Today was our “Amazing Race Kyoto” Day! Students were up particularly early due to jet lag… many of them were awake before 6am. After grabbing a quick breakfast across the street at one of the train station cafés everyone convened to discuss the plan for the day. Students were armed with maps and bus passes and pushed out into the city in their groups of 4 with instructions to meet a 3 specific locations within a given time frame. The first location was the Golden Temple of Kinkakuji. Secondly, a short walk away, was the Zen Rock Garden and Temple of Ryoan-Ji. And finally, students met for lunch in the famous Geisha district of Gion at the Yasakusa Shrine. From Yasakusa, the group weaved their way through the Higashiyama district of Kyoto, up through the cherry blossoms and vendor stalls, through the cemetery to a quiet and secluded perch overlooking the entire city. After enjoying the views, the group paced back down to the crowds and shops, past a giant Buddha statue and on to one of the oldest and largest temples of Kyoto, Kyomizu Dera. Dinner was enjoyed in the Gion district – everything from udon to sushi, takoyaki to shabu shabu. A brief bus ride back to the hotel, and the night was finished with some time to reflect and write in the students’ journals. We were thankful there was no rain today and are hoping for similar weather tomorrow when we head to Nara!