April 6th, 2015 - Kyoto, Japan - Day 236

Big Pete's POV

Today was a great day in Kyoto.  The weather has not been great, but we decided we needed to get out and start seeing things anyway.  We decided we would work all morning and then head out later in the afternoon regardless of what the weather looked like.  

Around 2:00 we started on a walk for the Imperial Palace of Kyoto.  Kyoto was the capital of Japan for 1000 years before it moved to Tokyo about 150 years ago.  The palace is usually only open to visitors by reservation, but this week it was free to enter with no reservation necessary and this was the final day so we made it a priority to get there.  

The walk took about 50 minutes and led us through the downtown of Kyoto.  This is such an interesting city with winding back alleys full of restaurants and cute shops but also big streets with department stores, Starbucks and the Gap.  It was sprinkling lightly as we walked but not too bad where we wanted to turn back.  We made it to the palace grounds easily and headed toward the actual palace.  

View of the palace from the outside

We made our way inside and slowly walked around the interior of the palace looking at all of the different buildings and reading the placards to get a sense of what we were looking at.  

Then after seeing the buildings and the throne we were able to see the real treasures of the Palace - the gardens.  I love Japanese gardens and these were just awesome, but unfortunately you could not walk through them, you had to observe them from behind a rope.  Still Stacie was able to get some great pictures:

Then once we were done with the garden we started to head home.  Stacie caught this very cool picture of a Japanese tourist checking out the cherry trees.

On our way back out of the palace grounds we found a few more nooks that were picture worthy and Peter caught this nice picture.  It seems that everywhere you turn there is something else that captures your eye and makes you want to take a picture.  I think it is because of all the places we have been this culture seems the most foreign to me.  It is highly stimulating and quite wonderful.

We decided to make the long walk back to the house instead of taking the subway in hopes of getting a little more exercise.  By the time we did make it home we were all exhausted.  We have all determined when you walk at a slow pace, like in a museum, it drains the life out of you.  Think about it, when you are done with a museum tour aren't you usually exhausted?  We are not sure why, but we call it museum walking and we try to take it into consideration when we plan our days.  This day was a combination of a long real walk (about two hours) combined with about 2 hours of museum walking and that had everyone beat.  

We stopped at the grocery store on the way home and bought some sushi and other prepared foods for dinner.  The grocery store food here is fantastic and inexpensive.  When you combine that with the fact that we can't read any labels, going the prepared food route it just a lot better for us.  We had our nice easy dinner, hung out for a while and had an early bed time after a great day.