Land of Temples, Shrines...and did you say Monkeys?!

Part II

Three days after we arrived in Japan, we braved the rail systems ourselves and headed south of Tokyo (about 2.5 hours) to Kyoto; a smaller city with a subway system and street names!!! We spent three amazing days touring the city, taking in all the shrines and temples we could and trekking up the mountain to the Monkey Park! Kyoto was by far one of our favorite places to visit. It was such an incredible experience to just walk around in a culture so drastically different from your own. Grant mastered the transportation while I did all the sightseeing planning. Eli was the best little monkey of all and enjoyed every bit of the hustle and bustle. He loved riding the trains and buses. Together we were quite a successful long as we were all fed!

Speaking of food (and then on to the pictures, I promise) that was our biggest challenge while being on our own. We learned very quickly that we needed to start scoping out places to eat about 2 hours before meal time instead of right at noon or 5ish, when we were all starving. Most restaurants have picture menus or plastic replicas of their food dishes in their windows however, everything looked very similar and it is very hard to distinguish between meats when seen in their plastic form! To our credit we set out every meal time and did actually try local cuisines and different restaurants but then, depending on the portion size or our satisfaction with what we decided on in the end, we would supplement with McDonald's! I know this sounds crazy, but we discovered the Shaka Shaka (breaded chicken breast) on their dollar menu and since it got two thumbs up from Eli, that sealed the deal. At least we always had a fall back in case we couldn't find something to eat. And since there were always lots of Japanese people in McDonald's as well I never felt that bad for eating there.

Good 'ole Macky D's

Nijo Castle

Monkey Park - tons and tons of cute monkeys to feed and watch!

Kiyomizu-dera Temple Grounds & Spring blossoms

Kinkakuji Temple (Golden Pavillion) - One of the most impressive sights of Kyoto

Stay Tuned for Hiroshima and our return to Tokyo...

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