Daz and I got back on Wednesday night from our summer trip to Kyoto and Osaka. It had been about four years since Darin had been to Kansai and a couple of years since I've visited Kyoto. We were very excited about seeing familiar places, visiting new ones and meeting up with old friends. We only had four days, so we zoomed to Kyoto on the shink - it only takes 2 hours and 20 mins on the Nozomi - I barely had time to knit!
I love Kyoto to bits - always have. It was interesting to go back this time. My main impression was 'Where are all the people?' - seriously, after Tokyo, Kyoto seemed empty (which = heaven). You don't realize how much you get caught up in the frenetic pace of the eastern capital until you take a step away from it. Our main goal on this trip was to RELAX. We have both lived in Kansai before (I lived in Kyoto for four years), so we'd seen most of the famous sightseeing spots. I think I've been to Kinkaku-ji about 10 times (as part of my former job). So we were selective in activities - most involved roaming the streets, sitting by the Kamogawa drinking beer and swimming in the hotel pool. We visited Nanzenji, walked from the hotel in Keage, past Chion-in, through Maruyama park and Yasaka Shrine and wandered around Gion. It's enchanting.
The following day we visited Sanjusangendo and Fushimi Inari Taisha. Both were just as amazing as I remember.
We also found Hanjiro in Kyoto and out of the three I have been to, this is the most spectacular.
And the Nishiki Markets - don't you think these pickles look like eyeballs?
We finished up our trip by spending the last night in Osaka at our friends' new house/shop, Spiral in the Trip. Nobu and Takako have been friends of ours for years (daz used to work for them) and have a few shops selling vintage clothes and furniture. Their specialty is vintage plastic furniture from the 60s and 70s - their stuff is awesome. This year their dream came true and they built a four storey building in Osaka (not far from Shinsaibashi) which is now their home and main furniture showroom. Congrats Nobu, Takako and their cute four-year old daughter, Rui (who sings the Ramones like a professional)! And if anyone ever tells you how much friendlier and more down to earth people from Kansai are - believe it, coz it is true!
BTW, Nobu designed and produced the DJ booth he is leaning on. Only 58 were ever made and you know who owns one - PRINCE!
Ok, that's enough for now. If you want to see all of our photos, you can see them here!!!
ps - Thanks to Yoshi, Kowhai and Tyler for taking care of our pigs while we were away!!!