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Japan Trip Day 13: Tourist Trap Ahoy!

Today is the day I've dedicated to the tourist traps of a well known city. So I board a local train there first thing in the morning. The urgency of yesterdays post office adventure was simply becuase I'm staying in a different city tonight.

The Golden Pavilion

Since I'm me, I end up walking 45 minutes from the station. I arrive at Kinkaku-ji, or the golden temple. I however, can't read or hear anything about it without thinking about Shino's (from Seitokai Yakuindomo) mishearing of the name "kimbaku-ji", which would mean "the bondage temple."

The temple itself wasn't that impressive. I wasn't expecting much, but I was underwhelmed. It's a building the size of an average single-family house (maybe a bit taller) that is somewhat shiny. From the distance you see it, you can't really tell gold leaf from "gold paint" from a hobby store. The park around it wasn't that special either, compared with other minor parks I've come across during my trip. Clearly looked after, but nothing special in the grand scheme of things. There was a lot of people there, but it felt like I had seen all that there is to see after 20 minutes.

It's a slightly shiny building.

Figure 1 - It's a slightly shiny building.

Kiyomizu-dera

My visit to Kiyomizu-dera starts a bit better. For one, the whole place is a bit bigger. But once again, it's a place that without its history would be quite mediocre. It's a building, built on stilts next to a mountain wall. There's some exhibitions inside. I guess these things just don't excite me much. Somewhat interesting though.

Probably shouldn't jump from there

Figure 2 - Probably shouldn't jump from there

Definitely shouldn't jump from there

Figure 3 - Definitely shouldn't jump from there

Inari-yama Inari Shrine

The final visit of the night. The time is past 5pm, so everything that charges an entrance fee (pretty much everything in Kyoto) is closed. The inari shrine, however, does not, and stays open 24/7! Well, in practice, is closes at around 7pm, when the mosquitoes wake up and start swarming.

The main shrine itself isn't much to write home about, looks fairly typical

Figure 4 - The main shrine itself isn't much to write home about, looks fairly typical

Then there's the climb. These types of shrines are distinct in the way they have more than one gate to enter. The one in Kyoto is mostly famous because it has more than a few gates, it has thousands along the climb to the top-ish of the mountain. Obviously, with the state my feet were in, I just had to walk some more, so I set out to climb the hill.

Don't you dare take a dump on the sacret mountain!

Figure 5 - Don't you dare take a dump on the sacret mountain!

It was like walking up a set of stairs. That doesn't sound too bad, but when you do it for over an hour in humid climate, it gets quite exhausting. By the time I made it to the top, I was completely drenched in sweat.

At the top, you'll find some stairs and this shrine. There, now you don't have to do the climb.

Figure 6 - At the top, you'll find some stairs and this shrine. There, now you don't have to do the climb.

The way down was a lot quicker, probably only taking 10 or 15 minutes. On the way down, I veered off the path and ended up in a residential area. I just kept walking and eventually ended up at the shrine. Lots of walking later and I made it back to the hostel, where I promptly hosed myself off in the shower and did something about my once-again dire laundry situation.

At the Hostel

I had previously checked in at the hostel (between Kiyomizu-dera and Inari Shrine). While there, I had noticed the luggage of what was probably the other 2 people staying in that room. Curious as I am, I started scanning over whatever was left in the open, no touching ofc.. I could tell one of them was definitely a woman. The other one seemingly was a guy. What looked like a guys swimming trunks, bags reminding me of what a manly hiker would use.

One of them gets back, and sure enough, is a woman. Then the other person gets back, and I'm confused. It turns out that it wasn't swimming trunks I saw, just casual shorts for lounging around the hostel. The person does have a fairly high-pitch voice, what you'd expect from a woman or a guy with his nuts stuck in a vice. It took an embarassing amount of time to figure out that this second person is also a woman. If you're reading this, I'm sorry! Your dress style isn't overly feminine, and I'm not used to asian faces. To be fair, I've seen many schoolgirls on the trains here where the skirt was my only clue, or I would've had no idea. I hope that's an acceptable excuse :p

Guessing isn't all that easy sometimes, might be the moral of that story. And with that, I went to sleep.

Other Notes

A lot of children here refer to their parents as "mama" and "papa". I find it very confusing to hear, as I won't expect hearing Japanese in such sentences.


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