Foreword: Much thanks to mashi who is the model "hand" for most of the food pictures. Also to becks hands who were featured in the cream puff pictures.
I bet this trail of email post on Japan is going to keep me supremely occupied over the next few weeks. Well, i will look only for the interesting parts and those that cover food. Other than that - throw out the window. It has been 2 weeks since i came back from Japan and i kinda miss it. I miss the quietness there plus ... ( aside the cold )... somehow or rather this is a more appealing country compared to most that i have visited. Back to the travelogue post.... nothing i can do about it.
After leaving Arashimaya, it was another 2 hour ride ( i think ) to Higashimaya. Ok, so i slept most of the time. *Snore..* Some how the freaky morning rush in from the airport wrecked havoc to my tummy, so i had a minor gastric attack in the romantic train ride ( rolls eyes ). Sleeping at least help me forget about the pain from the gastric. I still remember Becks telling me -"You slept through the train ride".... -_-"... was pretty tired leh. hehehe.
Higashimaya is right smack in the middle(or was it east?) of Kyoto and this the old district of the town. It houses one or few of the most famous temples in kyoto. One being Heian Jingu which we did not go and the other is Kiyomizu Dera or clear water temple. This is listed as one of the UNESCO heritage sites and it is no wonder, the view from the temple is excellent. (Provided it is not filled with people.) Since the temple is built on top a lot of high verandas, it is said, a long time ago, if you jump of the veranda and survived the fall, your wish will be granted. Any takers??
Also houses the god of love .... who has 2 stones in front of the shrine. If you can walk, (eyes closed) from one stone to the other, means you will find true love. Assisted, means you need an "intermediary" to help you out. Did i try? Not really. Possibly because there were about 50 people there mulling around... where is the privacy in all this *heck*.
Now, besides looking at the stones, this section of the temple houses a lot of other gods. It is said in Japan there is about 800,000 gods or goddesses (wow that be a lot ) so, we have love god in one corner, and also if you are sure the gods are not on your end, and you are being "cussed" by someone, you can Tar Siu Yan - japanese style. Yes, just write the name of the person you don't like and the issues you are having and drop this piece of paper in a bowl of water. All your troubles will ... dissolve away into a white mesh. I felt i need about 100 pieces of this but 200 yen per piece is really gonna set me back. kekeke.
I felt i needed a bit more good luck this year, so i bought a charm here. :). One can use all the help you can get sometimes. It is 500 YEN BTW WAY!!! Luck does not come cheap sometimes. Btw - you can also buy a o-mamori for pets here .. lol... but 500 yen is a bit too much for my russell boy
My first sakura shot for the day. And what a sad one. Why? Because it was not so blooming in Kyoto. Some how or rather our first sakura sights were pretty poor. Maybe the weather was not so helping the flowers here as well. ( Was freaking cold that day )
Kyoto is also famous for their Geishas. The origin of geishas, apparently started here in Kyoto, in a place called Gion. Now, do note that photographing this lady, costs you money! So that is why there is a backside shot. Yes, see this lady here, with the basket? Okane-kashite... :P I think this more of a maiko than a geisha as her costume seems more elaborate. Well, one can correct me if i am wrong. This the closest i have come to one a geisha. She is btw , here to say pay homage at the temple just like ordinary japanese people.
Now, Kiyomizu dera is up a hill, surrounded by shops. After all that walking up, i think my stomach started to get confused and it was hungry. Uh... there was so much food around the shops, i was seriously tempted to buy almost every thing. [yes, mashi - it didn't show, think at this point with so many shops, both mashi and i were 0o_o0 looking at them]. However, knowing i can only store very little in my stomach, i need to be a bit more selective in what i buy.
There was this puff shop we noticed that had a lot of people queuing to buy cream puff from. Japan, is a quite into creme puff. With beardpapa and all, it did not surprise me to find this shop full. However, it was not beardpapa we bought from - can't remember the shop name. -______-". We bought 2 flavors, me the usual custard, mashi the sakura flavored. Points form to describe the puff: Yummy, messy and very delicious. And it is surprisingly light and not heavy. By the way, it was about 200yen for this one puff. ( 100YEN = RM3.2 )
Now, cold weather means we increase eating power. While waiting for the rest of the people in our tour group, mashi and i spotted this place where had a lot people queuing again. In japan, long queue means = good food or something very good. We mossyed over and found this shop selling Manju or buns or pau. Wah! Our eyes when 0_0. Why? Nice warm stuff in our cold cold hands. There were many manju flavors such as beef(hmm?), some flavours i have no idea what it was and shimeji, which are mushrooms. Compared to our malaysian pau, this is not so fluffy in texture. Hence it looks a bit flat but the content is some what healthier. Shimeji is a small form of mushrooms and for this pau, it was probably cooked in it's own sauces. Becks thinks it is a bit bland but mashi and i think it is probably healthier than our malaysian versions. Happiness :) By the time we reached the bus, we were pretty full. :P. So, it is off to the hotel for us to rest and more snoozing.....
Next, traditional style breakfast in Hikone hotel.... Oh... at the moment there is not much sakura pictures yet as the weather is pretty cold. There will be more sakura pictures over the next few posts.