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T-1 days and Waiting!

Written by Jeff Drake
11 · 04 · 18

Only a few hours to go until we leave for Japan! I tried to schedule a Lyft for 4:45am, but didn’t get any takes, so we’re going to the airport by ordinary taxi. Oh, well.

My last post left on in Kanazawa. On day 9 of our trip, after tea with a local Kanazawa family, we are on the road again, or rather on the tracks again, with a train ride from Kanazawa to Kyoto. We have a full 5 days in Kyoto, which is very nice. Switching hotels can be a drag if you do too frequently.

In Kyoto we get a full free day to ourselves, as well as two free afternoons! It sounds like they responded to client feedback and dropped a few temple visits to allow more time for people to explore Kyoto on our own, which is okay with us! There appears to be much to see and do in Kyoto.

Watching the videos on Youtube, Kyoto looks like a really cool city to visit! We’ll do a walking tour of the city and a visit to the Ryon-ji Zen Garden. Ryon-ji means “the Temple of the Dragon at Peace”. It has a Zen rock garden (think perfect lines drawn in sand) that was built in the 15th century. It has gone through several make-overs and is still an amazing place to see and experience.

We will still see our share of temples during this trip. In fact, we’ll visit Kinkakuji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion). I’m really hoping there will be some fall colors there! This temple is supposed to be a bit of an architectural centerpiece, so it should be interesting. Here we will have a real authentic Japanese style set meal. I’m not exactly sure what we’ll be eating, but that’s okay. I’m guessing there will be rice. LOL!

We’ll also get a lesson in sushi in Kyoto. We have watched the videos and know that they eat sushi slightly different than we do here. The sushi chef usually puts a dab of wasabi between the fish and the rice, so mixing up a slurry of wasabi and soy sauce is not needed; but you can still dip your sushi in some soy sauce, if you wish. And eating sushi with your fingers is fine, if that’s what rocks your boat.

We’ll also do a Japanese tea ceremony. Hooray! I’m looking forward to this and will read more about it. Every gesture made by the person preparing the tea has meaning. Very cool, and very Japanese! We’ll also visit the famous Arashiyama Bamboo grove. Having seen the videos on Youtube, the place looks amazing, but can be terribly crowded. I’ll do what I can to take photos of the grove with as few people as possible.

Last, but not least, we’ll get to visit a medieval Japanese castle called Nijo Castle. It’s huge and was an imperial palace at one time. The shoguns really liked to build grand structures! The castle is a UNESCO site (of course) and has yet another beautiful garden.

We’ll finish our tour with a final farewell dinner (as always) and fly home on November 18th.

I’ll post as often as I can and hope to share some photos along the way.

Sayonara!

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Comments

5 Comments

  1. Ross Evans

    Hi Jeff, Lisa,
    Hope you have a great trip.
    Not expecting a response but have my several recent emails reached you? A couple of days ago my large email (with attachments) bounced “Diagnostic-Code: smtp; 5.3.0 – Other mail system problem 552-‘5.7.0 Number of MIME parts exceeds maximum permitted’ (delivery attempts: 0)”
    Cheers,
    Ross

    Reply
    • jeffdrake-wp-admin

      Ross, great to hear from you! Thanks! I haven’t received an email from you since September 9th. Sounds like an email server problem!

      Reply
  2. kathleen Treb

    Enjoy. Want to see pictures and hear stories when you return.

    Reply
  3. Tim Kressman

    My parents forwarded me your post. A lot of the sights you mentioned are incredible; I hope you get to see the fall foliage there! I loved the Ryoan-ji rock garden, since it was so peaceful.

    Make sure you see the Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto. It’s wonderful, with all the red gates. I also liked doing the Philosopher’s Walk along the canal late in the day. I’d highly recommend seeing the Arashiyama district and the monkey park across the river. Really fun to walk around there. There’s a great place for steak called Steak Otsuka in that area — it’s only open for lunch time. I’d highly recommend, the reviews are excellent; you can get wagyu beef there for a good price. Also, think about a short day trip to Nara, it seems like you’ll have the time. It’s a quick 40-min train ride — there you can see one of the most fantastic temples in all Japan, the Todai-ji Temple. Himeji Castle is also worth seeing, one of the best-preserved samurai castles and about an hour from Kyoto. Have a great trip!

    Reply
    • jeffdrake-wp-admin

      Thanks, Tim! I had no idea you’d been to Japan. Your tips are good and we will look into them! Jeff

      Reply

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Author

Jeff Drake

Retired IT consultant, world-traveler, hobby photographer, and philosopher.
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