To Recap: In May, 2012 I went to Asia on the “Three-Countries-Three-Weeks-Three-Kids” tour. The first stop on this once-in-a-lifetime trip was Shanghai, followed by several days in Seoul. Now I was footloose and fancy-free (i.e., lost a lot) in Kyoto, Japan. I found one of the most beautiful and interesting places I’ve ever seen — just search for “Kyoto (Part Two)” through “Kyoto (Part Nine)“. (Yeah, that’s a lot of pictures of one place.) The next day my daughter didn’t have classes so she started showing me the other sights of Kyoto, including beautiful and ancient temples.
There are many temples and shrines at the base of the mountains along the eastern edge of Kyoto. At the south end of this stretch are the large Konchi-In and Nanzen-Ji temples. Walking north from there you see small and mid-sized sites, such as this.
In just a hundred meters or so, you find the sidewalk accompanied by a stream. This is the legendary Philosopher’s Path of Kyoto.
The path wanders from side to side of the stream, an oasis in a very busy and crowded city. Just a block or two off to the left you’ll find yourself on a crowded commercial area, which is great for finding lunch or something to drink.
The path is lined by cherry trees — the pictures you see of it in spring with all of the trees in blossom are nothing less than spectacular. In May, it was green, green, and more green.
As you can see, the path is crowded with shrines and temples. It’s an easy walk (150 meters or so) from the subway station to the first shrines at the south end. From there it’s just a bit more than a kilometer to the north end of the Philosopher’s Path.
There are humongous carp in the stream.
There are ducks in the bushes along the banks. There were small herds of feral cats. No doubt there were other critters that we didn’t see. No sign of any monkeys, but I wouldn’t rule them out given the number of other places in the area where I saw signs warning about them.
At the north end of the Path you get deposited onto a busy street. From there the nearest subway station is to your west a kilometer or so. It’s not an unpleasant walk.
We found a Domino’s Pizza next to Kamogawa River Park and confused the hell out of them by ordering a pizza to go. Apparently the norm there is for everything to be delivered using some snazzy little motor scooters and paid for by credit card. They had no idea what to do with the wacky Americans who wanted to order a pizza, pay cash for it, and wait outside until it was done so it could get handed to them through the window. In the end, both they and I got a great story out of it.
From here, the Imperial Palace Gardens are along the route to the subway, but it was getting dark so we skipped them. Instead we ate pizza in the park and watched storks and herons fishing for dinner in the river, while people crossed the river by jumping from one stone block to another. I’m thinking it’s more challenging during the rainy season.