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Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Kyoto: Three Girls, Three Days - Page 2

Written by Patti Morrow
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Our last stop of the day was the Kiyomizu Temple, a rambling complex in eastern Kyoto.  The sun beat down on us as we climbed the inclined path and endless stairs to the top, where we were rewarded with a jaw-dropping view into the precipice below.  We were regaled with stories originating from the Edo period in which tradition declared if you jumped off the veranda and survived, your wish would be granted.  Legend has it that 234 jumps were recorded, with a surprising 85% surviving.  “Don’t do!” our Japanese guide insisted.  Illegal now.”  Seriously.

 

Back down at street level, we happily found ourselves surrounded with row-upon-row of shops selling all manner of Japanese goods, like Samurai swords and green tea ice cream.  Well, those are the things I bought; there were lots of other things, too.

 

Our second day was technically in the Kyoto/Osaka/Kobe metropolis; since Osaka is only thirty minutes by train, it seemed a shame not to go.  After arriving at Osaka train station, we took the subway directly to Osaka Castle.  It was another long, uphill trek in the hot sun to get to the castle, but the grounds and landscaping were beautiful. This shogun castle is impressively perched at the top of the steep hill, complete with an impossibly high wall and moat.  The scenery here made a great backdrop and we took advantage for a bunch of fun photos. 

Osaka Castle 

The Dotonbori district of Osaka, along the canal, is the place to go for colorful nightlife, theater, shops and restaurants.   While not as neon-saturated as Tokyo, the bright lights juxtaposed against 17th century temples and atmosphere makes it a must-see in Osaka. 

 

Our last day in Kyoto was our favorite day from our week in Japan.  

 

We spent the morning and part of the afternoon walking all over the downtown area, just blocks from our hotel.  The Nishiki Market enveloped us in a sensory overload of enticing (and repulsive!) seafood, other foodstuffs and Japanese candy.  Marie, who could eat raw fish for every meal, was in heaven.  Me?  Not so much.  For lunch, I attempted to eat a “squid on a stick.”  Granted, it had been boiled first and shellacked with a kind of soy coating, but after I forced myself to stop gawking at its unattractive looks, my teeth could not penetrate the tough, slimy skin.  Yuck!  I abandoned the squid for some tempura shrimp, much more to my liking.

Kyoto NishikiFishMkt Squid 

Beyond the fish market was a plethora of shops where we found everything our hearts’, or pocketbook, fancied, from yukata – the casual kimono, to fans, jewelry, art, tea sets, paper lanterns, masks, and of course Maneki neko – the Japanese lucky charm cat from which some say Hello Kitty originated. 

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Last modified on Friday, 01 November 2013

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