I have been absent for the last week or so simply because I have been so busy doing things. 300+ photos later and here I am, ready to catch up, firstly, on my trip to Kyoto this week. I was only there for two days but was with Noriko who, as well as having been many times and so knowing exactly where to go, had also rented a car. Thus equipped with her language skills, car and her encyclopedic knowledge of everywhere ever we went on a non-stop tour of wonder and amazement. My 161 photos from the trip can be found here but these are the highlights.
Outside the temples there are amazing views and statues too. This is the Kamo river and some little statues I spotted alongside it.
Our next stop was the Ryoanji Temple Stone Garden where you are not supposed to look for meaning in the stones, but let your mind wander over them and achieve a sense of peace.
All of this was just the first few hours of our first day, after which we were ready to check in at the hotel, where I was almost as thrilled to discover we were staying at the Westin Miyako - where the Queen, Prince Charles and Diana stayed when they visited. The view from the bedroom was amazing!
Noriko, as well as being a geographical genius and expert park'r (thus also being my exact opposite in skills sets), is a prime enabler. She knows my weakness for fabric and so she had several shops lined up for us to visit and these did not disappoint. The first was a Kimono Shop specialising in the most amazingly beautiful pure silk vintage kimonos. I didn't see any that were less than £100, and rightly so. However, luckily for me they had a whole room dedicated to offcuts and scraps.
The next morning saw us at Nanzenji Temple, very close the hotel.
Nightingale Floor! I had read about these in historical texts as well as in Terry Pratchett and was so thrilled when I realised I was walking on one. I had expected the floor to make a high creaky sound but no, it actually is a proper chirrup like a bird. I was foolishly excited and scampering about like a toddler with a puddle.
I mentioned that Noriko was an enabler and she had googled for any textile hotspots before we went. One that came up was the Kawashima Textile Museum. I hadn't spotted it in any guide books but readily agreed. We arrived and realised it was a factory museum - something quite common in japan but not generally on a usual tourist route.
found here. If you're a textile geek like me you'll be pretty amazed.
After lunch (delicious sushi, fresh from the tank where the poor critters were swimming about right up to their final moment) we went back to the area we'd walked at twilight and had more of a daytime look. I'll give you a montage since you must be wondering if this post will ever end.
Before we left we had time to raid the food halls near the station to make sure the Pooch was even happier to see me return than he would otherwise have been. It may only have been two days, but it was an amazing trip and enough to last me for quite a while!