Off to Kyoto

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 10:03 PM Posted by Hikari Studio

The next day I decided to set out for Kyoto following my return from Nagoya. This was one of the places I really wanted to visit after hearing about the older style buildings and beautiful fall colors the city can be known for. I woke up at 5 am that morning and set out with my friend towards Tokyo around 5:30 am as this is his usual commute time. There's something to be said for the Japanese working life but that will be saved for a later entry.

I got to Tokyo not too long after that, grabbed a boxed bento and a beer for the Shinkansen and grab some shots while waiting for the train. One of the things I came to appreciate was waiting for the Shinkansen on the days I arrived early. The rush of people and constant movement of trains can be something to admire endlessly at times.

Upon arriving in Tokyo it took some effort to familiarize myself with the subway map there before eventually taking a chance on what I figured was the correct train, luckily it was. A few stations over I got out and decided to walk the rest of the way towards the mountain side temple I had decided on during the Shinkansen ride there. The city core looks quite similar to any other city core around Japan but once you get a few steps out you begin to notice what Kyoto is really known for. The older architecture and buildings begin to peer through and before you know it you're wandering up a tiny road between buildings towards a popular attraction.

I quickly was surprised to see the already narrow streets become even narrower before stumbling across the one lane road packed with visitors and students off to see the temple. The road leading up to it is lined with small restaurants, souvenir and sweet shops, every one with their own distinct flavor. A few steps into the crowd and I noticed the elementary level students paying an extra amount of attention to me. A few more steps further I was stopped by a pack of them and asked if I wouldn't mind taking a picture with them. It was a little emberassing to be stopped in a big crowd of people to pose for a picture but funny in the end. I didn't think too much of it beyond a funny story to tell and continued on. Along the way there were a few more glances, a few hellos and even a high five from some of the other students there.

Now initially I was starting to become a little surprised but at the same time noticing the subtle differences between Kyoto and Tokyo. Overall the people were incredibly friendly, not just the students either. The atmosphere was very different from the big city where everyone was on a schedule or in a rush to get somewhere.

Finally after getting inside the temple I began to revel at the chance of photographing people in such a nice setting and began to wander around getting candid shots of people. Along the way I ended up getting stopped around 6 more times for pictures and questions. There ended up being quite a lot of students there that day from various schools. Some of them had some assignments which included approaching English speakers and asking a few questions.

I actually ended up wandering around the temple and side streets for almost the entire day in Kyoto before walking all the way back to the main station towards the setting sun. On my way back I stumbled across another shrine which was closed for the day but one I was intent on seeing.

Before I boarded the train back that evening I had already decided to come back the next morning. I mulled over the idea of grabbing a hotel but figured I'd just spend the evening doing photo editing and writing, something I could do on the train ride back.

I came back the next day and ironically enough found myself back at the temple, this time around I had set out to shoot candids as much as I could. I really enjoyed Kyoto for my 2 days there. Beautiful city and extremely friendly and kind people.

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