Kyoto, city of temples

In our Kyoto AirBnB. Very, very, traditional Japanese style, including low doorways and thin mats.In the neighborhood where our AirBnB was - a driving training area

Disaster preparadness storage area under train tracksThe outside moat of Nijo Castle

Inside the castle

The inside moatFrom the top of the watchtower platform

Little sticks with nearly invisible string were set out, I assume to discourage ducksBeautiful gardens

Interesting bench

Workers were fixing the concrete steps of the house next to our AirBnBWe walked along a little stream west of our house for a while

I saw these water bottles next to houses, all over the streets. I assumed it's a disaster preparedness thing, but then when looking it up, it appears people do it to repel cats!At a restaurant. This one was not a winner

In the Arashiyama area. We went there primarily to go to the Monkey park, but turns out it's a big tourist area!

Monkeys galore!This monkey baby was being groomed, clutching leaves in both hands.

Feeding time

Sometimes they got a little feisty

Along the Katsura river

We had lunch at a peaceful riverside restaurant. They led us to the one table that actually had chairs - at the others, you sat on mats.

The streets in the Arashiyama district had lots of tourists!Peter, posing in the style of some of the Japanese ladies we've seen

At a smoking rest area in one of the templesJapanese style RV

Kenny at the local Indian restaurant. He was very happy to have some curry.The little stream that runs east of Horikawa Dori. Would have been a nice place to walk

The park around the Kyoto Imperial Palace. There were some CRAZY wide gravel avenues.

At the info center of the palace

Beautiful gardens

This man was manually plucking every single plum off this tree. It must have taken hours

Sweeping the leaves up, with a little straw whisk. This is why everything is so clean! But you'd think they would use a blower or something to make it faster.The bento selection at a local convenience store

On the Philosophers Path

On the way home, saw a family in kimonos on the bus

... and a boy in a school uniform, complete with cap and fancy school bagOn our way to the railway museum, we walked through a very active fish processing area

Kenny as a conductor or an old bullet trainThe public toilets at the museum had the same fancy, complex self-washing features that the toilets found in most homes do

The new bullet train will look like thisBuilding an arc

Peter is self propelled on a train trackWhy train wheels are shaped as they are

Pretending to be a conductor

At the old steam trainDoing a bullet train simulation

A kid's meal at the Tenkaippin restaurant, which mainly carried the Kyoto style of ramen soup with heavy broth (which tasted like essence of fried chicken)

This is how you buy celery here - in single sticks!It's always a jolt to see the Buddhist symbol, which looks like a swastika, but laying flat and turned the other direction.

At Fushimi Inari Taisha, a Shinto shrineThe gravel is very smooth because it's layered on a criss-cross mat. It looks like it's been raked smooth, but it's caused by the crossgrain of the mat

The fox, wirh red bib, is a Shinto messenger of Oinari, the god of food, farmers, and the rice harvest.More good-fortune sticks for sale

Smoothly "raked" gravelA fortune teller

There are thousands of the orange gates at this shrine

Throw in a coin, maike a wish, pick up the stone. If it feels light, your wish may be granted

Most temples had a little ritual washing areaA bamboo shoot

Another one, just poking it's head out of the ground

There are miles of paths with little shrines along the side

Outside of the shrine are the food stalls. Kenny had orange juice, Eric had grilled meatA really interesting star-shaped lincoln log type building

This was by far my favorite street food - fish shaped pancakes filled with either red bean paste or a custard paste. Extremely tasty!Octopus fritters. I didn't try them, but they were for sale everywhere

I waited here while Eric and the kids went to a cat cafeThe manager of the cat cafe

A day trip to Nara, and our first views of the famous Nara deer

They clustered around the spots where tourists could buy deer biscuitOnce you'd bought the biscuits, the deer got a little aggressive!

Run away, run away!The deer grabbed this map from me and ran away with it. Another tourist grabbed it back for me

This volunteer guide talked with us for quite a while about the sights in Nara. He had worked in London for 10 years, in the securities businessThe deer will bow for food if you prompt them

Lots of pretty little canals running through the park and temple groundsAt the Kasuga-taisha shrine, known for it's stone lanterns

There were many tourists, but you could also get off the beaten track fairly easily

Deer feeding time

Practicing the bowingThe sign says "There are no public trash cans. Please take your own trash with you." This is true - there were really NO public trash cans. But still no litter.

An ice cream vending machineMost temples had a little rest area with benches, usually with red cloths on them.

This building was made from logs cut in a triancular shape, assembled log cabin style

A dragon protects this fountainA nice view from this temple

This bench was made without nails or screws

In another little rest area. This one actually offered free hot tea, and was heated as wellA beautiful set of steps. These long sets of steps were frequently challenging, because each step was taller than normal

A stream on the way to the temple Todai-jiTodai-ji Buddhist temple, with the world's largest brass Buddha statue

There were a group of older people in bright yellow windbreakers who were volunteer guides to the temple. One of them (a former femployee of Komatsu) was showed us around and was very friendly. This is a diagram of how the bronze statue was castPeter lit a candle

The main Buddha statueA side statue - one of the gods maybe?

Crawling through a hole at the base of a pillar. Supposedly it's the same size as a nostril of the Buddha statue, and if you are able to crawl through, you attain enlightenment!Eric lit some incense at the temple

On the main road back to the station was a building demonstrating techniques to avoid earthquake damage. Kenny is sitting in this chair that is programmed to shake at the same strength as some of the recent earthquakes

The building itself models earthquake building techniques. Below ground level, you can see the shock-absorbers.

At the shopping arcade next to the station. We went to a McDonalds here. The cheeseburgers and hamburgers are the same as in the US, the chicken burger was definitely different.At the Kiyomizu-dera temple

We thought this monster statue looked like the demogorgon in the tv show Stranger Things

These men were prepping the bark to rebuild the cypress bark roof of the temple. It was an amazing amount of work for each bit of barkThis is the bark as it came to them

Statues with red bibs on them. These may represent Jizo, a Buddhist saint.The road leading north from Kiyomizu-dera. Full of tourist stores, but very interesting.

A soap store - the soap was actually squishy!Amazing - this tiny, very Japanese looking stores is actually a Starbucks!

There was another Starbucks sign higher up on the building. Overall, very easy to miss.Two geishas

A view into a lovely tea shopPeter had lots of fun feeding the pidgeons at Maruyama Park

There were also some feral cats there, which would occasionally make little runs at the pidgeonsHe enticed them to come up on his leg, but once they did, it was maybe too close!

Nice bench, but the top was so slick you couldn't lean back and support yourself on your hands, because they would slipThe Shoren-in Monzeki temple.

Some very impressive beams supporting the temple entrance

There was a massive scaffolding structure for a rebuild of the roof

Many 1, 5, and 10 yen coins were scattered aboutThe woodworking on the walkway built to route around the building project was very well done. You can barely see the join in the wood here.

Back out the temple

Very impressive stonework on the floor of the temple entranceThis is at Okazaki park. We knew something was goinig on, but couldn't figure out what

Turned out to be an antique car showPeter had more fun with the pidgeons

I like what the AirBnB owner did with the crumbly concrete around the entryway - just putting these black pebbles around it makes it look much better