Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Saturday, December 11, 2010
Here are a million photos of Kyoto. We could only manage to spend one day and one evening there, but we were totally smitten with it and can't wait to go back.
Two minutes out of the first subway stop and Mirabel was in love with this crafty store. There were so many lovely little shops like this dotted all over the place, I think we could have easily just shopped for our whole visit and been perfectly happy.
Out of the blue we found a New Zealand-themed cafe, Cafe Green, in the Gion district, where we ate fairly authentic fish and chips and a mince pie with mashed potatoes for dinner. I had a tasty boutique beer (TaaKawa), and we shared a hokey pokey sundae. Unexpected!
On the other side of the street to the cafe was a restaurant with this wacky statue. You can see his doodle!
Kinkakuji is Kyoto's famous golden pavilion. The upper two floors are covered in actual gold leaf! Check out the heron in the bottom of the frame.
The place was pretty packed with adorable school kids and gawking photo oppotunists like ourselves. It would have been a bit more serene with fewer people marching around the garden tracks, but was quite a sight anyway.
Later it was a tasty tofu lunch set in a cute place at our next stop, Arashiyama. Really delicious!
Arashiyama's lillies, temple garden, bamboo grove, mountain and riverside. We took an expensive rickshaw ride with a thoroughly charming guide, Yoshi, who chatted in a mixture of English and Japanese and pointed out interesting points along the way.
Just as the sun was setting we made our way to Nanzenji temple, with a massive, beautiful wooden gate and a lovely stone aqueduct.
We will be going back to Kyoto again at the earliest opportunity.
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
In Osaka we stayed with the totally wonderful awesome Darlene and Kaori.
They fed us home-made takoyaki, traditionally a Japanese dumpling made of batter and diced or whole baby octopus, but luckily for me it was minus the tako.
We filled ours with cheese, spring onion, mushrooms, pineapple and ham.
Pour the batter into the cute little holes, wait for them to cook on one side then wriggle them around with a pair of chop sticks to cook the otherside.
I want to buy one of these cute sets - imagine in the possibilities! They needn't be savoury either, you could use pancake batter and fill them with chocolate and fruit. YUM!
While in Osaka we managed to see Vampire Weekend play. They were marvelous, dressed in costumes, bopping around - jolly good show.