Saturday, April 08, 2006

Hanami in Kyoto

Today I headed into Kyoto for some more hanami action, accompanying crazy hardcore photographer Julius. Julius is a Perth JET who came to Japan the same time as me and lives on Kyushu.

I hadn't seen him since the re-contracting conference so it was good to catch up and check out the beautiful cherry blossoms in Kyoto together. First we headed to Nanzenji and followed the water aqueduct which lead us to the Lake Biwa Canal and water processing plant and some old railway tracks. After hiking up a steep-ass trail we stumbled upon a small temple of some sort before deciding to head back.

Then we made our way to Ginkakuji via 'Tetsugaku no michi' - the Philosopher's Path (Path of Philosophy, Walk of Philosophy, what have you..)

It was crowded but that's because it was so beautiful and 'zen.' It was quite a fair walk but I didn't really notice how long it was because the blossoms were just so captivating. Julius felt very enlightened, I scored 2 bargain, silk scarves from a roadside stall and we both took heaps of photos.

We came across these three dudes, with mascot dog, selling corn soup. Classic.

Sighting my first Haagen-Dazs vending machine, Julius said he's seen a few before

Then we headed to Gion to Yasaka Shrine and Maruyama Park. It was quite dark by then but the lanterns and lit up cherry blossoms were just as amazing. Even moreso beautiful with the light pink petals set against a black sky. During the day it was quite overcast and cloudy (apparently yellow sand blown in from China) so everything just looked pale and white. But at night you could really see how gorgeous the blossoms looked.

They even had little restaurants set up under some trees. The hanami-goers were still in full force at 9pm. It was cold and windy but they were still kicking back - eating, drinking and having a grand ol' time.

This is one of the most famous cherry trees in Japan during hanami time. I saw it last weekend at Hana's farwell picnic. It is a huge-ass 'shidarezakura' (weeping cherry tree) and the main attraction at Maruyama Park.

We also came across some crazy cats in the ghetto, blue tarp section of the park. There were pimped out classic cars parked on the lawn (how did they get there?!) and plenty of pink-faced, sake-fuelled shinanigans.

Julius with people dressed up as Hard Gay (Kansai comedian), Doraemon and the gimp - they were hilarious and the gimp spoke pretty good english too

I also went back to that fish-on-a-stick stall and bought one. Messy to eat, too many bones but sweet and tasty.

And of course we had to have some cotton candy 'wata ame' which reminded us of the sakura.

Japanese style haunted house

Super-sharp-shooter-Julius spots this chick in the Osaka subway with a ... Woolworths shopping bag!?!

Got home before midnight with very sore legs and a very full memory card. Thanks for the company Julius - I had a great time!


Post a Comment

<< Home