2016 Japan summer trip (days 9 & 10)

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July 31
6:00 am – Got up

7:29 am – Off we go

8:38 am – At Kyoto station
Even though I already knew how to get to Kyoto station on a bicycle, it still took me a little over an hour because I had to walk on most of the uphill segments.

I left the bike on Kyoto station’s Hachijoguchi east bike parking lot and then hopped on a train to Osaka.

9:00 am – Train to Shin-osaka station

9:35 am – Train to Namba station

10:05 am – Language Exchange Osaka
I participated on the first and second language exchange sessions, including the church service (Lifehouse Osaka) sandwiched between the two.

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This was from the first session.

1:06 pm – Train to Shin-osaka

1:35 pm – Train to Kyoto station

2:18 pm – Lunch
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Fueling up for the hike later.

??? pm – Train to Sagaarashiyama

??? pm – Bus to Kiyotaki
I doubted the correctness of the times I wrote down for these two. I probably pressed a wrong button as the time attached on the bus ride was earlier than the one on the train ride.

3:55 pm – At Kiyotaki bus stop
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I passed by here during my January hikes. You’ll see the Nishiyama course’s first trail marker somewhere (between 6th and 7th second) in the video below.

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Sooo green.

4:16 pm – Started hike
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Torii gate at the foot.

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A small shrine along the route.

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The view from near the shrine.

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A few meters further there’s another viewing spot.

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Somebody turned the lights on.

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Sunset.

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Almost at the top.

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The lanterns up close.

7:03 pm – At Mt. Atago summit
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Come to think of it, I wasn’t really paying attention when I was looking at the map. I was probably still tired when I took the picture.

Here’s the entire hike going up:

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I ate and took a rest on one of the benches overlooking Kyoto city.

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This was me messing around with the camera’s focus.

I was trying to capture the lights coming from the city through the tiny window between the trees. Either the camera sucks with low light conditions or I don’t know how to make it take good night time images.

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This was as close as I can get to the edge.

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The shrine is a few hundred more steps away.

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After going through those stairs, I thought I had finally arrived.

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There’s a surprise after this gate.

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More stairs!

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There were lanterns all the way to the entrance.

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Finally.

There were a lot more lanterns inside.
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The place was packed.

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I explored a bit and found a hallway on the left side…

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…that led to this artwork. There was something else on the right side too but I can’t remember what it was. This was the one that stuck with me.

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I went back a bit later and caught a time the main pathway wasn’t packed with people.

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There were camera crews up there too, probably covering the event. They were interviewing the woman wearing the pink shirt.

8:55 pm – Sennichi Mairi
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They lined up on the right side around fifteen minutes before 9:00 pm. The festivities were about to begin, I thought.

After around 5 minutes or so, there wasn’t much happening and I got a bit bored so I took another picture of the lanterns.
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A few minutes before 9:00 pm, another group of people were lining up on the left side and then this happened:

I didn’t know if people were allowed to follow them inside since they went in an area (in shrines/temples) that is usually off limits to people. I stood there in place for about ten minutes before I decided to move closer.

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From what I saw, most of the people that lined up earlier were sitting down and singing while a few (probably three or four) were making offering gestures. I wasn’t sure of the items being offered because I couldn’t see very well from where I was standing, even with my glasses on.

After the events that transpired inside, they went out to the area beside (left side if you’re going down) the lantern-filled stairs.
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I was again ‘late to the party’ as I loitered for a bit inside a few minutes after they had gone down.

From what I could gather, and I’m totally just guessing, they probably did a reenactment of some historical event. I saw a couple of arrows fly by across the stairs towards the right side. There was more singing and somehow fire was involved.

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Excuse the forearm.

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They put out the fire and did a little bit of clean up after the ‘show’. It ended at around 10:30 pm.

After that, I went back down the stairs to the benches and gave the city lights image another shot.
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Yup, I still sucked at it.

10:46 pm – Started descent
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Ooh. Shiny.

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View from near the small shrine along the route. I think this was the best city lights image I had.

There were still a lot of people going up, even infants, on what looked like backpack/stroller hybrids.

August 1
1:12 am – Arrived at the foot
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1:28 am – At Kiyotaki bus stop
When I got there, I realized I had not done enough research. There were no buses! Only taxis were pulling up on the driveway and picking up passengers.

I was faced with two options, take a taxi to Kyoto station or wait five hours for the first bus. I mulled it over and decided to take the first option.

1:40 am – Taxi to Kyoto station
「京都駅のはちじょぐちまでお願いします。」I said to the driver.

It was my first time in a taxi in Japan. And yes, it is true, taxis are a bit expensive.

2:07 am – At Kyoto station
Why at Kyoto station, you ask? If you remember from the previous day, I parked the bike there in the morning before going to Osaka. I couldn’t just leave it there and go straight home.

Here’s how the bike parking lot works: you stick the bike into a sort of contraption that clamps a wheel. You should see a number somewhere near it, similar to a locker, so you know which one’s yours. If you retrieve your bike within the next hour, you won’t have to pay anything. But for the 2nd to 23rd hour, it’ll be 150 JPY, and another 150 JPY for the succeeding 24 hours. The parking fee may vary from lot to lot.

3:20 am – Home sweet home

3:26 am – Laundry
I decided to do the laundry before going to bed. I thought it would be better if while I was sleeping, the clothes were already hung and getting dry.

5:20 am – Sleep

12:09 pm – Got up
Rest day. I just stayed home and watched some TV.

11:15 pm – Sleep

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