Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kyoto, Japan {Part 1}

We started this morning off by catching a Nozomi Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Kyoto. After a yummy lunch of Tonkatsu (and two bottles of sake) on the famed restaurant floor of Kyoto Station, we took a shuttle to our hotel. 

We booked a traditional Japanese room at the Westin Miyako and LOVED it. We had a balcony in the woods, tatami mats, shoji doors, wooden tub, and they bring you hot tea and pull out a mattress to sleep on at night. So fun!

 Our first afternoon, we took a page out of our Lonely Planet guidebook and took a walking tour of Southern Higashiyama. We started at Kiyomizu-dera, a Buddhist temple. There is a theory that if you were to survive the 13m jump from the stage into the river below, one's wish would be granted. We didn't test this out...

It was pretty hot outside, so we had some matcha (green tea) shaved ice to cool off. After, we continued our walk through the area. We saw Chion-in, Shoren-in and a lot of streets filled with so much charm!

The next morning, we woke up and made the quick walk from our hotel to Nanzen-ji. This area was fun to walk around and Jason said it felt like we were transported into an anime movie.

Next, we took the Philosopher's Path on the way to Ginkaku-ji or the Silver Pavilion. This walk was nice and relaxing. You can even see us being very philosophical in a picture below.

Gingkaku-ji ended up being our favorite temple. Even though it was was overcast, the gardens were just beautiful and it wasn't nearly as crowded as the crazy Kinkaku-ji the next day. It was very "zen" I guess!

After this, we caught a cab over to Yoshikawa Inn Tempura for an amazing 12 course meal - 4 fish and 8 veggies. The place was tiny (11 total seats!) and we got to see the master at work. The tempura was so delicious and light. Add in a few Asahi beers and it was perfect.

From there, we made a quick walk over to Nishiki Market to check out the stalls. We picked up some chopsticks, souvenirs and other nick nacks there. One thing I can still vividly remember is the overpowering smell of pickled vegetables and fermented fish flakes. Not the best.

Up Next: There is no way Kyoto can be smushed into one post, so look for the recap of Part 2 soon!

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