Trip to Japan and China 2013 – Part 3 of ???

Continued from Part 2.
I’ve been busy with some home improvement project and being bad with updating this…
I should just get it done quickly, so that I can blurb about the next topic… some remodeling of the house…

Day 2 in Kyoto

Breakfast:
The hotel we stayed provides breakfast (as it is more common than in the US). We were given two choices of restaurants. A buffet or a Japanese traditional breakfast. We expected my mom and grandmother to go to the Japanese restaurant, we decided to go to Buffet and then ask them about the other restaurant later… However, to my surprise, they were at the Buffet as well… My mom won’t be able to start her day without coffee, and expected that Japanese one won’t have it…

So, Here’s our breakfast..

It's more like a continental breakfast, with sausage, eggs, pancake etc, but for some reason, they had chicken nugget... Not as good as the "M" place, but well, I had about 10 of them...
It’s more like a continental breakfast, with sausage, eggs, pancake etc, but for some reason, they had chicken nugget… Not as good as the “M” place, but well, I had about 10 of them…

They also had some Japanese breakfast items.  Usually they are, Rice, Miso Soup (not in this picture), Grilled Fish, Pickled vegetables, and egg (not in this picture).  oh, and green tea.
They also had some Japanese breakfast items. Usually they are, Rice, Miso Soup (not in this picture), Grilled Fish, Pickled vegetables, and egg (not in this picture). oh, and green tea.

The first stop: Nijo-Castle
Our hotel was literally across the street front he Nijo-Castle. Even though it is called castle, it wasn’t build for the war, but more as a palace for the Shogun while he was visiting Kyoto, where emperor lived.

Kyoto is the most popular destination for the school trip.  doesn't matter where you go, you will find bunch of school trip students...
Kyoto is the most popular destination for the school trip. doesn’t matter where you go, you will find bunch of school trip students…

Surprisingly I didn’t take that many pictures… (maybe it was no camera inside or something…)

The coloring of the building is quite different from those you find elsewhere in Kyoto.  More color, instead of plain wood color and white wall..
The coloring of the building is quite different from those you find elsewhere in Kyoto. More color, instead of plain wood color and white wall..

The second Stop: Stone Garden of Ryo-An-Ji
This is also one of the famous spot in Kyoto, and you often find the picture of it on back of postcard, or some posters. Being a Zen-temple, this garden is designed to teach that you will never be perfect, and that’s why you should keep working toward it. When you sit at the En-gawa (balcony), you will never be able to see all 15 rocks in the garden. Only the the one who reached “Satori” can see all 15 stones at the same time.

The famous Stone Garden of Ryo-an-ji.  This is a touchable scaled model, and only way to see all 15 rocks at the same time
The famous Stone Garden of Ryo-an-ji. This is a touchable scaled model, and only way to see all 15 rocks at the same time

This is another temple that you need to be older to “get it”. When I was here for the school trip, way back when, I didn’t like it that much… but this time, it was very calming, and felt like I want to sit there and just relax…

The wall is made lower toward back so that you see the garden larger.
The wall is made lower toward back so that you see the garden larger.

Water used for the tea ceremony...   It said "吾唯足知", (I just know to have enough.)  when you know that you have enough, you will be happier, than people who ask for more.
Water used for the tea ceremony…
It said “吾唯足知”, (I just know to have enough.) when you know that you have enough, you will be happier, than people who ask for more.

Third Stop: Kin-Kaku-ji, the Golden Temple
This maybe one of the most famous temple for foreign visitors. And yes, this one is actually covered in gold unlike the silver temple is not covered in silver…
It is a beautiful temple, and remember I was really excited to see it when I was in middle school, but unlike some other temple that I saw earlier, I didn’t “feel it” this time…

Kin-Kaku-Ji.  The gold temple.  The building is covered in Gold flakes.  It is beautiful, and I remember the excitement when I saw it first time over 15 a decade and a half...
Kin-Kaku-Ji. The gold temple. The building is covered in Gold flakes. It is beautiful, and I remember the excitement when I saw it first time over 15 a decade and a half…

One of the reason that Kyoto is famous for tea ceremony is probably because of the water. they have those natural springs everywhere, and their water suppose to be very tasty…

Water used for tea by Shogun once upon a time..
Water used for tea by Shogun once upon a time..

Quick Stop: Aburi-Mochi (grilled Mochi)
Just a quick stop to have some cold tea and a local snack, we stopped for Aburi Mochi.
Almost felt like you are jumped into a Movie set of Seven Samurai (by the way, if you’ve never watched, this is something You Must Watch!)

Almost like a movie set for samurai movie..   Infact, this place was used to shoot some of those movies and dramas before...
Almost like a movie set for samurai movie.. Infact, this place was used to shoot some of those movies and dramas before…
Sticky rice is rolled in some bean powder, and then grilled... Each handmade.
Sticky rice is rolled in some bean powder, and then grilled… Each handmade.
served with some sweet sesame syrup,
served with some sweet sesame syrup,
there were a little "old Japan" in the back of their restaurant...
there were a little “old Japan” in the back of their restaurant…

Stop Four: Inoda Coffee (for Lunch)
This is one of the old coffee shop in Kyoto. My dad who used to go to school here, strongly recommended us to go. It felt like the place has been left in Showa Era…

Inoda Coffee Shop.
Inoda Coffee Shop.

To be honest, the food was.. well.... oh well... this is something like deep fried Spam...
To be honest, the food was.. well…. oh well… this is something like deep fried Spam…
Fried Shrimp Sandwich
Fried Shrimp Sandwich
Menchi-Katsu-Sandwich.  it's like a deep fried berger meat.  actually this was delicious!
Menchi-Katsu-Sandwich. it’s like a deep fried berger meat. actually this was delicious!
Chestnut Cake. I think, Kyoto's sweet things are generally bit too sweet to my taste..
Chestnut Cake.
I think, Kyoto’s sweet things are generally bit too sweet to my taste..
Cheese Cake, I think...
Cheese Cake, I think…
Fruits-An-Mitsu.  Fruits, Ice Cream, and Sweet Red Bean Paste Parfait.
Fruits-An-Mitsu. Fruits, Ice Cream, and Sweet Red Bean Paste Parfait.
oh, and of course, they serve coffee.  their coffee was very good.
oh, and of course, they serve coffee. their coffee was very good.

Stop Five: Nishiki Market
So, eating at a coffee shop was never enough, we decided to go to a local market to eat more.. (just kidding.. well, kind of)

Nishki market.  Kyoto's most popular market street.
Nishki market. Kyoto’s most popular market street.

The typical market street has roof covering the street, so that shopper can shop whiteout getting wet.
The typical market street has roof covering the street, so that shopper can shop whiteout getting wet.
some kind of fried potato.. yum!
some kind of fried potato.. yum!
Soy Milk Ice Cream.  well, it tasted good for being soy milk.  to be honest, I like the real milk ice cream better.. ^^;
Soy Milk Ice Cream. well, it tasted good for being soy milk. to be honest, I like the real milk ice cream better.. ^^;
We also tried the fish on the stick.  This fish only lives in very clean water, and has a clear flavor.  Wish it was just grilled, but even eating it cold, still tasted good
We also tried the fish on the stick. This fish only lives in very clean water, and has a clear flavor. Wish it was just grilled, but even eating it cold, still tasted good
Jello like desert.  it was not too sweet and I really liked it.
Jello like desert. it was not too sweet and I really liked it.

Stop Six: San-Ju-San-Gen-Dou.
This was my favorite temple when I came to Kyoto for school trip. No photographs were allowed, so please go see it for yourself…
Inside, there are 1001 Budda. It’s all hand made, and none are the same to the other. saying says that you will find one budda who looks exactly like someone you care.
standing in front of 1001 human sized budda is breath taking… it’s an amazing place.

They have a famous archery event at this temple. It’s Japanese archery. can’t imagine what kind of strength you would need to shoot an arrow across this big building, and to hit the target…

There's 33 doors on this building.  Amazing size construction for a wooden building..
There’s 33 doors on this building. Amazing size construction for a wooden building..

Quick Stop: Gion
Before dinner, we stopped by at a area (town?) called Gion. It is famous for Maiko-san and Geiko-san. Performers who has trained to sing and dance at a dinner or drinking party. Very Very expensive, and it’s not something like I can call them for a party. We waited at the spot that Matsumoto san (our tour driver) picked.

No other city than Kyoto will match so well with Kimono
No other city than Kyoto will match so well with Kimono
The sun is setting, and street starts lighting up
The sun is setting, and street starts lighting up
And, from no where, Maiko-san appears on street, hurrying to her work.
And, from no where, Maiko-san appears on street, hurrying to her work.
Menu, well... you really don't have any choice here... there's one course, and that's it for dinner... it is actually priced very very reasonably.
Menu, well… you really don’t have any choice here… there’s one course, and that’s it for dinner… it is actually priced very very reasonably.
Apetizer?  it's hard to say what is appetizer when each dishes are so small...
Apetizer? it’s hard to say what is appetizer when each dishes are so small…
Kani-Miso-Tofu: Crab Tofu.  My wife's favorite!
Kani-Miso-Tofu: Crab Tofu. My wife’s favorite!
Plum Wine.  Actually it was really good, even though we don't drink alcohol, we both liked it a lot
Plum Wine. Actually it was really good, even though we don’t drink alcohol, we both liked it a lot
Takigawa-Tofu (well.. Tofu it has more of noodle texture)
Takigawa-Tofu (well.. Tofu it has more of noodle texture)
Sweet, soy source tofu
Sweet, soy source tofu
Namafu-Dengaku.  One form of tofu in Sweet Miso source.
Namafu-Dengaku. One form of tofu in Sweet Miso source.
Nama-Yuba:  This was very interesting.... it is like top floating thing when you make tofu.
Nama-Yuba: This was very interesting…. it is like top floating thing when you make tofu.
Tofu-Au-Gratin:  Actually it was very good to my surprise..
Tofu-Au-Gratin: Actually it was very good to my surprise..
Koya-Tofu and Yuba-Ni:  Dried Tofu cooked in slightly sweet soy source soup, and Tofu Skin wraping some vegetable.
Koya-Tofu and Yuba-Ni: Dried Tofu cooked in slightly sweet soy source soup, and Tofu Skin wraping some vegetable.
Yu-Tofu: Tofu Hotpot.  very traditional, and it puts the actual tofu flavor to the test... and it was really good
Yu-Tofu: Tofu Hotpot. very traditional, and it puts the actual tofu flavor to the test… and it was really good
Rice and pickles
Rice and pickles
Desert.  Rice cake wrapping red bean paste.
Desert. Rice cake wrapping red bean paste.

And… after a long day, we straight went to bed once we get to hotel…

Continue to Part 4.

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