- Nishiki Market
- Gion Area
- Kennin-Ji Temple
- Maruyama Gardens
We headed to the nearby Nishiki Market which sold everything from local cuisine to tacky gifts. WE tried some of the food from the stalls such as sesame rice cake, prawn tempura, onion fishcake, japanese pancakes and a sweet tofu roll. It all tasted great and there were so many things to look at it was a feast for the senses.
We soon left the market and headed for the Gion area which is the entertainment district area of kyoto. Gion also contains many traditional buildings and you can often see geishas walking around.
It was a fantastic area and you felt like you were in real Japan. We then stumbled across Kennin-ji Temple which turned out to be one of kyotos most famous temples. We paid 500 yen each to have a look around. This temple was beautiful, wooden walkways lead you into and around the pristine gardens. The walls in each of the rooms were beautifully decorated with Japanese scenes or characters. We continued and found that in the gardens the stones had been raked into patterns around the trees or features. It was very zen and gave you time to sit down and relax and have a think.
The twin dragons was hand painted on Japanese paper and took the artist around 2 years. It was to celebrate the temples 800th anniversary. It looked fantastic and you could see every brush stroke had been undertaken with perfection.
After a walk around the temple grounds we left and continued through gion picked up an ice cream on the way. We found a pagoda which stood 46m high and towered above the other buildings at the foot of the hills.
We carried on and soon found the Maruyama Gardens which was beautiful, as we walked in we were greeted by the sound of a flute and saw a man playing in the centre with his dog in front of him wearing a samurai sword and bamboo hat. It was very amusing and the dog was loving it just sprawled out on the floor.
We wondered around the pristine gardens and along the cobbled pathways which were submerged with greenery and the iconic cherry trees. We followed the paths which took us into the hills and there were enormous katsura trees. Katsura trees foliage when it drops smells similar to burnt sugar/ candy floss which smelt great, one I learnt from my horticulture tutor Mike salotti.
We walked deeper into the hills until you could just hear the sounds of the critters in the jungle and the mosquitos began to attack. A beautiful view of the city was presented and we quickly retreated back to the park to get away from the mosquitos.
We left the green city retreat and ventured back into the city which had begun to light up. Lanterns lined the paths, we walked through Gion and found a small Japanese restaurant hidden away in the back streets. We ordered an assortment of tempura, udon (noodles) and rice washed down with a refreshing bottle of beer. We sat and looked over the kitchen whilst we watched the chef make it from scratch and once it was ready it was presented to us. It tasted fantastic and was probably the best meal we have had since being in Japan.
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