Very pleased with myself this morning.
I used the Kyoto municipal bus service just like a local, and saved myself a heap of money in taxi fares.
Today has been a free day on the tour. That is, no activities have been organised. Despite very tired feet, legs and, well, all of me, after yesterday's marathon 10 hour walk around the place, I had decided that I wasn't going to miss the experience of walking the 'Path of Philosophy'.
I bought a day bus ticket from a vending machine, located the bus I needed, and fought my way on board alongside masses of uniformed school children and morning commuters. Armed with a map and a feel for the local geography I watched for the stop I needed, and thankfully made the right choice. No English signs. No English spoken. But, as I said, I was pleased with myself. I found the start of the Path of Philosophy and began to wander along it at a very relaxed pace.
Apparently this path was the favoured route taken by a philosophy professor at Kyoto University for his daily walk. On the basis of my experience this morning, that professor was a wise and fortunate man. Walking the path was an experience I will long remember. I felt no hurry. I drank in the surroundings and left the path here and there to visit a temple or shrine. Absolute serenity!
There are places to stop and eat or just to sit and reflect along the couple of kilometres the path lasts. It begins near the Ginkaku-ji Tempke and ends at the site of the Nanzen-ji Temple. There a some wonderfully serene and beautiful sites along the way.
Leaving the Nanzen-ji Temple I headed back towards central Kyoto, but the map and the streets had only a passing acquaintance so I quickly became geographically disoriented. With map in hand I asked a passing Japanese gentleman where I was. He very courteously showed me the way and soon I found myself back on a bus route. Being a seasoned bus traveller, I rested my feet and reached my next destination, the Yasaka Temple, with little further bother.
The final project this morning was to revist the Kiomizidera Temple area which was a short walk from the Yasaka Temple. My map told me so, and thankfully, it was. Kiomizidera area is a delightful touristy shopping area for traditional Japanese crafts. Unfortunately the prices are generally eye watering. I bought a fan for 3500 Yen, which is about $40 Australian. I could inagine it on our wall at home and told myself it was worth it. The ceramics were another step again more expensive so none were purchased.
Just before lunch I walked down the hill through the alleys lined with beautiful shops and caught a bus back to the hotel. Time now to rest and recuperate before heading off to an apprentice Geisha performance and Tea Ceremony this afternoon which, while not cheap, will hopefully be a memorable experience. Somehow I don't think I will be encouraged to take photos.