Today was our first full day in Kyoto. We woke up on a futon on a tatami in a Japanese style ryokan. To start the day we had a homemade breakfast around a big table in the lobby of the ryokan. We then left the hotel at 9am to go to Kinkakuji. The bus we caught to Kinkakuji was fully packed the entire trip thanks to people traveling around in silver week and the crowd was definitely an experience. When we finally made it to Kinkakuji we had to stop and rest for a minute as we had all been squashed and standing for a long bus ride. Kinkakuji is a big golden temple set on the side of a lake up in a forest. Luckily the water in the lake was slightly still, so we could get some nice photos of the temple and its reflection in the water.
After walking around Kinkakuji we made our way to Ryoanji, a zen garden 20 mins by walk away from Kinkakuji. Ryoanji is a really big zen garden with lots of different areas, one area has only white pebbles, moss and rocks (a cool thing about the rock garden was that only 14 of the 15 rocks could been seen at any one place), another section was completely green from the moss.
After resting in the zen garden we made our way to lunch, a sushi train, but this one was amazing and different to our sushi trains back home! It had the usual conveyor belt system going round and round with food on it, but in this one you could order meals through a touch screen and it would be launched to your table by another conveyor belt. Also, most plates of food with some exceptions were 100 yen (about 1 dollar).
After filling ourselves up on lunch we decided to go back to the hotel for a rest and to do some washing, then go out for a late dinner. At 7pm we all met up in the lobby to go to Kyoto station to have a nice dinner. We decided on a really nice burger place after a bit of searching as everything had a large queue and a wait time of an hour or more. They served some really nice Japanese style burgers there which came in a really fancy box, which was a surprise to us all. After dinner we were going to go to a games arcade but then decided to go back to the hotel for an earlier night and we needed to pack our suitcases to send to our sister school. We are all looking forward to another day of sightseeing tomorrow in Nara and Kyoto and our last night as a group before the fun of home stay begins!
Harrison Cook (Squashie and droppy)