Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Submerging in subcultures in Kyoto.

After the usual getting up and eating making/eating the breakfast I headed out.
There were some dark clouds in the sky not to far from the station and it seemed like it could start raining at any moment. This is pretty normal in Kyoto during summer times since there are a lot of mountains surrounding Kyoto.

As a little tidbit or shall we call it a "fun fact" about Japan, is that it has 6 different climates. If you ask how that is possible, do let me explain in short.
Japan is a very long country in the vertical direction, thus it reaches trough a couple of climate zones in that fashion, but only a couple! The rest of the differences are explained by geographic phenomenon, for example. because of the mountains there are parts of Japan that have a inland climate. The most northern part enjoy of a tempered climate where as the most southern parts enjoy of a subtropical climate. And so on and so on. This is why you can have snow in one city and after going through a tunnel to another city, you will not have any snow at all. This I have personally experienced last winter when I came for the first time to Japan. It felt weird yet so amazing.

Sorry for the boring fact. So back to the story.
I took the subway from JR Kyoto station and headed towards the Kyoto Manga museum situated near Kyoto Park where I had planed on visiting afterwards on my way to the Shimogamo jinja shrine.

The museum in itself was not really a typical museum in my opinion, it was more like a huge manga library with a lot of facts and displays of how to make manga and what it was and where it all started. It was fun though and I found a lot of old people visiting there as well since in Japan manga is not only for young but also older people read it a lot! The difference is that older people don't really watch Anime (animated series) so they limit it only to manga. And I can't blame them since there are a lot of things and ancient stories that have been made to mangas or used as a base for some mangas and manga series.

The building was a old elementary school and had also some exhibitions on that as well. I walked around and finally sat down and read some manga. A word of warning tho to people who might be interested in visiting this place just for the manga, there are not many books that are written in English or other languages. Only in Japanese. But good news for those who have mastered the Hiragana and Katakana! The Kanjis are explained in hiragana or katakana at the side of the character so you can read them instead. That's how I was able to read them. Of course there were a few Kanji that I knew but still I have yet to really start learning them. I am self taught after all.

At a little shrine in the Kyoto park
I then went to grab a bite at the nearby Sukiya. They are one of the chain restaurants specializing in donburi food or rice bowls topped with meat.

I quickly walked from there to the park and toured it around a bit. It really is nothing special but it might be a fun place for a picnic or to jog or just a walk. The Imperial palace is located at the back of the park and you can't really enter so all you really see is the gates and the large walls. So I can't really recommend it as a sight but it is a good place for a stroll and it just so happened to be on my way to the Shimogamo shrine.

The sun was really starting to be bright but the rain clouds were still visible. It was really humid!
I walked all the way to the main shrine in Shimogamo which is dedicated as an UNESCO heritage sight.
Shimogamo shrine
It was a cool  shrine and had many smaller shrines inside dedicated to different deities or Kamis as they call them in Japan.

I toured around only for a while and decided to head back towards my hostel. I walked to the nearest subway station and got on the subway.

I am so happy that they have air-conditioning in the trains as well as at the stations! Lifesavers is what they are let me tell you!

I stopped by the supermarket to buy some supplies and then returned to my hostel to take a shower and start cooking.
It had started raining while I was in the shower so I had timed my day perfectly!

Tomorrow I will leave my hostel and go to meet my new host in Kyoto. I will be hosted for 3 nights and then I'll head back to Tokyo to see the very famous Sumida hanabi taikai, Sumida river firework festivals!
I bet it will be awesome.

Cheers
Robert