Kyoto, Day One
We got up in the morning and took the bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto. It is pretty awesome. Very civilized and of course quick. The train station feels like controlled chaos. When we got to Kyoto someone met us at the train. Trust me, finding us was not difficult. We jumped into a van and made our way to lunch.
Our next stop was Kinkaku-ji, Kyotos most elaborate Zen temple. The Golden Temple was built as a retirement home for a 14th Century Shogun. It is breathtaking. You can see the fine golden leaf on the building when you get closer. The small ground in the middle of the lake it sits on represents Japan. There are huge fish in those waters.
We had some time to kill so we stopped by the Nishiki-koji Market. Glad we did because we never ended up going back. Unfortunate because I really want to buy knives in this particular store but life goes on.
We walked back to the car and this door opened and we all gasped. Inside was some serious gambling going on. It was just wild. Noisy and smoky.
Our next stop was to a sake tasting. Luckily we had someone with us who could translate because the sommelier at Okitsu-an, an exclusive private club built in 1835, spoke zero english. The gardens were beautiful there too. We learned a little bit. Obviously it is all about the rice.
We checked into our hotel, Hoshinoya. A ryokan. We all slept in tatami rooms. It is located on the outskirts of Kyoto. You take a small boat down to the hotel. It is really unique and beautiful. One night is ample and we did two. After we checked in we had a kaiseki dinner. We wore the garb they gave us. Here is Fred in his outfit.
I am here in mine. Hat for warmth ( that is mine ). We decided that I'd take no pictures that night and we would just enjoy it together. A mixture of tiny bits of food. Some good, some weird but a really nice experience.