Originally published on 29th March 2015 on Blogger
So, I didn’t write yesterday, as I was totally exhausted and literally fell into bed. A massive day of incredible sights. It was a beautiful, warm and sunny day, and our first stop was Kinkaku-Ji, the Golden Pavillon. A very beautiful, formerly private residence, with immaculate gardens and shrines on the property. Serene lakes and koi, stunning.
Next stop, Arashiyama, the bamboo grove. This was a little difficult to find. The area is very touristy with lots of shops and restaurants and no signage. After walking the wrong way twice, we started chatting to a couple who were from Sydney, and also lost and confused. I pulled up a pic on my phone, went and got a matcha ice-cream, and asked where the place in the picture was. After asking several people, we found the famed grove. Very beautiful, very calm and in the middle of chaos.
We then stopped through Kyoto for lunch. The Japanese have eastern-ised a western classic and turned it into “omurisu”. Omelette stuffed with spicy rice with tomato sauce. It is one of my favourites and a good GF option….. This has been quite an issue, although soba noodles only have 20% wheat, the rest is buckwheat.
After lunch we headed to Fushimi-Inari Shrine. The amazing red tori gates….. What a special place. Mya says this is her favourite place in Japan (apart from Chelsea and Lancy’s). She ran through the tori gates like Sayuri, in Memoirs of a Geisha.
We then squished onto a very packed bus, and sat in very busy peak hour traffic, to get home. We got home to an amazing feast, prepared by Maki’s mum and family. Seared bonito, “cake” sushi (layered), spinach gomae, tofu and pickle, fruit, red bean jelly. Amazing. I sat with Maki, Koori and their friend Yuri. Koori is Chinese, but married to a Japanese man, and living in Japan for nearly 3 years. I learnt a lot about Japan and the “Japanese mentality”. We covered Yakuza and education, and history and it was such a lovely evening, I feel very lucky to have met these people.
I am now sitting with all the bags packed, ready to call a taxi for the station (it’s raining) and head off to Hiroshima. Mya keeps looking at me…. 5 more minutes, 5 more minutes….
I absolutely love Japan, but Kyoto has definitely won my heart.