Day 16 | Kyoto
Another full day to spend in Kyoto and plenty of temples on the list to visit. We rode our bikes up to the first stop, Kinkakuji (The Golden Pavilion), a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. We got there just as it was opening and there was already a large crowd. You could tell why when we saw the shimmering gold of the temple reflected in the perfectly still pond. We stopped for green tea, sampled all of the flavours of peanuts (and bought the wasabi flavour!) and got back on our bikes to ride down to the next stop.
Ryoanji Temple is another Zen temple and is the site of Japan's most famous rock garden. The rock garden has an interesting history as the garden's date of construction and designer are unknown. The rectangular garden is surrounded by low clay walls, with 15 rocks laid out in small groups on patches of moss. We sat peacefully and warmed up in the sun before exploring the rest of the temple grounds.
The last temple for the day was the Ninna-ji Temple, one of Kyoto's UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The temple was founded in 888 by the 59th emperor, Emperor Uda. By this stage we were getting pretty hungry so we headed back to our hotel to drop off our bikes and grab some lunch before visiting the bustling Nishiki Market. An indoor street marked which specialised in all things food like fresh seafood, pickles and tea.
For dinner we headed to Pontocho, a narrow alley near the river with a range of restaurants. We decided on yakitori and ordered plenty of food. By the time we were finished there was already a waiting list for the restaurant and most others on the street. A great way to finish our last day in Kyoto.