Adventures living as expats.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Kyoto Cherry Blossoms

The first weekend of April was the annual Tomb-Sweeping Holiday in Taiwan so we took advantage of the long weekend and booked a quick trip to Kyoto.  We were hoping that the timing would be right to see some of the famous sakura trees blooming.  We arrived just in time along with many other tourists.  

On our first day we badly needed to stretch our legs so we walked through Maruyama Park and Yasaka Shrine exploring the old temples and various market venders throughout.   Later that evening we strolled through Gion Street and got a glimpse of a geisha with the fully white make-up, adorned hair, and  6-inch high wooden sandals.  I was told that you shouldn't take pictures so I painfully resisted the temptation.  For dinner we enjoyed the most delicious bowls of ramen we've ever tasted.  
The first of MANY cherry blossom selfies.  We both agreed that we look tired in this one, but couldn't manage to get the "perfect" selfie so this will have to do.  
It's popular for tourists to dress up in kimonos and explore around Kyoto.  I wasn't brave enough but certainly loved seeing the outfits.  

Tea time treat - a rolled matcha cake
Our second day we opted to see a few more temples in the morning and took the bus to Rokuon-ji Temple, also known as the golden temple and Ryoanji Temple, which has a beautiful lake in the center.   That night we had a long standing reservation at a popular and well reviewed Kaiseki (traditional multi-course Japanese dinner) restaurant and walked around for almost an hour searching for the location and asking local shops to no avail.  As I got hangry, we had to settle for yakitori and were left speculating about the meal that we missed.  
Rokuon-ji Temple
Ryoanji Temple

On our last full day we toured Fushimi Inari after a close friend recommended seeing it.   In the afternoon we visited Nijo Castle which is famous for its "nightingale floor" that squeaks like birds as people walk on it in order to protect the occupants from possible assassins.    We wrapped up the evening with an amazing sushi dinner that ended in a bit of disaster for Jeff after a piece of sushi slipped out of his chopsticks into his soy sauce dish.  We enjoyed a good laugh along with our sushi chef who of course witnessed the whole episode.  

Traditional Japanese breakfast - very filling and kept us going until a late lunch
Fushima Inari
I couldn't resist this grapefruit juice regardless of the $5 price . 
Honke Owariya - soba noodle lunch
Nijo Castle entrance
Nijo Castle grounds
The history and delicious food really captured our hearts in Kyoto.  We don't often return to places in our travels, but I could absolutely see us visiting Kyoto again in the future.  
My last cappuccino in Kyoto

1 comment:

  1. Looks like another amazing trip to Kyoto. Wish we could hang with you kids. Let me know if we can send you goodies or if there is a huge tax on imports like Indonesia.
    Love DBKZ