japan part two: kyoto.

We were up bright and early to board one of the faster bullet trains to get to kyoto. It would take about 8 hours to drive to kyoto; we made it two hours, flat! 
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Kyoto had a charming, old world kind of vibe to it. Im so glad we ventured into this part of Japan to see some of these sites.
Our first stop was Arashiyama to see the Bamboo forest.

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ext we walked over to the Iwatayama Monkey park. I wasnt so sure what to expect out of this. i read that you hike up hill and when you get to the top there are wild monkeys around and you see panoramic views of Kyoto.  Milo was asking if we were going to hike on this trip, so I figured this would be a good opportunity to see some nature, and possibly a monkey or two. Well, when we got towards the top of the hike, I could start to hear monkeys. We got a little further, and there was one. And another. And a few more. Oh wait, THERE WERE A WHOLE BUNCH OF MONKEYS at the top of the hike! and they were loose and everywhere and were walking right past my feet. They tell you not to look directly at them, or touch them, so I was kind of scared when they would just run past me or plop down next to me….but it was certainly a site to see.  And the view was pretty awesome too! They had a shelter you can go into and the monkeys climb the outside and you can feed them peanuts. This was wild! They take the peanuts right out of your hand and eat them. This was milo’s favorite part of the trip.

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We grabbed lunch and then headed to Kinkaku-Ji, the Golden Temple. We lit a candle for our family’s health while we were there.

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Milo made a friend on the bus. 
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We stayed at hotel across the street from Kyoto station. We learned there was a cherry blossom festival at night about a 10 minute walk from the station, so we went to check it out. Holy Moley! If you thought the cherry blossoms were something during the day, they were a whole other story at night. Just gorgeous! We felt so fortunate we were there to see the blossoms in bloom! 
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The next day was calling for rain, so we tried to get as much in as possible before the rain started. We started at Kiyomizu-dera Temple. The grounds were really beautiful. Before you enter the temple, you can enter the Tainai-meguri, which is pitch black dark winding hallway that takes you to a giant precious rock. When you do this, you are symbolically entering the womb of a female bodhi­sattva. When you approach the rock in the darkness, you stop and make a wish.

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We took a quick stroll through Gion, the Geisha district, but it was still pretty early, so most things were closed.
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Our last stop in Kyoto before the rain hit was the Fushimi-Inari Taisha.
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We had lunch at vegans cafe, which was fantastic by the way, and on our way there we walked down a street where cherry blossoms hung so and felt like they were engulfing us as we walked. It was so magical and probably my favorite part of the whole trip!!
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(the first part of my photos can be found here)

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