Above, run around the shrine time (which was only allowed because there were Japanese children running around too).
Jane enjoys the hand washing.
Colin saw someone put water on their feet so he had to give it a go.
Stroller snack time.
Just waiting for Brian to come home so we can go to Toy Story 3. There is a showing in English not far from our apartment.
I think we are going back to Kyoto tomorrow and Saturday, it it just that good.
We finally made it to Kyoto for Brian's day off yesterday. It was a very hot day and we walked nearly 8 and a half miles (actually it was 8.34 in Kyoto, we looked it up on walkjogrun.net. I am sure we did the other .2 in Kobe). There was one day in Paris when we also walked 8 miles when I was pregnant with Jane so we have a history of 8 mile walks. We love our wandering tourisim. It is the best way way with kids who need frequent stops and we got to see some really amazing things on and off the beaten path. I will have to have Brian fill in details, he pays attention to where we are going and the names of things. It was such a fun day, even with the extreme sweating. Our kids were such great little troopers. They really are great travel kids.
One of my favorite parts of the day was wandering through a very large cemetery area. It was so beautiful and peaceful and no other tourists, or anyone for that matter. Kyoto is amazing because it is just temple and shrine after temple and shrine.
We stopped here for a run around for our kids because there was a group of Japanese kids playing and making a lot of noise. We have told Colin so many times that these are special places where we have to be quiet and respectful so he was very amazed to find kids playing. We followed their lead and let the kids play. There was a very cute little Japanese boy who kept touching Jane's head. Colin found a group of three somewhat older boys and it was fun to watch him trying to connect with them. He went from talking to trying to initiate tag to a poking game which actually seemed to get off the ground for a minute. Then he tripped on a rock and skinned his knee a bit.
Jane made a slide.
It's our understanding that the brightly colored shrines and temples relate to the Shinto rituals, and are more concerned with events for the living- births, weddings etc. And the darker colored structures tend to be Buddhist and deal more in rituals surrounding the dead. This may or may not be an accurate summary.
Sometimes we let kids ride on top of the stroller.
Where is Colin?
There were little stands of bamboo forest here and there. It's cool to see the different types of vegetation.
This is at the Silver Temple. It's right up against the mountains on the east side of Kyoto. The gardens (as you can see) are immaculate. Every tiny bit of vegetation is tended to. We saw a man with a little broom sweeping up every little bit of dropped plant material in one of the wooded areas.
One of the buildings at the silver temple. There were also areas of white sand that were meticulously sculpted, supposedly to enhance the effect of moonlight at night.
We got this photo after carrying the stroller with sleeping Jane up lots and lots of stairs.
I liked our stroller's reflection in this random old tv.
We walked the entire 3 km of the Philosopher's Path. It was so lovely.
This is the gateway to one temple. It is the largest gate of its kind in Japan.
I think these lanterns may relate to Gion Matsura, one of Japan's largest festivals that took place here about a week ago. Leading up to the festival they have three evenings of celebration. They are called the eve, the eve-eve, and the eve-eve-eve (English translation).
Kyoto is an interesting blend of zen paradise and bustling city. This is on one side of the street, and below is the other side.
Before heading back to the train we wandered through this pedestrian neighborhood, called Sannen-zaka. Things seem to take a break on Monday, since the Saturday and Sunday are nonstop activity here. Se we caught this picturesque district during an uncharacteristically quiet time. Walking by one house, we heard someone playing a traditional plucked instrument, maybe a Koto. It was kind of magical, though I'm sure it would be fun with everything open.
The other night we got some dinner close to Brian's work and headed over to let the kids cool off. I stumbled upon this once night when Brian was working and let the kids get wet in their clothes (on the way home Colin hid in the back of the stroller only in his wet undies, Jane's bib and covered by our mei tei). This time were were more prepared with water ware.
One of these things is not like the other.
Once an hour, the fountain does a little show with music and the water shoot up very high. Our kids were screaming with delight, and screaming way more than the other kids.
Progression of what happens when water goes up your shirt.
(So many photos! Since I figured out an easy was to add lots of photos, I seem to have photo diarrhea. Sorry.)
To continue our festivities for Brian's birthday, we climbed more stairs in Kitano. There were lots of stairs as it is right up on the mountain side. I love Jane's little flower dress.
We got intense flavored sorbets. Very yummy. We really needed something cold.
This is maybe my new favorite photo of my kids. Jane leads a rich stroller life right now but she was happy to get in and eat her cone. After the ice cream stop, we headed home to shower again and change out of our disgusting sweat clothes.
Jane decorated Brian's back pack with the party hats.
She was very proud of herself. I thought she was very clever in how she used to zipper to hold up all the hats.
Right as the sun was setting, we went back to the mountains but this time to ride up a cable car over Kobe. Such fun!!! We all loved it. I was sitting by Colin and he kept giving me little hugs of excitement. I can't remember the last time I was in a cable car and the views were beautiful.
Jane was thrilled.
Here was are at the top. We went up with one of Brian's co-workers and her family and she got this photo of us, moon and all.
We had a snack of crackers, cheese and ham.
Looked through telescopes.
Colin called this His Majesty's Bench.
Then this morning, we had saved and shared a couple of the treats we got for Brian after the kids were asleep (a cream roll and some eclairs. There is a lot of good dairy fat in Japan!) Jane was delighted and abandoned her aloe yogurt when there was a treat option. When Jane realized it was Brian's birthday the first thing she said was "I want birthday cake with fire!" No fire but a fun birthday.