March 17, 2009

Kyoto with Dave and Heather

On Sunday, a truly beautiful day, we all went to Kyoto. Since you can literally spend weeks exploring Kyoto, we decided to focus this trip on a temple that we had never been to before, Kiyomizu-dera Temple in the eastern part of the city. The walk up to Kiyomizu is a steep hill, chock full of street food and little gift shops.

The grounds of Kiyomizu-dera, nestled at the base of the mountains to the east side of Kyoto, are tremendous. We were content to stroll around near the temple a bit, and check out some of the nearby buildings and the temple gate. We also happened upon a neat art exhibit housed in one of the temple buildings.

After Kiyomizu, we wandered through the Gion District for a bit, including alleys with the old-style black wood houses. We stopped down by the Kamo River for a bit of a rest, and happened upon these geishas out for a stroll.

Our final destination for the day was the Nishiki Market, known as Kyoto's Kitchen. This crowded covered alleyway spans 6-8 blocks and filled at both sides with sellers of all sorts of Japanese food products. Many have free samples, and it was quite the experience just to slowly wander and sample our way through. We also had THE BEST warm sesame covered onigiri in the world. There can be no better.

We were pretty spent after the two days of sightseeing. So, after we grabbed some dinner and rode the super-tall escalators in the ultra-modern Kyoto Station, we headed on home. A nice day in Kyoto!

(Dave and Heather's adventures continued on Monday and Tuesday, as we sent them off on their own to Hiroshima and Miyajima. They stayed over at a great ryokan on Miyajima that we had stayed on when we were there last year. Tuesday was the most beautiful day we have had this season, and Dave and Heather spent it hiking on Mount Misen on Miyajima. We think Miyajima was their favorite spot in Japan. And we can't argue with that!)


Semsavblanc said...

True, true, true. Miyajima is a magical island. We were there in March last year, so we missed you by about a month. We also stayed in a ryokan, dined on the delectable kaiseki meal in our room and gobbled up countless momiji manju (the ones with cream cheese inside were our all-time favourite). Your stories bring back so many happy memories - thank you!

Mike said...

Glad to hear it -- my brother brought us back a box of momiji-manju too!

(Its too bad we could not make it over the Australia during our time here. Hopefully one day we will!)

Semsavblanc said...

You are always welcome to call on us, if you ever do make it to Oz. You will almost be on our doorstep when you go to Bali! I hope you love it. It's probably the most popular overseas destination for people from Perth. I love it. I've been five times. It is very different from Japan, but I'm sure you will love it too!

Mike said...

If we ever to make it to Australia, we would love to! As for Bali, we are really excited!