Tuesday, June 18, 2013


Kyoto was the imperial capital of Japan for over a thousand years and history is evident on every street corner. The city is dotted with palaces, castles, temples and shrines and is often considered the cultural seat of Japan.

We arrived in Kyoto just ahead of tropical storm Lipi and it rained the entire time we were there.  Although we didn't do justice to all the historical sights, we bravely battled the elements to visit a few special spots.

Here we are at Nijo Castle, the home of the Tokugawa Shogunate.  The most fascinating feature of this castle are the "nightingale" floorboards, which "whistle" every time anyone steps on it. Frankly, I thought is just sounded like regular creaking. Just think of it as the earliest known form of a burglar alarm system :)

We spent quite a lot of time at Nishiki Market, the Kitchen of Kyoto, because there were so many interesting ingredients, cooked food and tempting desserts. And also plenty of shade to keep us dry!  I ended up buying two special Japanese kitchen knives for my sister and I to try out our Iron Chef skills.

The Gion district is a historical area dating back from the Middle Ages, which is now more well known as the home of the geisha.  In spite of the inclement weather, we were very fortunate to spot a geisha leaving her home on the way to work.  While she was protective of her privacy, I couldn't pass up the photo opportunity.  Happy to have witnessed yet another cultural icon of Japan.

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