29 December 2013

Kyoto day 9

Saturday 23rd November

I met up with my Japanese friends Miki, Maki and Kaori at my hotel. We had all become friends in 2007 when we were at Edinburgh College of Art summer school. Unfortunately our other friend Sayoko couldn't join us, as she is at art college in Dundee.

First we walked to an exhibition that Kaori knew about. The items were all made of washi paper and wood. It was held in a space with traditional tatami mat floors, so we had to take our shoes off. Many of the exhibits were down at floor level, so it was great to be able to kneel or sit down on the floor for a closer look. It almost felt like being in someone's home rather than an art gallery.

We then took the subway and then the train to Arashiyama. The train was crowded, and when we reached Arashiyama the streets were heaving with people. I knew that it was going to be one of the busiest days of the year there, but I had no idea quite how busy that would be! I've never before in my life seen so many people! The streets were packed in all directions.

My friends pointed out Sayoko's house to me, and then we headed straight to the restaurant that she had recommended. There was a 3 hour waiting list, so we would have to go back there at 4pm! To keep us going we bought some croquettes and other snacks, and ate them sitting by the river.

Then we headed to Tenryuji Temple. It was busy, but the autumn colours were spectacular! They had truly reached their peak. There was a beautiful garden with a pond, which made use of the borrowed scenery of the hills behind it, which were covered with trees of every colour.

We left by the gate which led into the bamboo forest, which again was packed with people. I will have to go back another time if I want moody, misty, lonely photos of a deserted bamboo path!

We then went to Jojakkoji Temple, which was quieter than Tenryuji but even more beautiful, I think. There were leaves of every possible shade of red, orange, yellow and green, and there were great views.

We realised it was time to go to the restaurant for our meal, and we had to hurry as it was further than we'd thought! The restaurant, Yoshimura, was right on the river, with large windows and a fantastic view. The meal was delicious! I had cold soba noodles with a dipping sauce (and I have become addicted to making something similar at home!), hot soba noodles with various mushrooms and other vegetables in a broth, tempura and fried rice, buckwheat tea, and the noodle cooking liquid which is a lovely drink too.

Miki and I said goodbye to Maki and Kaori at the bridge, and we headed to the railway station where we had to queue even to get on the platform to catch the Randen - an old-fashioned tram. We were in a lovely carriage with wood paneled walls. It was very busy, and by the time we got off we were both very sleepy!

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...