Friday evening we left the apartment in a rental van with plenty of room for all of us. We drove about an hour then stopped at a rest stop off the highway for some dinner. There was a machine like a vending machine where we put our money then pushed a picture of what we wanted to eat. A ticket with a number on it popped out and like 2 minutes later a counter called our numbers and our food was ready. It was crazy quick and the big plates of rice, breaded pork chops and curry Heath and I got were really good.
The rest of the night was just driving and talking until we arrived at KK’s sisters apartment. We hung out for a little while and drank some tea and shared some stories but it was late so we went to bed shortly after.
In the morning we got up at 7 and left at 8. They had made us some rice balls and we stopped by a convenience store for snacks for breakfast. KK’s sister, brother in law and niece joined us for a day of sightseeing. We drove a while in the rain and got to the Thousand Gates temple.
It was loaded with tourists and gates.
We took a bunch of pictures and worked our way up the hill through the gates.
We would climb the hill a while then come to a flat area with some stuff, then climb some more.
As we climbed the crowds died down and the rain came and went so sometimes we had our umbrellas up and sometimes not. Bean rode in the front pack and Kentaro’s sister rode in hers. We had gotten the girls matching hats and it was adorable.
The gates went up the mountain a long way and we went farther than most people but eventually decided we had better head back.
We went back to the cars and rode farther into Kyoto. We parked hear the main terminal for trains and busses and subway and it was giant. We got some maps and information then got bus passes and made our way to the bus stop. The bus came and we piled on. We all got seats but it was crowded and hot. The bus trip took a long time and several people in our group fell asleep. Eventually we got to our stop and everyone was happy to hop off.
We decided to take a lunch break and go into a roman noodle shop. We probably ordered too much food but it was really good. Peanut was not really interested in ordering the noodles and got chicken nuggets but once he tried the soup he ended up eating a bunch of it as well.
After lunch we headed to the golden temple.
It was pretty amazing. I read that parts of it are lined with gold foil and I suspect the other parts are painted but it is pretty striking in the beautiful green garden.
The Saturday afternoon tourists were swarming the place.
We followed a path around the temple but never got super close. We worked our way out of the garden and back to the bus stop. We hopped on and made our way to Nijojo Castle.
This castle was not tall like the others but was really big. We got to go inside but could not take pictures. The other castles had been destroyed and rebuilt but this one was original and full of really old artwork.
The artwork was really nice and covered the ceilings and walls in giant murals for each room. There were also rooms with manikins reenacting famous events in history that happened in the castle.
After the castle we hopped back on the bus and went back to the terminal and the cars. We were already a little late for a BBQ at KK’s cousins house. We drove over to a really nice big house.
We had a great night eating beef, chicken, lamb and octopus. Plus salad and mushrooms and peppers and stuff. It was all great and we got to drink some local beer and they made fresh ground hot coffee. They had a daughter and an iPad so Peanut felt at home.
We ate dessert and took a group shot and said our goodbyes. We headed back to KK’s sisters house to shower and get ready for bed. It would be another early morning so we made some plans and went right to sleep.