What a day!
Let me preface this post with this picture, so that you can understand my predicament:
So my Sirui N2204X was pulled to pieces and stuffed into my F-Stop Tilopa BC! I managed to get it all in there, big win!
We've had green and black ice cream (more on that later) we saw two temples and got soaked in rain, but hey, it didn't dampen our spirits (or the wine at the end of the day!)
We chatted to locals through Google Translate, we walked a little over 12km, the last 5 of that in the rain, we drank tea and ate a square white cake that tasted like taro and beans. I bought a fortune from a machine and I prayed at a temple, rang a bell and hoped that it comes true.
I'm beginning to get the hang of the subway system, it's not so much about where you're going, its how far which equals, how much. Once this happens, its up to you to find your way through the underground maze of tunnels and exits to the right platform. Ridiculously efficient, on time and clean. I'm pretty certain that subway floors are cleaner here than they are at home.
This morning we woke up earlier than the previous night, actually mananging to sleep on these somewhat-hard pillows. It feels like they have beans in them. Cultural differences. We had breakfast at a place that I had come to remember fondly from my past visits to Japan, none other that Matsuya Kitchen, an impersonal eatery where food is ordered through a vending machine, tickets given to the attendant, and hey presto, food arrives. Delicious food, nutritious Japanese food at any time of day between 5am and midnight. Yummo!
Breakfast was a delicious shredded meat with onions, rice, miso soup, seaweed, raw egg, pickled lettuce and a glass of water, for 360yen, equivalent is around $4 AUD, so eat that maccas, who wanted 500yen for a mcmuffin! Mmmm mmmmmmm!
After that, it was off to the 205 bus to catch the ride up to Kinkakuji temple for the 9am opening. I had been forewarned about the crowds and told that if you don't try get there for opening, that you'd be battling heaps and heaps of people to try and get a shot. Not at all wrong, there was still a crowd, but it was apparently smaller than what it would have been at any other time of the day.
We spent way too long trying to take photos of the carp swimming around, different angles of the temple and the many features of the grounds. Mum bought me a charm from Kinkakuji for "Dreams come true" and I bought my cat a Good Health and Long life" charm. Not sure if I'll put it on her collar or if I hang it over her food bowl.
We roamed the temple grounds moving from area to area, capturing angles of the gardens, trying our luck on fortunes and enjoying a traditional green tea and cake. We chose to sit inside, seeing the outside world and crowd from a far was intensely calming and clarifying. We had some frothy tea and a strange white hard "cake". It seemed to be tasting of bean and tapioca, lightly sweet and had some gold leaf on the top. But, not too sweet, just right. As we were about to leave, some japanese girls asked us to be in a photograph with them, they proceeded to gather around and ask about where we were from. Explaining that we were mother and daughter, they seemed all the more interested. It was great to break down language barriers (thanks google translate) and have an interaction.
We then proceeded to leave, but chanced past the ice cream stand. We have been seeing green ice creams everywhere, figuring that they were green tea (duh) we decided it was a good idea to go half of the "safe" vanilla route and half of the green tea in a cone. It was so good, I can' believe I hadn't tried it before.
Needing change for a coffee machine, mum thought to buy another Ice cream, this time a Black Sesame ice cream. It was dark grey like cement, but it tasted nutty and sesame-ey and was probably the best flavour of them all. It made my tongue black but it was worth the last 5km of walking we did in the rain all the way home.
We finished our temple seeing with Ryanoji Zen Garden - a dry rock garden where not a single blade of grass exists. Disappointed that the school kids on tour weren't quiet for the garden, no doubt if you were there on your own you could really soak up that oozing zen, but having the chance to see it, I can understand how peaceful it could be. We walked around the gardens leading up to the main temple, I, photographing coloured leaves and mum catching her own perspective on the whole thing. It was so lovely.
By now the heavens had opened and what had started as a slow spittle of rain had turned into a heavy downpour. This dampened our passion for temple hunting somewhat, and we turned back towards civilisation, via a Takoyaki stand (oh my god) to warm the cockles after driving rain in the streets. Getting back to our hotel drenched but tired, we have been here since, albeit for a break of dinner, to blog and tell you about our day.
What a day it has been.
Tomorrow is set for more rain, not really sure what to do as most temples require closed heavens and sunshine.