Today, Dave and I took the Shinkansen from Shinagawa to Kyoto. It was a little over a two hour trip. 

I took a few pictures in the station because I LOVE the Shinkansen. It’s such an easy, comfortable, and convenient way to travel around Japan. 

We arrived in Kyoto around 1300. We dropped our bags with the concierge at our hotel and went out to eat lunch. We found a ramen joint. We both were happy because we haven’t enjoyed good ramen in a couple months. 

We returned to the hotel to check in and crank down the AC. My English student, Manami, helped me plan out our schedule. We needed to hit the ground running to see the “best of Kyoto Temples” during our visit. We caught a taxi from the Ryōan-ji Temple. The Ryōan-ji Temple is famous for it beautiful 15 stone rock garden. There are indeed 15 rocks. Dave and I both counted. The significance of 15 rocks is unknown. More significant is the lack of trees and presence of only the 15 rocks and white gravel. The garden dates back to the 1500s. 

Just as impressive were the moss gardens and pond. 

The second Temple we went to visit was the world famous Rokuon-ji Temple. More widely known as The Golden Pavilion. It was breathtaking. If only the pond water was still! The Golden Pavilion is justly named. It is covered in actual gold leaf! 

Our visit in the afternoon summer sun was perfect for pictures. The gold was stunning. 

The gardens were beautiful as well. 

We returned to our hotel after visiting the Temples and decided to eat at the Beer Garden on the roof of our hotel. It was an amazing view. We were surrounded by mountains. More importantly, we watched the Shinkansen roll through every 2-3 minutes! All of this while watching the sunset. I told Dave I have developed a train crush on the Shinkansen. It’s truly my favorite way to travel!