Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Eve

For New Year's Eve, we went to the all-you-can-eat and all-you-can-drink yakiniku (焼肉), or really, Korean BBQ. And then afterwards, we headed to Chion-in to see the giant bell ring in the New Year. Chionin's temple bell (cast in 1633) is the heaviest in Japan, at 74 tons. It takes 17 monks to ring it at the New Year ceremony.

The entrance to Chionin is through the two-story San-mon (main gate) and then up a steep flight of stairs. Standing at 79 feet (24 meters) tall, this is Japan's largest temple gate. It was built in 1619 and has been designated a Japanese National Treasure.

16 monks plus the one leader on the far right, almost cut out of the picture.

Friday, December 26, 2008

First Snowfall

We had our first snow fall last night, Christmas night. It was basically a light flurry and did not really stick. The next morning there were still a few flakes coming down. If you look really, really, really, really closely, you can see them (or not . . .).

But, up in the hills in the distance, the snow did stick at least for a little while.

Everyone keeps saying how January and February will be quite cold. The weather here in Kyoto is accentuated because the city sits in a basin (盆地) and the humidity is quite high. Winter is just starting, I am wishing it over already. ;-) Where is the California sun?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Nijo Castle

We've had really good weather all week, so with the sun out I decided to go visit Nijo Castle this afternoon. Pictures below.