Japan Trip Day 4 - 2010-07-07

Pictures from today.

Today we decided to take the Southern Higashiyama walking tour that was described in our Lonely Planet Japan guidebook. We wanted to see Kiyomizu-dera, and it sounded like the walk went past some other interesting locations in the area.

We were considering taking a cab to the start of the walk, but decided to take the subway and then walk to the starting location instead. The walk from the subway station was pretty long, and it was a very hot day, so we were regretting this decision.

As we were walking along, we would pop into stores to get out of the heat, and in one of them Kellian found a really neat umbrella. It had a lot more spokes (or whatever they are called), than a standard umbrella, so it looked more circular and rounded. She was looking for a parasol to beat the heat, so she ended up getting it.

Finally, we arrived at Kiyomizudera, and it was quite impressive. The structures in this area were much more brightly colored than the other temples and gates. Usually they were a dark brown wood, but these were painted orange.

The area was bustling with tourists and school groups, as this is a very popular area to visit in Kyoto. As far as the temple goes, it was not as impressive as some of the other temples we saw, but the location was picturesque. It is located on the side of a mountain with lots of greenery surrounding it, which frames it nicely. Also, there was a large pagoda near the entrance gate that was pretty impressive.

After seeing Kiyomizudera, we continued along the walking tour. The next stop was a nice little place for lunch named Hisago. They were known for their chicken and egg over rice dish, which I had and was quite tasty. The vegetarian options were a bit limited for Kellian, she ended up having cold udon noodles in a dipping sauce, which apparently was quite tasty.

When her meal first arrived, she wasn't sure what to do with the sauce and was about to dump it over her noodles when a woman from the table next to us stopped her and instructed her that it was for dipping. The woman seemed quite relieved to have prevented this catastrophe!

After lunch, we walked Ishibei-koji, which is a beautiful little street in the area lined with historic inns and restaurants. It was quite narrow and winding, with beautiful buildings on each side. The exteriors of the buildings really make you wonder what could be inside.

Just then, it started to rain pretty hard. We took cover under a shop awning and tried to wait it out, but it continued for a while. Eventually we decided to grab a cab and make our way to Puzzle-in, a puzzle shop owned by IPP member, Naoyuki Iwase.

For more on our trip to Puzzle-in, check out my entry over on my puzzle blog. I'm trying to keep events that are of interest to puzzlers separate from general sightseeing.

After my visit to Puzzle-in, we headed over to Nijo castle, but unfortunately it closed at 5:00 and we were arriving at around 5:10. We were a bit tired, so we headed back to the hotel to rest.

For dinner, we were going to go to the same restaurant we went to on Day 1, but we would have had to wait for a table, so we decided to go elsewhere. There was a nice looking restaurant near the hotel that we walked by previously, so we decided to try that.

The waiter spoke some English, which was a nice surprise. Typically they spoke little or no English, so it has been a bit of a challenge, particularly if the menu has no English. We ended up getting a salad which wasn't bad, and I got a variety of things on skewers. It looked like it would be good, but the meat was really dry. Oh well! Kellian's fried tofu and vegetables in sauce were the best meal she's had here so far!

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