Woke up, realized that we were the only Westerners getting a Japanese breakfast in the hotel, but decided not to ask about it because the Western style breakfast had
lots of fried things and some odd looking pastries. Boys decided they were happier with just rice and Yamini was okay with rice and miso soup.
Took the city bus from near the hotel to to the Kiyomizudera Temple. Bus lets you off at the bottom of a hill on a city street, then you walk up through a pretty little street with snack foods and souvenir shops. Then you get up to the temple complex which is at the top of the hill with a view over the city. It was crowded but so beautiful. We walked around to get the views from all the different terraces and it looked like the temple was floating on the cherry blossom trees.
Then we walked down the hill (with a stop for some ice cream) and walked to another temple - Sanjusangen-do. The kids were like, “Oh, no, another Temple!” but when we went inside they changed their minds. There is one huge central figure of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy, Kannon. Then, on either side are 1,000 other
golden kannon statues and other deities guarding them. The 1,001 statues are made out of cypress but painted gold, so they look really cool. Yamini and I liked that the guardians were all inspired by Buddhist gods that were similar to HIndu gods, so they all had Indian names too. In front of the central buddha, there was a shrine and you could buy candles to burn. They had these big white candles and you could write your wishes on them with a black marker, so everyone in our family wrote a wish on one of the candles. It was really cool. You were not allowed to take pictures there, but I downloaded a picture from the web. . .
Next we made our way back to Kyoto station, so we could get some lunch to eat on the train to a baseball game in Nagoya. We went to the basement of the Isetan dept. store and kids got (no surprise) chicken and Matt and Amy got their favorite “sushi chunks over rice with other stuff bowls.” We discovered we had a favorite pastry place in the train station where kids got sugared donuts and Amy had a “cherry blossom” muffin. Train ride was short, then Matt tried to lead us on a walk to the Nagoya Dome which turned out to be nearly a 30 minute cab ride away. Amy nearly had a heart attack when she read “13:00” as the time (instead of 15:00) on
the Japanese tickets and thought we were 2 hours late, but it turned out that was just the time the stadium opened.
About baseball in a dome with astroturf: boring. About baseball in a stadium with enthusiastic Japanese fans: fun. So the fun crowd made up for the boring environment we cheered with the other Hanshin Tiger fans when Kenji Jojima hit a 7th inning home run to tie the game against the Nagoya Dragons. We still don’t know if they won though, b/c we had to leave to catch a train back to Kyoto. Got back in time for a late dinner which turned out to be Sukiyaki. You cook meat in a sizzling pan with some soy-based broth, add some tofu and vegetables, and then you eat the sliced cooked meat in a little bowl with raw scrambled egg. (Yamini and Amy tried theirs with the egg - boys did not.)
On our last morning, we took a walk around the hotel neighborhood for an hour just to get some fresh air before a LONG day of travel. Shinkansen train to Tokyo, then Airport Express Train to Narita, then a 3 hour wait in the airport for our 13+ hour flight back to NYC. Spent our last Yen in the airport stores and now we’re on our way home!
Final Impression from Amy & Matt - while there are definitely more places we want to see, we will come back to Japan. Matt thought it was not as expensive as he was told. Amy could have spent at least 2 weeks in and around Kyoto. Yamini still wants to ride the roller coaster near the Tokyo Dome. Will says Japan was “nice” and “baguette-full.”
Trevor says he had fun, and “Go Tigers!”
Thanks for reading our blog! We’ll write more when we have some more “adventures.”