Kyoto, Day One

Trainschedule
We got up in the morning and took the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto.  It is pretty awesome.  Very civilized and of course quick.  The train station feels like controlled chaos.  When we got to Kyoto someone met us at the train.  Trust me, finding us was not difficult.  We jumped into a van and made our way to lunch. 

Eeldinner
We went to Hirokawa.  The restaurant was the perfect place for lunch.  Kyoto is known for grilled eel.  We all had the exact same thing.  Medium dish of grilled eel over rice.  Amazing.

Sink
Check out this sink in the bathroom.  The first electronic pump on the right is the soap, the middle one is the water and the last is hot air to dry your hands.  You touch nothing.

Slippers
After lunch we drove over to Ryoanji, a 15 century dry garden laid out by Soami.  Have to get rid of your
shoes and put on slippers to walk around.

Rockgarden
15 rocks placed in this garden thousands of years ago.  Really serene and beautiful.  


Inside
Although this shrine is not used anymore the rooms are open for you to take a look at.  

Goldentemple
Our next stop was Kinkaku-ji, Kyotos most elaborate Zen temple.  The Golden Temple was built as a retirement home for a 14th Century Shogun.  It is breathtaking.  You can see the fine golden leaf on the building when you get closer.  The small ground in the middle of the lake it sits on represents Japan. There are huge fish in those waters.

Nishiki market
We had some time to kill so we stopped by the Nishiki-koji Market.  Glad we did because we never ended up going back.  Unfortunate because I really want to buy knives in this particular store but life goes on.  

Oystershucker
They love the covered alleyways with tiny shops.  Here is a guy shucking oysters at the beginning of the market.

Veggies wrapped in plastic
All the vegetables have been wrapped in plastic at every marketplace we have seen.

Ricedumplings
Rice dumplings.

Eel
Lots of different grilled eels.

Marinated eggplant
Marinated eggplants.

Miso
A serious mound of miso.

Octopus
Red octopus.

Knifeshop
This is the knife store.  It is hundreds of years old.  They will actually engrave your name in the knife for you.  There were also beautiful bowls and trays.  

Fans
Fan store.

Vegetables
Vegetables that were each rubbed down with something different.

Gambling
We walked back to the car and this door opened and we all gasped.  Inside was some serious gambling going on.  It was just wild.  Noisy and smoky.  

Saketasting
Our next stop was to a sake tasting.  Luckily we had someone with us who could translate because the sommelier at Okitsu-an, an exclusive private club built in 1835, spoke zero english.  The gardens were beautiful there too.  We learned a little bit.  Obviously it is all about the rice.

Fredoutfit
We checked into our hotel, Hoshinoya.  A ryokan.  We all slept in tatami rooms.  It is located on the outskirts of Kyoto.  You take a small boat down to the hotel.  It is really unique and beautiful.  One night is ample and we did two.  After we checked in we had a kaiseki dinner.  We wore the garb they gave us.  Here is Fred in his outfit.

Meoutfit
I am here in mine.  Hat for warmth ( that is mine ).  We decided that I'd take no pictures that night and we would just enjoy it together.   A mixture of tiny bits of food.  Some good, some weird but a really nice experience.  

 

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