On our last full day in Kyoto we on the recommendation of someone else staying in our room used the bus system to go and see the Golden Pavilion, and the Rock Garden. So after navigating the buses where you have to pay for your ticket as you leave the bus instead of when you board we made it to the Golden Pavilion, which is also known as Rokuon-ji Temple. This was definitely one of the most touristy places we had visited so far but once you have seen the pavilion and the surrounding grounds you can definitely see why. After spending some time in awe of the golden building, and then discussing the amount of effort it must take to keep it looking so good, we began to walk through the grounds, which took us around the lake (large pond), past several statues and through the gardens. As we walked through we passed several pots where the aim is to get a coin in to gain good fortune. We both missed. Once we had walked through the grounds we passed the tea house, which as with most tea houses in places we have visited was not open to the public.
On leaving the Golden Pavilion we walked to the Rock Garden, which we were definitely skeptical about paying an entrance fee for but ended up enjoying it more than a lot of what we had already seen. The Rock Garden is at the back of the grounds, with the path leading you up through a peaceful set of gardens and past a lake (again probably just a large pond). Before you enter the Ryoanji Temple to see the garden you have to take your shoes off and place them in a small cubby hole. Once inside we walked through a short part outside part indoor passageway to the garden, which kinda remind me of Hogwarts/Oxford university. Then you reach the Rock Garden, which we sat on the edge of and lost ourselves in for a while. I don’t know if it was part of the designs intention but it drew you in to a sort of meditative state. It is crazy to me how something so simple could have such a profound effect on the way you feel. This mindset seemed to be extended and encouraged by the rest of the building and the grounds. Before heading to explore the rest of the grounds we settled on the edge of a passage way and talked for a while about the way this space would have looked and been used when it was first created. As well as how it will be viewed and used in the future.
Having finished exploring the area we endeavoured to get back to the city centre, which took us longer than it should have because there is no queueing system, which we didn’t realise until our bus had left. On our second attempt we made it onto a bus and into town, where we stopped in a grocery shop to get some lunch, I had cucumber maki, and some potato croquettes which we ate near the Imperial Palace which due our lack of planning we never saw the inside of due to it being closed. So after a walk and a bus back to near our hostel, we decided to get ourselves a small gift to ourselves, so naturally I purchased myself some chopsticks. I know, I know very basic.
Then through a series of attempts to go to different recommended food places we found a small family run ramen place, which served us the best miso based ramen I could have dreamed of, and lucky for use there was no cabbage, but instead beansprouts which I could eat everyday. Then it was back to the hostel to prepare to travel back to Tokyo the next day.