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Kyoto was a whirlwind. We, alas, only had time to see two sights: Higashi Hongan-ji (down the street from our hotel) and the aquarium.

Temple

We stumbled upon Higashi Hongan-ji (temple), which is undergoing renovation but is still partly open to the public. It’s interesting to spy the pre-renovated temple under the scaffolding vs. the part that’s already completed; they’re doing an amazing job at cleaning and brightening it.



The most moving part of this exploration, however, was seeing part of a Buddhist ceremony; I don’t know what kind (Shin apparently), but the chanting was spectacular. I am not a person inclined toward meditation in the “traditional” sense, but this put me in an almost meditative state. And me being who I am, it gave me Mirage thoughts, such as wondering how closely this ceremony might resemble things Naoe would take part in in his day job.


(People gather for a Buddhist ceremony)

There was also a giant yellow koi that was a joy to watch!



(Banana fish)

Aquarium

The aquarium looks much like aquariums in the United States, but it was fun. We saw giant salamanders and a dolphin show, possibly the first one I’ve been to since Marine World when I was thirteen. The dolphins seemed to be having a good time, but it seems like a waste of a dolphin’s intelligence to have it, in essence, do a series of “dog tricks.” I hope they are happy dolphins. We were there on a weekday, but the aquarium was still very crowded, mostly with families with kids. It was nice to the kids enjoying all the critters.


(Just like Marine World)


(Like something out of a '50s B science fiction movie)


The City

It feels like we spent a lot of time trekking through the city in the sweltering sun. We stopped off to see a free exhibit about the summer float celebration, which helped explain to me the division of a region into "cho."

We also found a nifty place for lunch where you select your order through a vending machine-like device but a real person cooks it and brings it to you. This is a very good system, very fast and hassle free. The food almost across the board has been excellent!

I wish I had something deeper to say about Kyoto, but that fact is it was hot, we were rushed, and my main impression is of rather uncomfortable rapid bouncing between spots with Kyoto itself being a bounce between Nagoya and Hiroshima. That’s a bit sad for the ancient capital, but we really didn’t have the time. The chanting was fantastic though.

* Photos by Marshall
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