Monday the 28th. Our trip is almost half over. Travel day to Kyoto. Because of some hiccups with luggage handling (we didn't want to lug all our stuff to Kyoto, Kinosaki, Onomichi, and Osaka), I had to change our train ride to late morning. Wouldn't have happened if we stayed at the Four Seasons... Anyway, I digress...
We take the Shinkansen for the short, 3 hour, comfortable Green Car trip to Kyoto from Tokyo. Here is my Ham and Cheese sandwich with a cold bottle of water, covered with my freebie cloth Rilakkuman cover (to reduce condensation).
Emily with her rice and her Nishime (Renkon, Bamboo, carrot, Kabocha) and small bottle of water.
Connie, taking a picture of her clam over rice.
Sam had a cold tsukemen, with a plain dipping sauce.
Here we are at Saga Arashiyama station in Kyoto. We arrived at our hotel, the Granvia, but too early to check in so we dropped off all our luggage and went out to visit the Arashiyama area. This is several kilometers from the City center, in very quiet mountainous surroundings. It's about a 1/2 hour train ride from Kyoto station. It's hot, so we get some macha shave ice.
We had to stop at a combini (we probably stop at 99% of the ones we see). Sammie gets a Cronut with macha.
The Hozu river. There is a Sagano scenic train that travels along the shore of this river. There are several trips each day, by reservation only, and I figured that we really didn't have the time to do this on this trip. It is supposed to be beautiful in Autumn with the colors changing.
The Togetsu-kyo bridge over the river.
We arrive at our destination, the Iwatayama Park, with its monkeys. These are macaques. They're quite used to people. Here's one making acquaintances with Sammie. Notice a little bit of resemblance?
Sometimes they're a bit moody. Stay away from them then.
Sometimes, they're playful. Sometimes they like to jump into the water.
Sometimes, they just sit and rest.
But they always like to eat.
Here is Em, feeding one some apples. The humans have to be behind bars to feed them, or else the macaques can get aggressive.
It is a 20 minute walk up to the park. In hot, humid weather, it is a challenge. But the view, and the fun with our newly found relatives is worth it. Here you see Kyoto. If you click on the picture here, you can make out a tiny tower slightly right of center. That's Kyoto tower, just north of Kyoto Station, and the location of our hotel.
We take our leave, head down the hill, and walk to one of the bamboo groves in Kyoto. They're supposed to be beautiful in a light wind, but we aren't lucky. It is hot, and humid, with nary a breeze.
There are bugs around, and the girls get eaten alive by biting insects. I'm lucky and am spared, except for one bite on my right elbow. Em gets about twenty bites on her body, with Sammie close behind.
Upon check in, after we return to our hotel, we all say, "Ahhhh." Unlike the Lohas in Tokyo, this hotel has really nice spacious rooms, with big beds. We stayed here in 2011 for several nights. That time we had a north view of Kyoto tower and the two Hongwanji's. Now we have a south view, with the JR tracks visible. Here is a Shinkansen coming in from Shin-Osaka.
Later, that evening, we decide to have ramen. They have a "ramen street" here (we came here in 2011 as well). There are eight ramen-ya which are "branches" of places throughout Japan. We looked at all the pictures and chose this one.
Turns out that (unbeknownst to us) this is Yamagishi's place. He's the originator of tsukemen.
Em isn't into ramen, if you recall, so she gets hot rice with grated yam, an egg and some veggies.
Here is my tsukemen. I find the broth to be a bit lacking, though the noodles are superb.
Here is Connie's ramen.
It turns out that what makes Yamagishi's broth really good is the fish powder that is put on his pork based broth. Sammie kept telling me to put some on, and I kept resisting, but I finally gave in, and she was absolutely correct. Without it, the broth was a bit too vinegary and sweet. However, halfway into my bowl, after I put some of the fish powder in, the broth blossomed. After returning to research Yamagishi's place, I learned that Sammie was absolutely correct. Everyone says that the fish powder is what does it! Amazing.
Here is a night view from the top of the massive stairs and escalator at Kyoto Station with the tip of Kyoto tower in the background.
By this time, we need our dessert. We go to Estacion Cafe, in The Cube, a shopping mall in the station. Kyoto is known for its tea (nearby Uji is the tea capital of Japan).
Below find Macha Anmitsu, with Kanten, and fruits.
Here is my green tea shave ice with dango, green tea and Azuki.
Tomorrow, Tuesday, our free day in Kyoto.