Kyoto (2)

Kyoto is considered the most beautiful city in Japan by many. It was Japan’s capital for a very long time, so there are lots of temples, pavillions and gardens that refer to that period. Kyoto is packed with unesco-heritage spots! Nevertheless, the atmosphere in the city is quite relaxed.

Kyoto geisha
Geisha vending machine

It’s only a 2.5h drive away. I have no idea why it took us almost one year to visit this magnificent place for the second time. Last summer it was in the midst of a heath wave. This time we took our umbrellas out. The rain definitely didn’t spoil the magnificence of the temples and gardens and probably freed us from the crowds.

Kyoto rain season
The rain probably saved us from the crowds

This time we would start in the south, stay the night in the center and visit the north part of town on the second day.

First day: south Kyoto

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If there is one festival you shouldn’t miss…

it’s Kyoto’s Gion Matsuri on the 17th of July. It was on a Tuesday, so we weren’t able to see the big procession of floats, but the preparations that start 3 days before (the so called ‘Yoiyama’, leading up to the event) are equally worth a visit. So we impulsively decided on Friday to go on a last minute weekend trip.¬† It’s only a two-hour drive from Toyota. Accomodation was still available but a bit more expensive and it was worth it. We were stunned by Kyoto: it is beautiful, peaceful and quiet, we loved the city and will definitely return. Unfortunately last weekend was the hottest in years, with temperatures rising to 37 degrees. Our little one courageously survived the baby carrier.

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As Gion Matsuri is the festival of the Yasaka shrine, of course we visited that one and walked through the Gion district. We also visited the famous red temples Kiyomizu-dera and we spent quite some time hiding from the heath in the oldest Zen Temple in Kyoto: Kennin-ji. Kairikya serves delicious ramen!

Disaster continues: heat wave takes its toll

After the heavy rains earlier this month, causing floods and landslides, now a heat wave plagues Japan. According to Japan News the death toll has risen to over 30 and over 10.000 have been taken to hospitals. On Wednesday temperatures up to 40.7 degrees were measured, breaking all records since record-keeping began. These unseen temperatures have¬† made it even more difficult for disaster victims and rescue workers in flood-hit towns, because water supply can’t be restored.

As for us: we almost melted on our Kyoto trip last weekend. Kyoto attained the highest temperatures in the country. We pittied the construction workers challenged by the extreme heat. ‘Luckily’ they had jackets with built-in fans. We are hiding from the heat and taking refuge in air-conditioned rooms. So if anyone asks us why we haven’t ridden our bikes yet, this is why!

built-in fan jacket
Luckily construction workers make use of jackets with built-in fans. Still we do not envy them!