Japan: Kyoto

We took a bullet train from Tokyo to Kyoto and spent 3 days and 3 nights enjoying the sights, and tastes, of Kyoto. We visited more temples, shrines, zen gardens, rock gardens, castles, and palaces than I could possibly remember the names of, and even though we took over a thousand photos, I never tire of looking at them. Kyoto produced some of the most stunning images I’ve ever seen. The way the Japanese can manipulate and coax nature into breathtaking works of art is awe-inspiring.

Two experiences for which I’m especially grateful are the discovery of ryokans (traditional Japanese-style inns) and kaiseki dinners (elite Kyoto cuisine involving multiple courses). I’d never heard of ryokans until I started researching hotels in Kyoto. At first I was neither impressed by nor interested in ryokans upon learning that they were more expensive than regular hotels and involved sleeping on a futon on the floor. Who wants to pay extra for that? But then I learned that dinner and breakfast were typically included in the price of a room, and these were no ordinary meals. It was my introduction to kaiseki, which is basically foodie heaven. I could eat kaiseki every day for the rest of my life and die perfectly happy. It’s become my all-time favorite cuisine, and that’s not something I say lightly.

https://plus.google.com/u/1/photos/117364714322873137486/albums/5947565431289973681

On our last day in Kyoto, we made a pilgrimage to the impressive Fushimi Inari Shrine. I would’ve liked to have completed the several hour trek to the mountaintop, but I think that might have killed my poor old husband.

https://plus.google.com/u/1/photos/117364714322873137486/albums/5947741537937359649

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