Eden and I have been staying at K's house backpackers hostel and we woke up early to go to Nara where the largest Buddha lives. We went to the Kofukuji temple, which are 3 and 5 story pagodas, and the Todai-Ji temple. The temple is Nara's famous Daibutsu the Great Buddha is housed in the Daibutsu-den hall of this great temple. It lives in the largest wooden building in the world. As you circle the statue towards the back there is a wooden column with a hole in it. Popular belief maintains that those who can squeeze through the hole, which is the same size as the one of the Buddha's nostrils, are ensured enlightenment. I went through first and then Eden went after and we both were able to fit through therefore we are both enlightened. We walked through all of Nara where there were a number of temples and shrines and there were deer everywhere. This trek took the entire day. We went to the Nigatsu-do hall and Sangatsu-do hall which are sub temples of Todaiji and we went to the Kasua Grand shrine but we did not want to pay to get in so we just walked around it. You have to pay 400 to 500 yen just to go into these sites and the costs were adding up. On our walk down we sampled delicious fresh juice. I had mango and Eden had grape and the man in the store informed us the grapes are from fuji.
When we returned to the hostel we got ready to meet up with Hiro for dinner, who I met through my old Australian roommate Matt, who happens to live in Kyoto. The hostel switched us into a cheaper room with 8 beds in the dorm and we happened to be the only girls in the room. There was a French Jew, a German, and 2 Mormons Levi and Robert. At first we didn't believe them and we started asking a number of questions and they are legit mormons. Of course my big mouth gets the best of me and sometimes I do not think before I speak and I asked both of them if they were virgins. Yes they are. Robert was not offended Levi on the other hand not so thrilled about the question. Sorry :(
Anyways, Eden and I headed out to meet Hiro for dinner and he made reservations at this restaurant that is known for their fish dishes and the food was amazing. Good choice Hiro. We had sashimi, steak, steak and potato patty, the neck of a fish... I know that sounds weird but it was soo good, tempura, 2 different types of tofu and drank beer.... ahhh the good life. Our bellies were happy.
The next day our plan was to go to Osaka and Himeji to see castles but unfortunately the castle in Himeji is under construction and Yoshi, hostel guy, said Osaka was not worth it. So he said to venture out around Kyoto to see more shrines and temples. We went to the Nijo -Jo castle and the famous Golden Pavilion. We also visited the Ginkakuji temple which is the silver pavilion. we then walked down the "Path of Philosophy" that the Yoshi suggested and passed by what we think was the Zenriniji temple. We headed towards the main road and hopped on a bus to Gion to see the Geishas.
We got off the bus to Gion and walked down Shimbashi which is one of Kyotos most beautiful streets according to Lonely Planet. We walked by a tour group where a woman was talking about the history of the Geisha we decided not to pay for a tour and find them on our own. Now here is the deal with trying to see a Geisha: you are not guaranteed to see a Geisha and if you do happen to run into them, while they are going to work, you are not allowed to stop them, get in their way or ask to take a picture. This woman actually did the unthinkable and asked to take a photo so while she was taking a photo I actually decided to take one as well. I SAW A GEISHA!! We also saw a couple of apprentices as well. We decided to treat ourselves to Starbucks, which are everywhere in Japan just like NYC, and wanted to find another one but that was all we were going to see for the day. We headed back to the hostel for dinner which was food I cooked that lasted us for 3 days just some chicken, veggies and pasta.
After dinner I started talking to this guy named Peter, who we ran into earlier in the day, who is from San Fran and is pretty much doing the same thing I am. He worked for 3 years in investment banking and decided to quit and travel throughout Asia and has been to most of the places we will be visiting. I enjoyed listening to his stories about his travels. Eden met up with me shortly and we had the munchies at 3am. I said good night to Peter and Eden and I treated ourselves to frosted flakes and went to bed.
The next morning we packed up said goodbye to the Mormons and I said bye to Peter and we headed out to catch a bus to Hiroshima. We couldn't find our bus and people kept sending us on a wild goose chase. There were no signs and no one spoke English. Again my phone came in handy and I called the emergency hotline who called the bus driver to wait for us. We found it and Eden realized that she had asked that bus driver twice if this was the right bus and he crossed his hands at her which I guess was his way of saying no or he doesn't speak English. We were sweaty and not happy but whatever it is what it is and we made it. We will arrive in Hiroshima at 8pm.