Thursday, October 15, 2009

Shosei-En Garden

This is Part 1 of the Kyoto trip blog posts ('cuz you know I'm going to drag this out for like two weeks at least!). On Saturday morning, Lee and I got up at a ridiculously early hour and drove down to the airport in Naha, where we got chased out for entering the building at 5:59 when it opens at 6:00. Seriously, the security guy made us walk back out, wait a minute, and then come back in :p Anyway, we had an uneventful flight to Osaka (which I am grateful for, given my tendency toward motion sickness), and then immediately found where to get a bus ticket to go to Kyoto. Since the bus thing was so easy, we were due to have more trouble with something else, and it did take us a while to find our hotel once we'd been dropped off in Kyoto. But find it we did, and then once we got checked in, we headed out with nothing but our cameras and a great guidebook that our very kind neighbor lent us. After much walking, we found this:

We were aiming for a garden that we found in the guidebook, and this is the wall that surrounds it, so score 1 for the guidebook. Here's what is all along the top of the wall:

For some reason, I really like shots like that, so don't be surprised if I post some other similar ones later on :) We had to walk around a bit to find the front gate since this wall apparently goes all the way around the garden, so here's a picture of me at the front to prove that I was there:

According to the sign at the front gate, the garden dates back to the 1600s and belongs to a nearby temple. Fires destroyed the gardens in the mid-1800s, but afterward the buildings and landscaping were restored to their original condition. Here's the first building we saw:

Ok, so the picture isn't really *of* the building, it's more like the view from the back porch of the building, but so what? :p The garden was beautiful, although we visited at the wrong time of year to see either lots of flowers or fall colors. I was hoping for some red and orange Japanese maples, but they were still almost all green:

(Proof that Lee was there too, hehe!) Anyway, like I said, it was still beautiful and tranquil and all that good stuff. Just check this out:

I so took that picture :D I'm not sure if there was one big pond or a couple of smaller ones, but one part of it had a bunch of lilypads and stuff on it, so Lee took this picture:

Kinda neat, huh? Speaking of lilypads:

The berries must have come from a nearby tree, but we both thought they looked neat amid all that green, so this is Lee's artsy shot. We also saw a gnarly tree:

When Lee and I go touristy, we just take pictures of whatever we think looks kind of cool, so really we have a ton of pictures but not too many that necessarily include us. Guess we're more landscape/architecture type of photographers. But when we were about halfway through the garden, we did see a couple of people that we couldn't resist photographing:

These two are dressed up like maiko (apprentice geisha). According to the guidebook, the apprentices wear the long draped obi (the sash that goes around the waist, you can see the lime green one on the right) and they have an embroidered collar on their kimonos. Lee and I had the distinct impression that these two ladies were not really geisha, but just dressed up in costume and out taking pictures. Well, whether they were real or imitation geisha, they sure did look beautiful! Wish you could see their shoes better, those were something else...they're like four inch-thick platforms, and the front of each shoe is angled towards the toes like this \ Let me tell you, Japanese women have a corner on the market for fantastically impractical footwear. Anyway, here's the last shot of the garden:

That's a wall we passed on the way out. We found out later on that there is a city ordinance in Kyoto limiting buildings to no more than 60 meters high so as not to interfere with the view of the mountains that surround the city. So while this garden was in the middle of a highly urbanized area, it wasn't too difficult to forget how close the rest of the city was, especially when you couldn't see too much of it from inside the garden.

Part 2 of the Kyoto trip coming soon...did I forget to tell you we took something like 400 pictures? Hehe!


Giffysk8s said...

400? Only 389 more to post! LOL

The garden is beautiful! Reminds me of the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park~except that yours really is in Japan! Love the photo you took of the pond. The reflection in the water is too cool!

So are you gonna be an apprentice geisha for Halloween? Those getups sure are pretty!!! Speaking of geisha, I need to get that SU geisha-looking stamp you used. I love that!

Looking forward to the next 13 days of pics!

Sparkle said...

So pretty! I hear ya on the shoes, lol.

CCsMom said...

Wow, how wonderful. Looks like you had a great time. And look at the sky in this last picture -- so BLUE!!! I love Lee's lilly pad picture and he's looking good. (Well, you are, too!) I was thinking to myself as I watched you eat ramen the other night that it's such a great thing we have Skype!!! Love ya, love ya and I LOVE these pictures. Mom

CCsMom said...

Oh, and now you know what the Japanese women take such tiny steps -- it's those SHOES!

Liz Guidry said...

Great pics, Ree and Christy! I hope to see some of those soon on a page :)