Kyoto – Day 3
Today we promised ourselves to visit some famous sites in Kyoto and fill up some more of our goshuin cho (sacred stamp book). But first our stomach requires more attention then our soul, so armed with a one day buss pass (500 yen for a whole day of bus travel within the city limits) we went to Nishiki food market. This market place is just as busy with tourists as it is with locals and it seems to sell everything food-related fresh or already cooked.
For our breakfast: Japanese omelet (tamagoyaki) at shop 1, A bit of grilled eel at store 2, fried fishcakes
at store 3 and then to finish off rice with chestnuts at store 4
And then it’s on to the temples, first kinkaku ji,the famous golden tempel on the west side of Kyoto. We knew we were on the right bus because it was totally packed. Both Japanese as foreign tourists. The temple itself is certainly impressive and so are the gardens and pond around it bus seeing it so busy even on a weekday takes the fun out of it a little.
The silver temple (ginkaku ji) is the more calm brother of the golden temple and is set on the east side of the city, so our buspass really pays off. The silver temple is built up against a hillside so from the busstop we still had a bit of a climb waiting for us. Luckily the road is lined with shops so we have something to keep us distracted. Souvenirs, tea, local delicacies,… one after the other.
Once we readed the silver temple it seemed even busier but that might be because it’s building are built closer together with small paths between them. The temple itself isn’t really silver but it’s made of dark wood. In the olden days the wood would have been lacquered giving it a silver shine in the sun.
Just before the temple is abeautifull sand garden and we were able to see how the trees in the garden are trimmed. Inch by inch with a small pair of siccors. That makes my gardening look like the texas chainsaw massacre. Behind he temple we could go further up the hill and enjoy a great view over Kyoto. After leaving the temple it was getting time for a snack the latest craze in culinary Japan. In Belgium it’s macarons that are hip, here it’s creampuffs. We picked one with green tea cream and another one with the seasonal chestnut cream
We walked past the famous philosophers path down a small river, during spring when the cherryblossoms are in full bloom his must be an amazing sight but in fall wheen the cherry tree has losts it’s leaves and it’s starts raining we choose the leave the philosophy to the experts and take the bus for Kiyomizu dera temple.
Kiyomizu dera is the temple of the pure water, lucky for us the water stopped falling from the sky once we get off the bus. We follow the stream of tourists up to the temple past the same kinds of souvenir shops. A lot of Japanese tourists also go dressed in kimono. around this area there are a lot of shops that provide kimono rentals so you can go visit the temples in style.
This once even more then the silver temple is also built on a hillside and gives even a more clear view over the city. If you even opened a travel guide from Kyoto you must recognize the image below.
Japan has 2 major religions, Buddhism and Shinto, the latter is more nature and spirit worship but still both work harmoniously together het in Japan. From the Buddhist Kiyomizu dera you can walk to the Shinto Jinshu shrine that worships the god of love. Here you can close your eyes and walk between 2 love stones, the distance is about 6m and if you can find the other stone with your eyes closed you will also find true love.
But it was kinda busy and we didn’t want to take the risk and get lost blind on the temple grounds … no need to tempt fate.
Time to head back to the ryokan and freshen up before dinner. Our travelagent booked dinner for us at the tofu restaurant Mameya genzo. Unlike the monks in Koyasan, here they have no problem combining fish/meat and tofu so we are in for a treat with an introduction to the Kyoto kaiseki style dinner.
Many different dishes in a specific order and with seasonal ingredients, first small appetizers with among others chestnut and sweet potato (omdat het herfst is), sashimi, a clear soup, simmered tofu …
Heaven on a plate.
Now we had our sayonara dinner for Kyoto we head back to the ryokan and get packing because tomorrow we leave for Tsumago.
Some more pictures are added to the photo page.