Kyoto 2016: Imperial Palace Park

Date of Travel: February 28, 2016

I checked out of First Cabin decently early in the morning. My main goal was to go seek out the Kawaramachi Catholic Cathedral. It’s the seat of the Diocese of Kyoto. I wanted to hit up the 10:30AM Mass in Japanese.

Well, I found it. But I had quite a while before Mass started so I decided to kill time and walk around some more. Pulling out Google Maps on my phone, I saw that Kyoto’s Imperial Palace was several blocks away surrounded by a park. I headed off that direction.

But first, I ran into City Hall.

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I continued northwards and eventually reached the Park. I entered in and was entirely amazed at how vast the park seemed. Besides getting distracted by a Japanese woman in the distance walking her dressed up poodles (and subsequently, the poodles going to the bathroom…), I couldn’t get over how incredibly wide the paths are. The pictures below probably doesn’t do much justice, but practically all the main paths through this park seemed to be wide and lengthy.

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I walked towards the Imperial Palace, but I guess it has certain hours because it didn’t look open for a gaijin like me to just mosey on in to see what’s up. By the way, it was a long walk because the palace sits pretty far in the park from where I entered.

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A few things I learned about this park, through various signs posted and observations I made:

  • Military activity was pretty high back in the day, and many locations scattered throughout the park are designated as places of significance such as “This one guy stood posted here with a lamp all night” or something like that.
  • There are over 50,000 trees in this park. In other words, there are almost as many trees in this park as there are students at Texas A&M University. Wow.
  • Great place to write poetry. I’m pretty sure I saw an elderly gentleman doing just that.
  • Great place to practice baseball. Apparently there are baseball fields also on site.
  • Why yes there is, in fact, a cherry blossom grove.

On my way back out, I noticed a small crowd gathered in a particular area of the park. I realized that it was because of the grove of cherry blossom trees that are in full bloom. I guess they peak in early March in Kyoto, but it was neat to see a good handful of them in this park. But of course I had to take pictures!

I had a blast trying to take cool pictures. Of course, I actually had to “wait in line” for some trees because some other tourists were attempting to do the same.

After sneaking in some more pictures, I made the long trek back out of the park and made my way back to the Cathedral.

To be continued.

-JD

 

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