We woke up a little stiff from having slept on futons on the floor and Hubby had caught a stomach bug.
Despite that, we had a nice morning walking around Arashiyama, which is a suburb of Kyoto where the ritzy people used to go relax on the weekends. It has a Buddhist temple, beautiful garden and a bamboo forest perched on a small hill above a river lined with cherry blossoms. It is truly a gorgeous spot, and if it hadn’t been a Friday during cherry blossom season, it would have been such a relaxing respite from the city. As it was, there were lots of hustling and bustling and people and photos and running after Kiddo. And lots of time spent trying to have a two year old stay on the path in a meticulously groomed garden. A little stressful. It was still nice though.
We had our first experience with no English signs or no spoken English from people. When we arrived at the temple by taxi, we were let off at the bottom of a pedestrian street, and we sort of followed the crowd. All of us had to pee, me – so much I was losing my ability to think, and there was no indication of where to enter the temple. There were lots of little side temples and no obvious line. Finally there was a women in a booth. I asked her where the toilets where in Japanese, and then she answered in Japanese and I understood nothing. There was a lot of pointing and gesticulating and shaking of the head. Finally a woman behind me in line said that the toilets were inside the garden and if we went behind this little turn ahead, we would see a place to buy tickets. Phew!
Afterwards we went to a view point, let Kiddo run around, and walked down the hill to the town center, where we caught a taxi to Honke Owariya, a soba shop that has been open in one form or another since 1465! It originally was a pastry shop, and now it is a noodle house where the Imperial family occasionally visits. The soba was excellent, Kiddo napped, and we all had a nice rest, sitting and chatting. Then we tried some of their buckwheat flour cookies. Crisp and tasty!
After that we found a doughnut shop where we were only marginally disappointed. They looked soooo good! We wandered home and Hubby´s stomach was really bothering him, so we took a couple hours in the room. Kiddo and I went up to SIL´s room and they played together. It was very sweet. We couldn’t decide if we needed to go out and get dinner, but decided we didn’t want to wake up hungry in the middle of the night, so out we went, looking for a restaurant. It was only 8:30pm but everything was closed! Finally we found a “family restaurant” serving western food. It was a riot! We all got club sandwiches and salads, and Kiddo got a bento box with a hotdog, rice, veg, a dino shaped chicken nugget and a meat ball. She ate the hotdog, anyway! The western meal really revived us for Japanese food. It was a good idea.
There must be some irony to eating at a 540 year old soba shop for lunch and an 80s version of an American Denny´s for dinner! Love it.