Day 12 – Saturday, October 22, 2022 – Train Ride to Kyoto; Excursion to Nara; Visit Todaiji Temple; Maiko Demonstration
Our morning was leisurely; we had breakfast and then checked out of the hotel at 8:45. By 9:00 we were on the red hotel shuttle bus headed for the Toba train station. We used our prepaid passes to get to Track #5. Ken had already made the reservations for our group to sit in Rows 8-10. The car was very spacious with plenty of overhead shelves for our carryon bags.
The ride on the Express Train to Yamato Yagi was only 90 minutes taking us past fields of rice and soy beans. Most of the rice had been harvested and the rice straw was being burned. The beans were still in the ground and will be combined later in the fall.
The subsistence gardens were past; many farmers were clearing the plots getting ready for winter. As we passed the traditional villages, there were many family cemeteries on the hillsides.
When we exited the train, an OAT coach was waiting for us. Our driver, Mr. Nakao told us that he was the best driver in Japan. The bus was so much cooler than the crowded train, we were much happier with a little more space.
As we traveled, Ken introduced us to the oldest and most traditional region of Japan. The houses are smaller with beautiful gardens and sculptured trees and bushes. There seems to be more colors in the fall trees, but it will be mid-November until peak leaf peeping season.
The driver took us to Nara for lunch of fried chicken and vegetables. We are getting smarter in our old age and asked Ken to let us share a meal. On our walk back to the bus, we discovered a Pop-Up Playground where children were playing on wooden slides and crawling through small tunnels.
Our visit to the Todaiji Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site was delightful. We visited the huge Daibutsu-den Hall, recognized as the largest wooden building in the world. Home to the Daibutsu, an impressive 52-foot Buddha statue, visitors come from all over Japan to worship at this temple. The temple was originally built in 728 but because of several fires it had to be rebuilt at least 3 times. The latest reconstruction was in 1993.
Also throughout the park were hundreds of Sika deer, which are regarded as the messengers of the Shinto god. People were buying special biscuits for them and the deer would follow them looking for more treats.
The driver was waiting for us at 2:45 for our one-hour drive to Kyoto and our hotel. Ken gave us our keys and we worked to maximize the space in our room for our three-night stay. We had about an hour to settle in and then we began our work on the photos and today’s journal.
At 5:30 we walked to the Kyoto Central Train Station to get a taxi for the Kyoto Handicraft Center, a famous shopping area for all crafts Japanese. We did not do any shopping but it is always fun to look. We had dinner at the same location and then we were treated to a traditional dance demonstration by a maiko, or apprentice geisha.
It was almost 8:30 when we came back to the hotel by taxi. The day was long, but very memorable. Tomorrow, we have an early departure so we finished the journal and tried to get to sleep.
Accommodations: Dormy Inn Premium Kyoto Ekimae Hotel -- Meals included: B, L, & D
To receive $100 per person off your first reservation with OAT, mention the following information when reserving your Overseas Adventure Travel Trip:
Mr. Victor Garcia Customer #673062
Mom has been Forwarding your trip to me the last week or so. I spent a little over two and a half years stationed in Japan six months at a time. Was on the northern part of Japan at Missawa and Atsugi. Also did about a year on Okinawa. My roommate and I had a Japanese drivers license. So we got out all over northern Japan. Okinawa. Reading your trips recaps has brought back some great memories.
Thank you for sharing your delightful journey! Each day I look forward to reading about your next adventure!
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Have enjoyed each day journal. The pictures are fantastic.
Day 13 - Saturday, April 22, 2022 - Depart for U.S.
The hotel prepared a box breakfast for us as we had to be in the lobby way before the breakfast room was open.
Last night we found out that our departure flight back to...