On Monday we woke up super early again, pensioner hour…. and got ready quite quickly. We were out the door and on our way into the city before 8am. This was a bizarre experience, as the last time we were in Kyoto we had four children to wrangle out the door, and it would never have been that early. We walked to the Kamogawa, and jumped on a train to the north of the city. The Jidai Matsuri started at 12, but the gates opened at 10.30 and we were keen for coffee and food on the way.
We grabbed a Starbucks coffee, and one of us had a matcha coffee cake, (I’m not mentioning who, but as I am wheat intolerant, you can probably guess) and then a mid morning curry breakfast. That may sound a bit weird, but anytime of the day is a good time for Japanese curry.
We then made our way up to the Imperial Palace. Maki-san had got tickets for the Jidai Matsuri for us on the day they were released. We had excellent front row seats not far from the beginning of the parade. I was extremely excited. Jidai Matsuri, or Festival of the Ages, is one of Kyoto’s biggest 3 festivals. It has been celebrated for 123 years. It is a parade, going backwards in time from the Meiji Restoration (1868) when the Shoguns lost their power, to the beginning of Kyoto being the Capital of Japan in 794. People dress in the traditional clothes, historically accurate for each time period and many people dress as significant historical characters. It was HEAVEN!!! I was up the front, taking a gazillion photos, seeing all my favourite historical characters, and I loved every second of it. Despite the burning sun and the lack of shade. The festival was cancelled the year before due to rain, so I was not really complaining. I will write a more indepth, seperate blog about the Matsuri as I could go on and on, and have so many photos.
After the festival we walked into Nishiki Market, grabbed a cold beer (Super Sake Boy) and a yuzu highball (me) and some edamame and gobu chips (burdock root) and chilled for a bit in a little izakaya. A little bit of shopping at Kyoto Loft, for excellent Japanese stationery, that we are both suckers for, and then onto dinner. We found a lovely little yakitori izakaya, and if it sounds like we have been eating a lot of yakitori, I am beginning to worry that we will turn into yakitori, soon….. We were both exhausted, so we grabbed a cab back to the guesthouse, and shared a lovely bottle of Matsumoto Sake, acquired by Super Sake Boy at Nishiki Market, with Maki. We talked with the girls, read Lancy’s speach she had written in English, which was amazing, and laughed, a lot. It is always awesome to be in Kyoto and just hang with friends.