Tuesday, July 29, 2014

On to Kyoto

On Sunday morning, we packed up our bags to go to Kyoto.

But first, we had to walk about a mile from our hotel to get to the rail station where we would catch a local train to take us to Tokyo Station. Walking in this heat is challenging enough, but pulling or carrying a couple pieces of luggage made it an ordeal.

All was good once we were on the shinkansen (bullet train) that would take us to Kyoto in under three hours.

After lunch, our first stop was the Nishijin Textile Center where they make kimonos. We saw a kimono fashion show.

Kai is at that stage in life where anything related to romance or love is yucky. But he seemed smitten with the ladies in kimonos. Afterward he said he fell in love. When I asked with which one, he said all of them.

We then took a look around the textile center. One of the most interesting things was seeing live silkworms.

After that, we took a bus over to the famed Zen temple, Ginkakuji (Silver Pavilion), which dates back to the 1400s.

After that, we went over to Nanzen-ji, another Zen Buddhist temple established in 1291.

When we arrived there, Kai seemed to be getting cranky so I was surprised when he eagerly joined me as I went up to the top of the main gate.

We had a great view of the temple.

Kai is getting to be an expert at lighting incense and praying at temples.

We then took a cab to the ryokan (Japanese inn) where we would be staying the night. We had to give Kai his iPad time, but it wasn’t too long. We went to Gion Corner to see a one-hour sampling of 7 Japanese arts: tea ceremony, flower arrangement, koto zither, kyo-mai dance, gagaku court music, kyogen (comic) theater, and bunraku (Japanese puppet theater).

As the performance started, Kai was got very frustrated when he could not see as tall people were sitting in front of us. He started to express his frustrations loudly so my wife and father-in-law took him to a spot in the back where he could stand up and see everything, and relax in between the various arts.

I was wondering if he would enjoy any of the performances, but it seems like he actually enjoyed some of it, especially the comedy portion.

After that, we went back to the ryokan. I introduced my nephews to the Japanese bath. Then we had dinner dressed in our yukatas (casual kimono) that are provided during our stay.

Dinner was the traditional Kyoto kaiseki, a lavish, multi-course feast with highly refined artistic presentation consisting of about ten different small dishes.

That night, we slept on the floor on futons that are laid out over tatami mats.


  1. Beautiful! 1291? No wonder people consider our country young! ha.
    I love those sloped roof lines that are so Japanese,..charming!

    1. Kyoto still has many of the old Japanese buildings, which is a contrast from Tokyo. Tokyo was rebuilt after all many of the old buildings were destroyed by the bombings during WWII.

  2. I loved Kyoto. Ha...I don't blame Kai. I find Asian women to be the most beautiful in the world...expecially when they dress up.

    That food spread looks great! You must have been hungry after expending all those calories during your long walk. You must have been sweating profusely after that ordeal. The train must have been especially good to finally get on. I love the Japanese trains. Kai must have been thrilled.

    1. I was happy that my nephews were adventurous and wanted to try everything in the kaiseki.

      Kai liked the shinkansen, but mainly because he could watch videos in the iPad in comfort.


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