited The Golden Pavilion, which is like the Eiffel Tower of Kyoto. Symbolic but as cheesy as you imagine. After walking around the gaudy temple and the beautiful Japanese strolling garden, we made our way to a local temple that was aflame with Cherry Blossoms. Wonderful tiny pinkish white blossoms against a stark blue sky. Cherry blossoms are a seasonal reminder of the always rolling wheel of time, I enjoy the evanescence of their beauty. It's good to remember that even beautiful things don't last forever, and yet nothing is ever lost forever in the cycle of life. Or something. Yeah, odd thoughts.

The next day, we made our way to my desired destination. Amanohashidate. That name is quite a mouth-full, eh? Amanohashidate is a land "bridge" that cuts across a bay, and it has been around for quite sometime. It was quite hard to get to it (took a 3 hour bus that cost about US$40) but it was quite beautiful and the weather was perfect.

Oddly, the preferred viewing of Amanohashidate is with your head between your legs. I am not joking. People get up to the edge of the hill above it, and tuck their head between their legs and look at the land bridge from between their legs. Oddest tradition I have heard in awhile.

We walked along the land bridge itself too. It was quiet and peaceful, not so many people. On the edges of the land bridge were soft empty beaches with emerald green water. The trees and the ocean were quite refreshing, a focal point of natural energy, so to speak.

And before I knew it, the next day was hitting me over the head with it's long train ride back to the constantly shaking Tokyo. Good memories last a lifetime, at least that's the hope. I sometimes wonder how long I can hold memories in my mind before they fade away like most things in life.

(This goes without saying, but click on the images for larger views.)
All original content CC 2002-2012 BY NC SA - first design from dilarangmelarang altered by neonvirus and thunderbunny.