how they asked
It was a particularly hot day in Kyoto. It was our only full free day, away from our tour group which we were traveling Japan with. We had an itinerary planned of all the things we wanted to see, most of which were very typical tourist attractions. Apart from that there was one other destination I wanted to see but didn’t think it would be possible as I had heard it was over 2 hours away. It was a garden I had found by mistake on Pinterest. It looked beautiful! The post mentioned that this was a garden not many tourists knew about and for that reason, it was a popular destination for locals and photo enthusiasts alike.
After an expensive couple of taxi rides to some well-known temples, it was evident that the heat and dense crowds of tourists were the only things we were going to experience that day somewhat disappointed in our experience, Daniel decided that it would be best to ditch our original itinerary and try and find some quieter gardens and temples that were not so well known.
We took to google maps to determine if this idea was plausible. It appeared that there was a garden 1.5km away which meant we didn’t have to get another taxi and could get away from the hoards, yay! After walking for some time in the sweltering heat we arrived at our destination only to discover that it was someone’s backyard and not at all a public garden! Even more disappointed and now also dying of heat exhaustion we decided to go to Nishiki market for some ice cream and relief from the heat. I could tell Daniel was as upset as me that our first day alone on the tour was such a bust. As we rode in the taxi on the way to the markets Daniel asked me if we could stop at another garden on the way back to meet up with our tour guide. I told him if it was on the way and we had time we could try and handed him my phone to try and locate one again on google maps.
After about a minute Daniel returned my phone and said: “this one seems cool”. With not much enthusiasm after the last time, I half-heartedly looked at the phone and to my disbelief saw “Shosei-en Garden”. The same garden I had been dreaming about seeing every day leading up to the trip, the same garden I thought was out of reach! I told Daniel this and he looked at me and smiled as he said: “well I guess it’s meant to be then”. Following a very successful trip to Nishiki Markets, and our bellies full we made our way to the gardens. As we approached the garden it appeared to be closed. I was heartbroken! So close yet so far! Daniel, determined not to give up looked for an alternate entrance and low and behold HE FOUND IT! We were in.
Just as we entered the sun started to shine, and all the clouds disappeared as if it was some sort of very ironic “Ahhh!” The moment from a movie. It was gorgeous, the garden was empty and quiet, serene and tranquil and absolutely beautiful. If you didn’t know it, you would not think you were in the middle of a city! We wondered the garden for some time until we reached a beautiful bridge. The bridge stood high over the water, canopied by lush greenery. As we got to the middle of the bridge, Daniel went down on one knee, and with the biggest, most sincere smile asked me to marry him. Now I have 2 special reasons for why Kyoto will always be my favorite destination in Japan.