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The golden pavilion.

Kinkakuji was the last big stop on our list of things to do, but we had been putting it off because it was on the other side of the city and not at all walkable. We boarded a bus headed that way, and were unexpectedly presented with surveys as we got on. Apparently that day they were conducting a survey of bus passengers, more for demographics I suppose since there were no questions about satisfaction. Unfortunately for the poor survey distributor, I could only manage to read either the question or the answers, and he had to help us fill ours out. Although, it might have been easier on him if he had seemed to grasp that I was asking him questions in Japanese; he kept struggling to answer me in English instead of explaining things to me in simple Japanese like I'd hoped.

It was a long bus ride to the Kinkakuji area, long enough that I started to wonder if we had maybe caught the bus in the wrong direction. We were starving by the time we arrived, and stopped in the first restaurant we saw for lunch. Here I had eel in soba noodles and broth, another very satisfying meal.

We moved on to Kinkakuji, where as expected there were a lot of school groups, and we tried to stay out of their way as we went along. This was particularly difficult when we decided we wanted to buy some charms, and I had to wait out the hoards of schoolkids buying them before even making it up to the window to hand over the money.

It was beautiful, but as with Ginkakuji, we found more enjoyment in the less popular temples. After exiting Kinkakuji, we decided that since we had come all the way out there, we ought to explore the area, and so we picked a direction and started walking. Eventually we came to Ryōanji, which boasted some extensive gardens around a large lily pond. The temple building itself was pleasantly shady, with a wooden deck winding around the exterior. A number of people sat admiring the rock garden, but Katie and I found it more amusing that everyone had to count the rock clusters (there are five). The garden itself, while apparently a fine example of a rock garden, didn't strongly appeal to us. We sat in the shade on the deck for a time before continuing back out of the temple and resuming our walk of the gardens with actual plants.

The garden pond.

The less rock-garden-like view from Ryōanji's deck.

On our return trip, the bus took a route different enough to disorient us, and we got off at Shijō Kawaramachi to be sure we landed somewhere we were familiar with. We bought some surprisingly pie-like pie on the walk back.

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December 2016

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