Catching up in Kyoto
Owing to a general writers apathy I apologise in advance that this post is super photo heavy and word light.
One of the parts of our recent Japan trip that was most trepidacious for me was visiting Kyoto. not because I held any concerns about how lovely Kyoto would be, it seems to be one of those places that it is impossible to take a bad photograph, or have a bad time.
No I was nervous because we would be meeting people that are very important to me, yet I had never met on both days we were there. Of course any worry was absolutely silly and dispelled the instant we were greeted on the first day at the train station by our exchange family. For the last (almost) two years we've been involved in a short stay exchange program for our middle child, last year we had our student visit us and right now Tarrant is staying with them. When our host family heard that we were in Japan they graciously and excitedly organised to show us around Kyoto for a day.
Honestly this city would be a gorgeous place to visit without friends but with just made it that much sweeter. There is a reason that Japanese hospitality is lauded above many other countries and that is the unbelievably giving and caring nature of anyone hosting you there, gracious in ways that I couldn't been when Eve did her usual restaurant sulk. Just immensely lovely to spend time with, much like the city itself.
Our first stop was to the Fushimi Inari shrine. Honestly the beauty of this place, and of Kyoto in general speaks for itself.
The days were hot and way more humid than I am used to, yet although packed to the gills with people the shrine was pleasant to walk through and soak in its peaceful vibe. Eve enjoyed frolicking through the torii pathways, and trying to lift a rock to make a wish (it was too heavy for her).
We moved on from the shrine to a day so packed with activity I am struggling to recall the order of events.
It seems that Japan is an ice-cream lovers dream, everywhere we went there were huge plastic ice-cream cones in front of stores to let you know there was ice-cream. Without fail Eve would spot them and say "ice-cream anyone" even though the poor poppet couldn't have them because of the dairy!
We stopped for lunch and while Eve did her usual restaurant sulk I enjoyed cold green tea noodles, cold noodles being something that would never have crossed my mind to eat yet absolutely, amazingly delicious, and so I am a total convert who now needs to learn how to make her own matcha noodles!
We also visited the stunning Kiyomizu temple and took a matcha preparation lesson completely in Japanese, my Japanese being so bad that all I really got was the teacher giggling at me for not understanding! But it was still fun, not so much for poor Tyler who fit in the room about as well as a tall guy driving a mini.
Anyway, if you want to go somewhere beautiful, serene despite crowds and full of delicious food do try Kyoto, it's even better with friends but you'll have to get your own!