Nanzen-ji Temple

I wake up hearing some old Bostonian lady outside our room. She’s complaining that she’s dripping with sweat. What? Are the walls that thin? Wait…we fell asleep in separate beds? Queenie’s bed still has all the bags and stuff on it. I get up to see what’s happening. Seems we left the door open all night w the latch wedging it. Good thing we’re in near-zero-crime Japan. I guess it’s official: We were ka-drunk last night.

Whelp, time to Bird up!!!


(You’re gonna wanna full screen this and watch it for 10 minutes)


We pack up our stuff and walk across the street to a place called Gion Hanna where we’ll be staying for the next 2 days. We go through some curtains, an automatic door and into a nice little lobby. There’s a well spoken Counter Guy up front who explains that it’s too early to check in. He says there are some bikes we could take out for the day though. Biking around Kyoto sounds pretty sweet. I pull a few things out for the day and he takes our bags.

Counter Guy takes us down the street to a bike shop. He opens up a sliding door into a funky little garage space and we get two funny little bikes for free. Alright these’ll do, thanks. He also recommends a cafe down the street called Rose for breakfast. We’re on it, thanks again, we’ll see you later.

Just down the street we find Cafe Rose and lock up our bikes to a nearby fence. Looks like a nice spot.


Good suggestion, this place is great. I get a sausage plate and Queenie goes for some noodles. Both are delish! While we’re in there I ask our waitress what my bird shirt says. She looks down and then gets this kind of blank, confused funny face (I so wish I had a picture of the face she made, it was priceless). She just opens her mouth and goes “Ahhhck!” Hahahaha whaaaat?, “Ahhhhhck!? like an annoyed cockatiel sound?”, she looks back at the guy behind the counter and he gets a funny face too and goes “Ahhhhhck!!” Holy shit this is hilarious. Best shirt ever.



When we’re done we thank them and give them an “Ahhhhck!” good-bye and they both go “Ahhhhhck!” back. We’re giggling as we unlock our bikes. She comes out with a to go order or something and goes “Ahhhhck!” as she passes us. We’re roaring. She’s walking someones breakfast down the street to them? That’s nice.

We hop on our whacky bikes and boogie. It’s not too far North West to what looks like a bazillion temples, gardens, parks and whatnot. Kyoto got spared from bombings during the second World War so the amount of history preserved here is well beyond that of other parts of Japan. Plus it was the old capital. Excited to see what’s here!

We find a tunnel that looks like it leads into a park. Let’s do it!


Not too far through the park and boom: Nanzen-ji Temple. We tie up our steeds and take a look. Nice big Zen Buddhist temple built in 1291. The area has an ancient aqueduct, Suiro Kaku, that is still transferring water, a bunch of smaller, pretty temples and a quaint garden you can walk through. We take a stroll around and check it all out.







There are a bunch of girls dressed up in traditional kimonos. This reminds me of the dude from Winterpeg that we met at The Watering Hole in Tokyo who’d mentioned that we should rent some of these and walk around Kyoto like a boss. I’m not sure I’m boss enough to pull it off actually. Finding one that fits may also be a problem. And I’m not too keen on baby steps.

They look amazing on these ladies though. They are paired up and standing in the arches of the aqueduct columns, leaning in so that they fill in all through the depth of the shot. Pretty good idea. I kinda want to get a similar shot but don’t want to interrupt their kimoment.







Wow, nice spot! We get back to the bikes and take a peek at the map. It looks like we can just ping pong our way from temple to temple on our way North to the Philosophers Path. Sounds good, up next is an amazing looking Shinto Shrine called Heian Shrine.


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