B went for an early morning run and then kindly went to get us some coffee yesterday morning. It seems Japanese don’t drink coffee for breakfast as the ‘Coffee on the Go’ place in the same road as us doesn’t open until 11am and the again it was closed on Wednesdays as well! He did find another place but didn’t think to check the price and came back with R66 coffees (and no it wasn’t the best coffee we have drunk in our lives). I cooked some eggs for breakfast but realised midway through that there are no knives in the AirBnB at all. Tough to eat french toast (which M wanted) without a knife. Only option is to cut the bread with a fork. Really odd that they don’t have knives at all.
We headed out to walk to Kiyomizu-dera. It is a Unesco World Heritage site and was founded in 778 (no I am not missing a 1 in front). The current set of buildings were built in 1633 (modern version clearly). It is a series of shrines. It is quite a walk to get there for a number of reasons. Firstly it was 45 minutes from our AirBnB. Secondly, it was uphill (it is on the hills overlooking Kyoto) and thirdly, it was us and 1 million other people doing the same thing. At least we knew we were going in the right direction!
A number of Japanese seem to make the visit and a lot of them in full traditional dress (both men and women). There are also a lot of school tours. I discovered afterwards that one reason for this is because the Jishu Shrine is there which is dedicated to the god of love (Okunisnushi) and good matches. Apparently there are two stones placed 19 feet apart (we didn’t see this because we couldn’t bring ourselves to pay for entrance in the shrines) and if you can walk between with your eyes closed then you will find love. If you need assistance to do it then you will need assistance to find love (a middle man will be required). Of course the person helping you could also be the person you find love in. Which explains why so many young couples were entering.
We walked back down to through Gion which is the geisha district. As it was late morning there were only a few giesha around (probably on their way to work) and most of the restaurants and bars in the area were closed still. It is alongside the river so was quite a pretty walk. We then went to Edion (which is a large electronics store in Kyoto) – 5 floors and a lot more than just electronics actually. We then headed back into the Nishiki market to Artisugu which is a Japanese knife store in the market. It crafts some of the knives in store even. Some of the knives available for sale cost R100000 ($7000)! I suspect if you bought one of those you could pass the knife down to your grandchild eventually. They had a cheese grater which cost R1000.
It was lunchtime and so we went to find a gyoza restaurant. The place we went to only had 3 options on the menu and basically the only thing that changed was how many pieces you got and whether you got rice & miso soup with it or not. It was a very small place and clearly frequented by locals mainly. It was called Sukemasa (http://sukemasa.kyoto/). They were really good (and filling given we had 12). We were pretty exhausted by this point and so headed back to the AirBnB for a quick nap and rest.
Late afternoon B and I went to the train station to book tickets for our trip today and for the next day. Unfortunately the only place to do that in Kyoto is seemingly at the main station so a 30 minute walk (there and back – hour round trip) was the only option. Feet (and in my case ankles) are very sore! We did stop at supermarket to get ingredients for another stir fry for dinner – stuck with chicken but changed up the vegetables and noodles (went with brown wheat noodles). B & I let M cook again – we were too tired to get up!
Until tomorrow …
P, B & M