Kyoto, Day One

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.  

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.

Rice dumplings.

Lots of different grilled eels.

Marinated eggplant
Marinated eggplants.

A serious mound of miso.

Red octopus.

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.  

Fan store.

Vegetables that were each rubbed down with something different.

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.  

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.

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.

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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Comments (Archived):

  1. takingpitches

    What it must have been like to live in that Zen temple – gorgeous structure and setting!Happy New Year!!

  2. Wavelengths

    The socks in the slippers, are those from the sock store you showed us earlier? Or does someone have some amazing tats on the feet and ankles? 🙂

    1. Gotham Gal

      it comes with the hotel.