Today we started in Kyoto and ended up in Tokyo.
In the morning, we visited the Kiyomizu-dera and Sanjūsangen-dō. We started to see more and more of the selfie sticks. (I guess the choice between genetically engineering people with longer arms or having them buy selfie stick, the stick makes more sense.) Also, when people take selfies in the US, they seem a little self-conscious. In Japan, they have no qualms about getting the shot of themselves that they want.
Sanjūsangen-dō is one of the most beautiful man-made places I’ve ever seen with a massive Buddha in the middle made of wood. It was a very unusual situation in that there were people there to practice their religion and then tourists (including us) were there to witness the beauty. A tenuous balance.
There are over 1000 of these statues and all are handmade in what I could call one of the first assembly lines. Each figure is a puzzle, assembled from multiple pieces. I can’t convey what it was like to be in this temple. It was unworldly for me.
In the afternoon, we took a shuttle to the Kyoto train station and jumped on the BULLET TRAIN bound for Tokyo!! (Just saying bullet train fills me with me expectation.) The first thing you notice is that it’s run much more like a plane then a train. It was as clean and roomy as you want your next flight to be. It was also obviously/unbelievably fast. I was reminded repeatedly that I was not allowed to roll down the windows.
It was night time when we got to our hotel and there was no way I was going to sleep until I got to see Tokyo at night. (If you are fortunate enough to get to Japan, please remember this: Kyoto during the day – preferably in the Fall – and Tokyo at night.) With 13 million people living in the city, I was pretty sure something was happening. I grabbed the first train I could find to Shibuya Crossing. This is one of the busiest intersections in Tokyo and I only know about it from the movie Lost in Translation.