Kyoto is the most “old Japan” it gets in Japan, and famous for its temples and gardens. There are at least a dozen famous ones, but just walking down any street you never go far without coming across a temple or shrine.
First up: Kinkaku – the so called “golden temple” – the main building is covered with gold foil. This is one of the most famous views of Japan – so there are lots and lots of Japanese tourists coming in big groups, and everybody is herded through the temple grounds along a straight path. Beautiful, but not exactly serene.
As always, the gardens are the best part.
I do not know the significance of the huge, geometrically exact cone-shaped pile of gravel. The whole country should come with an audio guide explaining what’s going on…
Alright, time for some more earthly pleasures – eating my way through nishiki market, a huge area downtown full of food shops and stalls.
An easy start: Fried and candied sweet potato. Not my favorite, but OK.
Now things get more interesting: a fried octopus on a stick, with an egg stuffed into its head. The verdict: Chewy, not much taste.
More fried octopus parts. Not bad when barbecued, but very chewy.
Some regular crab meat on a stick. Good, but almost boring.
Back to the old standby: Fried octopus balls. Very tasty.
Dessert. It has a picture of cows on it, so probably yoghurt? Please, let it be yoghurt. Phew, it actually was yoghurt.
One of the more popular items are these things that as far as I can tell are dried fish flakes.
Some beautiful classic Kimono fabrics. Prices here start at several hundred euros, though… Japan is generally not really that expensive, very much comparable to Germany. Just items that could be considered traditional, high-style crafts or art, or are intended to be prestige gifts, can be VERY expensive.
A tea shop with samples from all over Japan to smell. There were at least 200 of varieties to try. Sadly, I’ll travel too far from here to be able to do much shopping.
Time to go back to the guest house – Kyoto has two metro lines, but most useful routes for tourists are handled by buses, which are sometimes easy to understand, and sometimes not so much. Thank god for bus numbers in roman numbers – then take the bus in the direction of “two squiggly lines and barstool”, and get off at “pointed hat, blockhouse and christmas tree” (my Kanji interpretations are based purely on ignorance).
Cute sign at the guest house. Good night!