30.03.2010 - 31.03.2010 10 °C
Last night we wandered down a narrow alley lined with lanterns, full of restaurants and bars. Very romantic. We stumbled into a restaurant, ate well of sashimi and salmon, and ended up by drinking rather too much warm sake - deceptive stuff, sake. Nevertheless we found our way back to the hotel and collapsed.
Today started late due to the aforementioned sake. Kyoto really is a magical place. There are dozens of temples and shrines in the surrounding hills. We visited two before feeling all templed out. One of them, slightly off the tour party itinerary, had marvellous gardens reaching up into the hills. Zen gardens of raked gravel, stones and moss, bamboo groves, cherry blossom, etc, The other was the first Zen temple in Japan, had a fantastic painted ceiling, and beautiful dry gardens. We plodded around in our socks, and changed into red (men) and green (women) slippers to see the great ceiling.
On our way home we wandered through Gion, the traditional Geisha district. We saw quite a few "Geishas", but these were mostly tourists done up as Geishas. There may have been one or two genuine ones - its hard to tell. In Gion we walked down the "most beautiful street in Asia" according to no less than the Lonely Plant Guide.
Tomorrow we head for a side trip to Nara to see - you guessed it - more temples, and in the evening to Hiroshima on the shinkansen.