The first day of our trip in which we got to explore for more than a whole day!
We were in Kyoto the last time we came to Japan, but we missed some of the things we really wanted to see. So this time, since we only have a day and a half here, our goal was to see those things. Picture heavy post warning.
We started out with a delicious and varied breakfast at the hotel, Reiah Hotel in Itsiyama.
Then we headed off to the station to ride the short local train to get back to the larger Kyoto station. I love this place:
It’s big, open, beautiful, and full of delicious things like sakura lattes.
Our first real destination was Nishiki Market, which is this glorious food market that spans over 130 shops. Last time I think we missed out because I couldn’t find it. This time we got directions.
This place is intense. It’s filled with unique foods and smells and strange things:
These are where those giant sliced cake rolls come from.
Every kind of roast fish
These are special pickles?
Mouth full of fish ball!
Colorful pickles and dried vegetables
Roast chestnuts – but no one could sell us just one.
Octopus stuffed with a quail egg…on a stick.
So after we’d wandered to our heart’s content, we stumbled into a crane game arcade and Aubri had to learn a lesson about how you don’t always win when the crane is rigged.
We also ran across a store to pick up new wombs,
And the site of a tragic plane crash:
Then we moved on and got directions to walk toward Chawanzaka, or “Tea Pot Lane.” Another shopping/artisan district I couldn’t find until the places were all closed last time.
On the way we passed Yasaka shrine, where a cherry blossom festival thing was going on. We took some pictures:
Some ladies dressed up for the festival.
A statue of a child reaching out to a rabbit. Aubri was enthralled.
Kobe beef skewer was delicious.
So we finally moved on to Chawanzaka, which is basically a really uphill street lined with loads of teapot/teacup vendors. We didn’t see any cast iron tea pots though.
At the top is another temple, Kiyomizudera, and we walked there because we were already most of the way up and the sakura were beautiful.
These two were SO cute!
And then we got this glorious sakura/green tea ice cream deliciousness. Yes, we eat a lot of treats.
So after that long walk, we were ready for lunch. We hauled back to the subway and hopped over to the Kyoto station. On the 10th floor is another myriad of noodle houses, so we decided to try one that had a different kind of offering. This place gave you as many eggs as you wanted to crack into your own bowl. Also they had crazy thin sliced pork sauteed and tossed on top. Yum.
I should deviate here to say that we eat a lot of ramen (apparently), but also that I eat pork in Japan where I won’t eat it in America. I’m having a difficult time finding research to support the reasons, but I can say that at least some of their pork varieties are fed vegetarian (in some cases, pure sweet potato) diets. That makes a big difference.
Anyway, we wandered around the station for a bit. We found a Japanese Thneed:
and then headed to Fushimi Inari Shrine, which is accessible from the Inari stop on the JR Nara line. This shrine is made up of thousands of Torii gates lining winding walkways with lots of ups and downs.
The gates are purchased by businesses and organizations to bless them with prosperity, and some of the larger ones cost upwards of 1 million yen (about $10,000) and have to be replaced every 5-7 years.
Aubri washing her hands at the entrance.
Aubri started out this walk pretty perky and somewhat uncontrollable. It only escalated, really.
She roped some friends into following her most of the way.
Tiny pregnant kitty was very sweet.
A break near the top.
Sunset in the sakura blossoms.
We were tired at the end and headed back to the station to get dinner. We wound up with an avocado kobe beef burger which was delicious:
In Japan BURGER EAT YOU!
And then we picked up a couple of amazing snacks to eat afterward: A tiramisu waffle sandwich:
And a green tea waffle too. Also a strawberry one that missed being photographed.
Whew, what an exhausting day! So much running and so many stairs… But we hit all three areas I wanted to see!
Tomorrow we do Kyoto Pt. 2 and Kawaguchiko, but since there are four hours of train/bus rides in between the two, we’ll also talk about more tips for traveling in Japan.