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Well it's been a few days since posting, but I've spent the entire time, 5 days, in Kyoto including one day on a trip in Nara. It's honestly been a whirlwind of leaves, temples and shrines.
I can't say enough good things about the leaves here. Like...colors are real guys; Colors I forgot existed in the drab existence of San Francisco. Sometimes the sun hasn't cooperated. On the way home today there was a beautiful mountainside, but as the clouds were out, the colors just weren't as vibrant at they might have otherwise been. Nevertheless we got some winning photos today, one in particular I'm really excited to see how it turns out in post. There were two shrines (out of around 10-15?) that were simply stunning.
The first had a bridge and a pond that would have made Monet weep (not out of depression I should clarify). Red bridges tend to go well with red leaves it turns out. The second today was perhaps even better: I walked under one of the gates to enter, and as I looked up, I saw basically every hue of leaf I've seen so far summarized in one view. It's definitely primetime for fall colors here! I might have been a few days early, but pretty good for having no idea when to come.
A lot of the temples have been doing night time lighting, but the lines were at least half an hour, and given that I'm doing 9-5 sightseeing, I'm usually too tired to go back out again. Even with the 8 hour days, I've been having trouble keeping up with some of the day itineraries around Kyoto. Getting about 80% done, but I keep wandering into random gardens off the plan and getting behind.
I had one cleanup day after a errrm, late night, where I went to that famous shrine with the tunnels of gates you've probably seen before. And it turns out it was way bigger than expected. After running through the tunnel, I kept wandering up the mountain and it was amazing how quickly you forgot you are in a massive city. Shrines and temples line the street every 50 feet, and the tourists were nonexistent. That's perhaps one of the coolest things about the Shrines is that they are so numerous they are often quite secluded. Of course Kyoto has become a madhouse this week as people from all over Japan come to visit, but still.
Aside from that, I want to apologize in advanced for being totally incompetent at capturing photos of the fall leaves. It's really one of the most beautiful sights I've seen and it just seems like I can't get it to translate the way I want which sucks. I got a few I've been happy with, but I think I'm starting to burnout and just snapping pictures of anything that is red at this point. I've nearly gone though another memory card already and am starting to dread actually going through all these haha.
Temple fatigue is real. They are all starting to blur together, but the nice thing is that unlike Europe, you can sort of just peruse some of the smaller ones in 5 minutes and hop out. To keep it fresh, I also try and keep an eye out for other cool things. This morning I visited a monkey park, and Nara has just thousands of deer roaming the park there.
Side note: Got the hostel to go to karaoke again here. Way better than the first time. Turns out it's $20 for two hours of karaoke and open bars...so that's most definitely a thing.
Anyways, sorry for the lack of updates, but rest assured that I'm making up for them in photos! Tomorrow I'll be reconsidering my life choices at a temple, so I'll have a bonus post about the cost of traveling here. Hope everyone had a great weekend!