Returning to the old capital

15 08 2009

Again we were asked to leave the house early – today was Indian Independence Day and our host had things to do. So we were on our way to the subway by 7am, having had some fruit and sugary bran cereal for breakfast. We caught the subway following by the JR train to Kyoto where we caught another train to Atsu’s lovely new apartment
(he had just moved in).

We rested in the morning, enjoyed Atsu’s hospitality then he showed us the local  train and walked us to the bus stop. We left him behind and headed out to lunch to Vege Note. They had a very generous lunch set with fried croquettes or fried battered carrot plus they had a decadent chocolate cake with fresh fruit for dessert. A little boy sitting at the table next to us dropped his glass cup and it shattered under our table and landed on my thongs. Although I wasn’t hurt we continue eating until they had said ‘sumimasen’ 100 times and left the restaurant.

We picked up some flyers about the Vegan Festival in Kyoto then headed off with our one-day bus pass (bargain value for Y500 it gives unlimited travel on city buses in Kyoto which really saves money if you are seeing lots of sights in a day since buses charge a flat fare of Y220 per trip).

So we caught the bus up to Kinkaku-ji, the Golden Pavillion. It was busy with tourist group tours but we managed to glipse the famous temple covered in gold leaf and then wander around the gardens for a while. Then we caught the bus down to Ryoan-ji, a zen temple famous for its dry rock garden. It had a huge pond and nice gardens to walk through but lots of people were sitting on the viewing platform over the rock garden. There are 12 rocks and from any one place you cannot see them all – such is the comtemplative aspect of the dry landscape garden.

We caught the bus across town to Ginkaku-ji, hoping to get in before closing but the roads were busy and we had to transfer buses so we didn’t make it there before closing time. So instead we bused down to the Kyoto Imperial Palace Park. The gardens were a bit boring compared to the well-tended temple gardens but we were able to sit down and drink lots of water to rehydrate after a hot day.

The cicadas were chirping loudly as dusk approached so we caught another bus and got off close to Kyoto University. We met Atsu and had dinner at the most popular veg*an restaurant in Kyoto, Cafe Proverbs 15:17. It was hard to choose what to eat from all the delicious options, but Benno had Kyoto-style curry ramen with gyoza and Lara had Japanese-style curry rice with spring rolls and an ice latte. We had chocolate tofu tiramisu cake and a peach tart for dessert. So delicious!

We headed back to Atsu’s house and enjoyed matcha (cold green tea) with traditional Japanese sweets from Himeji.

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