Thursday, October 5, 2006

Day 7: Kyoto and Tokyo

Kiyomizu Temple. Originally built in 798; rebuilt in 1633.

The interior of Sanjusangendo Hall, a Buddhist temple famous for its 1,001 life-size wooden statues of Kannon (Buddhist goddess of mercy). It was quite a sight, and more than a little creepy. As photographs were not allowed, this is a picture of a postcard I bought.

A street in the Gion district, famous for its geisha houses.

I spotted a geisha, much to my surprise. She scuttled away quickly and disappeared down this narrow alley. I was really tempted to follow her.

Waiting for my train back to Tokyo.

The Park Hyatt Tokyo.

Loved it!


ivanomartin said...

that hotel room looks great. did you make it to the bar?


chanchow said...

The room was fantastic. Had a plasma tv. Bathroom was awesome-- heated toilet seat!

I went to the bar on the top floor (New York Bar, I think it's called), which is the one featured in Lost in Translation (there are two other hotel bars). The view was phenomenal and the whole place oozed money. It was the only place in Japan that I went to where 95% of the people (other than staff) were American.

chanchow said...

Budget permitting, I would highly recommend staying at the Park Hyatt (even if just for one night, like me). The standard rooms are not as pricy as you'd expect. The key is to save the this hotel for your last night in Tokyo. If you stay here early in the trip, you'll only feel deprived after that.

MK said...

Looks like you had nice weather. So what's better, the Shinkansen or the ICE?

You should do a post about your favorite culinary experience on your trip.

chanchow said...

Weather was generally pretty good-- sunny, except for two days in Tokyo when it rained.

Shinkansen or ICE? I'd have to say Amtrak. Hands down. Seriously though, it might be a tie. I rode the Eurostar years ago and thought that was nice, too. One day I'll have to ride the TGV to round it out.

junebee said...

Can you read and speak Japanese, or were alot of things in English also?

Actually, the guards in that temple look sorta hot ;)

I will have to tellmy husband about the heated potty seat. He will want one.

chanchow said...

I don't speak any Japanese, other than yes, thank you and good bye. The major streets and intersections were in English and most of the subway trains had announcements in English. However, when I veered off the thoroughfares or rode the less tourist-heavy trains, I couldn't read the signs at all, which was a huge deterrent to wandering around aimlessly.

Aaah, the toilets. Heavenly. In addition to the seat being heated, it had all sorts of functions like spray, soft spray, bidet (all these were more or less the same to me) and dry (a light blow dry for your bottom). Some toilets even had a "fake flush" button, in which the toilet would make a flush sound, but not actually flush. Apparently, Japanese women often flush to cover the sounds of their bodily functions and the fake flush was meant to save water.

MK said...

Amtrak? Get outta here. Overpirced and not nearly as fast (120mph instead of 180mph, assuming you mean Acela). You should try the Thalys. It's nicer than the TGV.

chanchow said...

I was kidding about Amtrak. Silly wabbit!

creative-Type Dad (Tony) said...

I want to go back!!!

You stayed at the Park Hyatt? Wow! We only went to the NY Bar and Grill there and had 2 drinks and cheese for the rock-bottom low price of $98.

JEM said...

oh my god. the fake flush is the best bit yet! Crazy crazy people.

ivanomartin said...

ICE goes 180mph? I spent about 50 hours on them in June and I don't think we ever broke 100mph.

Jennifer's parent's have one of those fancy toilet seats, given them by a church member after a visit to Japan. No bidet, but it is heated.

chanchow said...

Tony: I hear you on the NY Bar & Grill. That's the last time I pay $15 for fries!

Ivano: If we ever remodel our bathrooms, I will try to get a Japanese-style toilet. I don't need the fake flush, but the warm seat would be nice.

Godknows said...

Wow, How's thing in Tokyo? my friends told me that really expensive. Love to see Japanese people in their traditional dress.