So, continuing with the sakura shenanigans, I immediately bike down to the station after class and hop on a train to Kyoto. Mission: Kiyomizudera (popular temple with sakura) and The Path of Philosophy, a sakura-laden path that leads up to Ginkakuji, which since I was setting out at 1, I knew I would not have time to see. Sakura priority!
I was determined to get a decent bus map. I found one online, but this is not as helpful because there are many buses that only go to certain stops. I also discovered the added difficulty of figuring out which side of the road to get on the bus! Fun. So first mission: bus map. I head to the tourist center I passed before and happily it was open. I also got a day bus pass from there; 2 missions accidentally accomplished. Excellent.
On the way to the tourist thing, I saw the bus that had 'Kiyomizudera' helpfully written on it. Now that I had my map, I just needed to figure out the closest bus stop that I could get on said bus. I sort of found it accidentally, (also ran into a nice man who was asking for money for tsunami victims, he was so glad I spoke Japanese haha), and got to Kiyomizudera! Yay! Unfortunately it started to drizzle on the way up the ridiculous hill to get to the temple. I was too stubborn to buy an umbrella, and I really don't want to. The dorm I live in has community umbrellas, and there's a really nifty lime green one I am partial to. So, no umbrella.
Of course on the way up to said popular temple, there are many many shops. ....You can only resist going in for so long. Besides, I got a lot of stuff for other people! Yay! Once I actually made it to the temple, it was very pretty. People everywhere though, but this is to be expected. Kiyomizudera is actually one of the temples where there is stuff to do; first of all, there is a separate shrine in the very beginning. Said shrine has 2 rocks about 18 meters from each other, and you are supposed to close your eyes and go to the other to have success at finding love (if people guide you, it means that people will help you find love). I, being alone and not wishing to fall and die, skipped this. There was also these 3 streams falling for you to drink from. Each one has a different significance; longevity, love, and, school success. However, if you drink from more than one, you're thought to be greedy. Since I'm planning to drag Mom and Julie there, I didn't do it this time. And it was crowded. :)
Next on the list was the Path of Philosophy near Ginkakuji. Looking at all of my various maps, it appeared that the path was on the way up to Ginkakuji. Which is true. So, I wanted to get on a bus that stopped a few stops before Ginkakuji so I could walk up the path right? Right. So I rode the bus back down to Gion (seems to be my center of operations) and walk over to Sanjo, the adjacent bridge I realized was so close when I went there last time accidentally. Near said bridge is supposedly a bus stop that gets the 5 bus, which goes towards Ginkakuji. By some miracle, I find said station and even get on the bus going in the correct direction.
Seems to good to be true right? Oh, it is. I get off a few stations according to plan, right? Sure, good plan. It starts to rain a bit more. Alright, that's fine, the path is close right? Nope! I walked clear down the street (passing 3 bus stops I should have stayed on the bus for) before I got there, in the rain. Turns out the path is right in front of Ginkakuji.....right in front of it, 500 meters away. I should have ridden the bus clear to Ginkakuji.
At this point, I was tired from walking, pretty drenched, and completely surrounded by sakura. It was pretty awesome. I did not care I was soaked; I had given up on trying to stay dry. I'm sure the Japanese people, all umbrella-ed, thought I was crazy. I took about a million pictures. It was beautiful, even in the rain. And when I return to go to Ginkakuji, it will all just be green. (For a while I couldn't figure out what happened after the sakura fell off...dead trees? haha)
So that was awesome. Next, I needed to get on the subway to meet with my friend for dinner. I knew that I could pick up the subway in Sanjo, but the bus I needed to take only went to a stop before Sanjo....so I end up finding the subway a little weirdly, but at this point I did not care at all.
Once I met up with my friend who goes to school in Kyoto, I dried off while we ate dinner near her train station, Nijo station (they probably also thought we were dumb, English menus and all haha). There was also an arcade nearby, and she had not had the pleasure of doing purikura yet, soo we did that, which was awesome. We also did it again, just for fun. We then ran around the arcade a bit, and played the taiko game and an American shooting game, which was funny.
When we were leaving, we also found a Roman stand up poster to take a picture with, which said (in Latin) 'all baths lead to Rome.' ...All right. :)
I was too stubborn to take the subway back to the train station. I paid for the day bus pass; I was going to use it! So, by the time I figured out which bus would get me close to Gion, it had been a half hour and the buses just were not coming. So I got on the next one, which got me relatively close. However, at the stop before that one, every single person got off the bus. And if I've learned anything, it's when everyone gets off the transportation (eg train), get off the transportation.
So I ended up walking down more than half of Shijo to get to the train station. To save about 4 bucks.
Definitely worth it.
When the internet starts being proper, I'll post pictures in the next entry!