This weekend, we had some down time from our busy work week, so along with our Japanese teacher, Teri-san, we visited the historic area of Kyoto, Japan.

Of all of the amazing things I’ve seen on this trip, probably the sexiest thing for an engineer in Japan is the Shinkansen (the Japanese bullet train). Of course, I’ve been 250 kmph before, but never on land. I can’t even begin to describe what the world looks like when it’s whipping past at twice the take-off speed of a 747.

We arrived in Kyoto and began to sight-see. Although we came at the end of the season, we got to see many cherry blossom’s finishing up their bloom:

With our Japanese teacher as our guide, we got to see many of the old pagodas and historic monuments of Kyoto. Most are hard to pronounce, but they look like this:

My favorite pagoda was the Kinkaku-ji, also know as the Golden Temple:

We ended Saturday night with a kabob-style Japanese meal in downtown Kyoto. Here are some shots of the streets. The photo on the left really remind me of the Montmartre district of Paris; it was downhill of a huge monument, had tons of shopping, and was only accessible by foot.