Lost & Found in Kyoto – Dec. 30 ’07

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We started wondering around Kyoto after dropping off our stuff and ended up getting on the wrong bus line. Whoops. Needless to say for the hundredth time we ended up lost. I took a picture of this map (one of the few that had English on it in Kyoto) so we wouldn’t get even more lost. It didn’t work out too well. But this does give you a cool look at Kyoto.

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See the “You are here” mark on the map? This is it! It’s the Kamo River which runs straight through Kyoto. The riverbanks are popular walks for residents and tourists. In summer, restaurants open balconies looking out to the river. Though the water level is usually relatively low (like the picture here), during the rainy season, these pathways sometimes flood in their lower stretches. We decided to follow the river to get unlost.
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These trees were growing along the river…why are they wearing skirts?
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Finally a major landmark! We found the Kyoto Gosho, the Kyoto Imperial Palace where the Emperor once lived. However the Emperor has been staying in Tokyo since 1869 during the Meiji Restoration. This is just one of the entrances to the huge Palace. The inside is only open to the public twice a year: on the holiday that celebrates the Emperor’s birthday (December 23) and on January 2nd for the New Years Holiday.

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You can see here how huge the grounds of the Imperial Palace are. You can barely see the end of it in this picture. Some of the trees are ancient too and the old limbs are being held up by wooden poles cemented into the ground.
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We oriented ourselves from the Imperial Palace and found Nijō Castle! It was a sweet place from the outside! But sadly we couldn’t go in because they were gearing up for New Years Celebrations.
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The front of the castle. We assumed the sign said ‘Closed for New Years’ (because many other places were) but we weren’t sure.

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This is a cool picture. It looks kind of creepy! It had gotten dark while we were exploring the castle grounds. The surface area of the castle is 275,000 square meters, of which 8000 square meters is occupied by buildings! It’s crazy big!

Check out some more new pictures I put on my previous Kyoto post!

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