Friday, March 8, 2013

Osaka and Kyoto, Japan

After 5 days at sea we arrived into Japan.  It was an ordeal just getting off the ship.  The entire ship had to line up for a face to face meeting with Japanese immigration.  We were fingerprinted and given special landing cards.  We even had to carry with us to the meeting whatever bags we were carrying ashore.

Naturally they never even looked inside them.  Good thing, we had been warned by the travel agents on board to carry toilet paper and water so everyone had their rolls of tissue in their bags ready to go!

Carolyn and I opted for the full day panoramic tour of Kyoto since Osaka is mainly a big port city.

We did get a quick glimpse of Osaka Castle which unfortunately is closed on Mondays.

Kyoto, Japan's original capital, on the other hand is a combination of ancient Japan and new Japan with a real mixture of architecture and innumerable Shinto and Buddhist temples and shrines.



When the US was determining where to drop the atomic bombs on Japan, Kyoto was spared because the US Secretary of War had honeymooned here and thought it too beautiful to destroy.

Old and new live side by side here.

We even saw these geishas waiting for their ride.

The Imperial Palace is located here although not often frequented by the Japanese royal family.

We traveled past Nijijo Castle, a famous local landmark...


And a phenomenal number of shrines, temples and Tori gates.....


We stopped and visited the Golden Pavilion which houses relics of Buddha and is covered in gold leaf  and dates to 1397. 

Nearby is where the shogun lived and even those buildings were beautiful...

And this Bonsai tree shaped liked a ship was originally planted 600 years ago...

This ancient bell is rung every New Year 108 times.  That is based on the Japanese belief that all people are born with 108 evils and have to live their lives with hard work and good deeds to rid themselves of these evils.  It is also where we get the saying, ring out the old and ring in the new year!

So here's my Japanese experience anecdote.  Like I told you early we heard a great deal about toilets prior to disembarking.  Thankfully we only experienced western ones with the exception that they were very high tech.  Toilet seats are all heated and there a host of buttons and gizmos next to each one that we didn't have a clue what they did....that is until Carolyn accidentally bumped into hers while seated.  Next thing she knew, she was in bidet central!!  Water starting squirting up all over the place to make sure she was very clean.  It went on so long she abandoned ship and later asked me if she had water all over the back of her pants!!!

Needless to say we laughed ourselves sick and were careful not to push any buttons and bump into any either.  We have the Japanese toilets under control, it's the Chinese ones that have us worried now!!!

No comments:

Post a Comment