Saturday, March 15, 2008

Trip to Kyoto

I am currently in Kyoto. I will have to follow up this post with pictures later, since I can't upload them from this hotel computer. I spent some time at Mibu temple, the site of Serizawa Kamo and Hirayama Goro's graves, and a large stone bust of Kondo Isami. Next door is the Yagi residence, where the Shinsengumi lived for a time. I walked through the room that Serizawa and Hirayama were sleeping in when they were attacked, and touched the desk that Serizawa fell over dead on. Didn't notice any blood stains though.

Before that, I had went to Nijo castle and walked the grounds. That was my second or third time there, but it is still interesting. For the first time I went to the grounds of the Kyoto imperial palace. I didn't actually get inside the palace itself, but the grounds are huge. They take up quite a large portion of the city center.

I also went to the Kamo river, to Sanjo bridge, the site of various events such as the Sanjo Seisatsu incident, and the location that Kondo Isami's head was displayed. I also had the misfortune to have a pizza-man (round cake thing with pizza filling) torn from my hands by a hungry hawk by the riverbank - something I was definitely not expecting. I still have a nice cut on my right hand from it. On my way back, I stumbled on the gravesite of Toyotomi Hidetsugu, and 46 of his vassals slain by Hideyoshi in 1595.

Took a trip to Higashi and Nishi Honganji, but I wasn't terribly impressed. Both temples look the same, and there isn't a lot to see.

Today I went to Kodai-ji, and visited Kitamandokoro's (One/Nene) gravesite. Also went to the Shishi graveyard nearby, and visited Sakamoto Ryoma and Nakaoka Shintaro's graves, as well as Kido Takayoshi, and four or five dozen slain Choshu and Tosa men, killed during everything from the Sakuradamon no hen to the Ikedaya Incident. The entire area around Kodai-ji has a very Kyoto-ish feel to it, with Jinrikisha men carting around Geisha, Maiko, tourists, and various Kimono-adorned women. There is also a giant fake Buddha statue thing between Kodai-ji and the Shishi graveyard. Not sure what it is, and I didn't really want to pay the money to find out.

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