In Kyoto (Day 2 – Part 2)

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Here we are at the grounds of Kiyomizu-dera. Complete with begging monk. Kiyomizu-dera is a Buddhist temple dedicated to Buddha and the Goddess of Mercy.  It is one of the oldest temples in Japan, built in AD798 but what is more amazing is that not a single nail was used to build it.

View from the verandah after entering the main hall

The place feels ancient the minute you walk in.  It’s amazing how the present building has survived the test of time since 1633.

Many people were burning joss sticks, offering up their prayers to the Goddess of Mercy or simply to make a wish while at a religious site.

This is the famous verandah of Kiyomizu-dera.  During the Edo period, there’s a popular saying of “to jump off the stage at Kiyomizu” where people believed that if they jumped off this verandah and survived the 13m plunge, their wishes would be granted.  234 jumps during the Edo period was recorded, with 85.4% survived.  This, of course, has since been banned.

The temple takes its name from the waterfall and this is what all these people are queuing for – a drink of water from the waterfall.  Once more, it is believed that this water has wish-granting abilities.  I couldn’t be bothered to queue because we were on a tight schedule since most places of attraction closed at 5pm.

After Kiyomizu-dera, we rushed our way to Ginkakujou aka Silver Pagoda and we barely made it at 4.30pm!

When you enter, you are greeted by this walkway lined with tall hedges of different varieties.  Although it looks all green below, when you walk through, you see pink, shades of green and yellow although it’s Spring.  In autumn, I bet this hedge would be in different shades of brown and oranges. 

This is almost like the epitome of Zen garden-ness.  Yup, I kinda made that word up but you know what I mean.

The Silver Pavilion/ Pagoda.

Sun setting on the garden

Below is my favourite view of the Ginkakujou.  You can just stay here and forget about the stress of the world.  Behind you is a quiet forest and you’re away from the hustle and bustle of the city.  But yet it’s a manicured garden that’s simply in harmony with nature.  Seems a bit strange to say so, but it’s like you’re simply moulding what nature has given you and creating a little haven for humans to reside in.

The spring water that they use for tea ceremonies

Back of Ginkakujou

It was nice to be able to make it to Ginkakujou but the entrance fee of JPY700 is rather steep, considering that the entrance fee to Kiyomizu-dera is only JPY300.  Alas, we didn’t manage to go to Kinkakujou where it is the Golden Pavilion.  Ah well…another excuse to go to Japan again!

And then…after walking for so long…what do we do? Eat again!!

To the left is matcha cream puff while to the right is sakura cream puff.  These cream puffs were explosive.  It was a messy, creamy dessert that cost us JPY300 each.  More expensive than Papa Beard but I think more satisfying in a way because these cream puffs were HUGE.  Prepare wet wipes and dry tissue.

Walking back to Gion, we chanced upon this expensive restaurant that seemed to specialise in Unagi.  It being 6pm, we decided to take Part 1 of our dinner here, since we wouldn’t be meeting my friend till 8pm.

Take note of the restaurant name “Matsuno”

I ordered a soup of loach (it’s a type of fish) in white miso and burdock (JPY700 without rice).  The soup was very rich and creamy, almost as if it was cream of mushroom.  There was quite a strong herbal flavour which would then ease off to a subtle sweetness of white miso and finally a punch of savoury.  Our concierge in Osaka told us that Kansai people love white miso.  Red miso is more of a Tokyo flavour, which is stronger and not sweet.

Above is the unagi set. It was small and very expensive at JPY 2,600 but the taste of it….OMG.  The barbeque taste is sooo different.  It’s indescribable.  You just HAVE to try it to know what I mean.  When you eat this, you don’t want to eat unagi that’s grown in China or Taiwan.  This unagi is soft, flavourful and the skin is barely noticeable.  The sauce tastes slightly different too.  LOVE it and will splurge on a large set the next time I ever go to Kyoto.

Finally met up with Sanae-chan whom I met in Cambodia while on another holiday and we just hit it off.  Maybe it’s because Sing, her and myself were the only females around the same age without partners etc on holiday then.  Nonetheless, it was a nice evening catching up with her after 2 years and we had ourselves another drinking session till 10.30pm.  I love their alcohol buffets if you ordered a minimum number of dishes.  Mmm…I do recall seeing a deal in Singapore on an alcohol buffet…mmm….

Would’ve stayed longer but rational part of me said, “Train back to Osaka!! You have to wake up relatively early for more sightseeing and eating the next day!!”  So, it will probably be another year or so before I see Sanae again.  Good thing is that she has Whatsapp! 🙂

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