I am super excited to announce that we will be spending this weekend in Kyoto, Japan! That’s right, I’m not even here a month before we decide to leave Korea! This has been a vague idea floating around for a few weeks; in fact, when Jared picked me up at the airport upon my arrival to Korea, he mentioned that we might go to Kyoto for Memorial Day. It took a little while to get his vacation approved, and we only just booked tickets and a hostel last week. We are traveling with a good friend of ours, whose enthusiasm for this trip makes me all the more excited to go!

Since we plan to travel as often as possible, I thought it would be fun to have a little recurring blog feature for each trip. Before an adventure, I’ll outline what I already know about our destination and what we hope to see and do while there. After the trip, I will follow up with what we learned about that little piece of Earth and, of course, give details about the vacation. I did a version of this with South Korea here, by detailing the very little I knew about Korea and what I had already learned through research.

Before doing any research, this is what I knew about Kyoto & Japan in general:

  • Source: kids.brittanica.com

    Source: kids.brittanica.com

    Kyoto is in Japan.

  • Gion is the Geisha district in Kyoto (Thank you, Memoirs of a Geisha)
  • Kyoto has a lot of temples.
  • Cherry blossoms decorate the city each spring.
  • Japan is made up of four major islands; I’ve been holding on to that bit of geographic knowledge since a presentation project in 7th or 8th grade!
  • My language skills consist of: “Domo arigato, Mr. Roboto”
  • White flag, red circle
  • Sake!
  • Ninjas!

That’s about all. Can you believe I actually did well in my Social Studies classes and even taught Social Studies for a year? I feel that the American education system failed to prepare me for worldwide adventure. However, ignorance is only a crime when one chooses to ignore it. Once I started reading about Kyoto in our lovely travel guide, I became even more excited to visit! Kyoto is considered the cultural capital of Japan. As it was the capital of Japan for over 10 centuries, Kyoto is full of history, tradition, and temples. It has beautiful Japanese architecture, and I realized that many of the pictures I have seen of Japan come from the Kyoto area.

These are places on our tentative itinerary; each is linked to a outside page that contains more information and, most importantly, pictures!

The Byodo-in Temple in Hawaii. May 27, 2007

The Byodo-in Temple in Hawaii. May 27, 2007

I can’t wait to return and share our own pictures of these lovely places! The Weather Channel app is reporting that we will have great weather. It’s supposed to be in the low-80s and sunny each day that we are there. And unlike the picture from Hawaii, I will need to have my shoulders covered for all the temples we plan to explore. I read about what behavior is expected in Buddhist temples; the main concerns are no shoes in the temple, modest dress, ask to take pictures, and don’t touch a monk. Women are not allowed to come in contact with a monk, and if an object needs to be given to a monk, a woman must first hand it to another man. I felt better after researching the appropriate behavior. I’ve always felt badly in the past when my ignorance has led to me to commit a cultural faux pas.

We will have just two and a half days in Kyoto because of travel time on our four day weekend. However, we plan to make the most of it. We know this will not be our only trip to Japan. In the future, we also want to visit Tokyo, the northern mountains for a possible ski vacation, and Kyoto is supposed to be lovely in the fall as well. We haven’t even arrived, and we are already planning on returning- that’s how you know it’s going to be a great vacation!





  1. Reply
    Jessica 24 May, 2013

    I love this blog! I don’t feel like we are seperated by half a world for two long years! It’s more like you are on a totally awesome extended vacation and we get to chat every few days about your adventures! ! Love you! !

    • Reply
      Bethany 24 May, 2013

      Yay adventure chats!

  2. Reply
    William 24 May, 2013

    Oh my goodness, this is amazing. I hope you have a great time! (Ahaha, ninjas. Try to avoid them!)

    • Reply
      Bethany 24 May, 2013

      We’re about 12 hours in, no ninjas yet…

  3. Reply

    […] we moved here a year ago. And that is why we took advantage of the past year and traveled so much. Kyoto, Jeju, Cambodia, Thailand, Niseko, The Philippines, and the US. The US trip almost didn’t […]

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