Kyoto again, and some filler

I had gone to Kyoto on my last trip and there were many things to see, and Jen was keen so we decided to go on Thursday.  We saw Nijo Castle and the Imperial Palace grounds, but this time planned ahead and got passes to go into the inner grounds of the Imperial Palace, which we didn't do before.  I'll try not to duplicate views from before and just present new material. 

Here's some Nijo Castle pictures.  It was hot hot hot again today so we didn't linger tremendously.  The nightingale floors of Ninomaru Palace still impress. Did I mention this is where the end of the Shogun period occurred with the return of power to the Emperor?

He kept his eyes on us.

Taking a quick breather.

I like how this would have channeled invaders into a confined space.  It was never tested.

On my last trip I noticed this apparent shortwave broadcast antenna. I did some research and think it's JOBR of the Kyoto Broadcasting System (1143 kHz).

After Nijo we headed back to the Imperial Palace for the 2:00 English tour.  Below is one of the entrance gates. The white covers the exposed grain of the wood to prevent rot. It also looks cool.

Here are three waiting rooms, and which one you get depends on your rank.  The one on the left is least.

The inside of that room.

Here's a look into the inner courtyard.  The orange color is supposed to scare away evil spirits in the night and is known as vermilion.

The newest entrance gate, which has an overhang large enough to handle horse-drawn carriages.

This is the main audience hall.  There are two thrones which are used but which were moved to Tokyo in the early 1990's for the installation of the current Emperor.

As you can see, everyone's huddling in the shade, and the use of umbrellas to keep the sun off is prevalent. I still got some sunburn.

Note the imperial seal on the ends of the roof elements. It's based on the chrysanthemum.

In the back is the Emperor's bedchamber and a sitting room.

It's moss on the ground.

This is a pine tree, trimmed in such a way to make it this style.

After that we took a break in the air conditioned lounge then headed back to the subway.  Jen wanted to buy a kimono and found an ad in the local guide paper for a store having a sale with kimonos being about ¥2000, or $20.  We found the store, but only a select few were that price, the rest were above ¥18500 and sashes were another ¥8000+.  We left without buying anything.

They provide places to hide if you fall off the subway.  How kind.

For dinner, Jen was hoping for some beef. We ate at Gyuzen, which we found as we walked to the kimono shop, but which also advertised in the tourist paper and gave a 5% discount.  We were hoping for Kobe beef, which it wasn't, but it was high quality beef, sliced thin, which you could either cook yourself in a pot on the table, kind of fondue style, or on a grill surrounding the pot.  We liked the grill better, so we ate much beef and cooked many veggies. Happy happy! 

The next morning Jen was leaving and we had to head to Tokyo station by 8:00 to catch the Narita Express.  We hailed a cab who took us to the station for ¥1500, with no problems. 

A large bank of vendings at Tokyo station.

Sadly, with Jen gone I was back on my own.  (Don't feel bad for her, she went JAL first class!)  I rode home to catch up on some sleep and email.  On the way (Yamanote again) I saw this old train.  A transit museum?

A couple of signs on a board near the hotel.  I like the little Minato characters, in the shape of the Minato-ku ward, complete with the little piece of Odaiba that's Minato.  As to the poster on the right, I'm not sure what angel kitty is saying, or even if it's angel kitty.

Even though it was 35 degrees it was a beautiful clear blue day.

Good time to take some more pictures from the roof.  The Roppongi Hills MT building still amazes me, how it dominates the skyline.

Another view of the Rainbow bridge, which we can now picture better since we rode over and under it a few days ago.

This is the main Shiodome area, a relatively new commercial complex.  When we were at the Edo-Tokyo museum they showed some things they dug up when they excavated this site - like an aqueduct that was in place during the Tokugawa years to bring water from 40 miles away.

I risked life, or at least limb, to capture this picture of Akabanebashi crossing, our closest subway station.

There's a nearby temple with burial grounds.  There were visitors this weekend, it being Obon.

Looking over toward Roppongi I noted a different flag on this building.  There are many embassies around here, but hadn't noticed this one. I'm pretty sure it's Afghanistan's. 

It's not Russia's.  They never seem to fly their flag.