Friday, July 11, 2008

Leaving Kyoto

Yesterday, we went up Hiei via funicular and cable car to see the Garden Museum. What a lovely place! J called it the 'Impressionismland' (y'know, like Disneyland only Mickey was a robotic Monet - I kid you not). It was a massive garden and throughout were oversized paintings on easels by different Impressionists. Re-creations of some of the scenes in the paintings were attempted through meticulous landscaping and a French cafe provided a nice touch of ambiance to the beautiful surroundings (the spaghetti ratatouille wasn't half bad, either). The view of Kyoto from the top of Hiei was also incredible!

Sadly, we missed the opportunity to see the temples as they were closing early (4:30 pm). We went back to XIV and explored the resort seeing what else they had to offer. We made a pit-stop at the arcade and then got ready to head downtown for dinner.

J took us to see the JR Kyoto Station. Wow, what a work of art! Designed by architect Hiroshi Hara, it is 70 meters high and 470 meters from east to west, with a total floor area of 238,000 square meters. (MASSIVE!) It is the second largest train station in Japan (Nagoya is the first) and houses a shopping mall, hotel, movie theater, Isetan department store, and several local government facilities under one 15-story roof. I tried to take pictures of it but it's one of those things that has to be experienced to fully appreciate it. Visible from the front of the station is the Kyoto Tower which closely resembles the CN Tower. There's also a statue of Astro Boy on top of one of the signs in front of the station and a museum celebrating Tezuka Osamu's art. After a nice dinner, we went back home to watch SYTYCD but fell asleep.

H & I got up early this morning to go to the onsen. It was just bustlin' (pardon the pun - I know, terrible). What a great way to start the day and to end our time here at XIV. I wish we were staying longer. I feel like we just got here and we're already leaving. (Sigh) Next time we come to Japan, we'll definitely have to make a plan to stay longer in Kyoto!

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