Linda & Rip Take On Japan! Day 5: Kyoto, cont…

Tom Sawyer in Japan!
We woke up to clearing skies after the heavy rain from the night before.  We were pretty excited to see more of beautiful Kyoto!  I walked down the street past the onsen. I discovered Boulangerie Tom Sawyer, a cute little bakery with delicious pastries.  I guess the name makes a little sense when I think that Mark Twain liked Paris but it was a funny name for a bakery deep inside one of Kyoto’s old neighborhoods.  I bought pastries for the group and then headed into FamilyMart, our local coffee shop on this trip.  There I ran into someone who looked vaguely familiar…oh, it’s Rip!  We walked back to the house and partook in a delicious breakfast.
By the Silver Temple (SMS)

What industrious gardeners! (SMS)
We took a cab over to Ginkakuji, the Silver Temple.  The temple, wood not silver, sits by a small pond next to a raked gravel garden of Mt. Fuji and ocean waves.  The grounds of the Silver Temple are some of the best in Kyoto.  We climbed the stone stairs (more stairs!) through the gardens of trees and shrubs with their roots bathed in a gorgeous, heterogeneous moss blanket.  The moss was vibrant and stunning after all the rain. It’s amazing how meticulously cared for the gardens are.  Ginkakuji and Ryoan-ji are my co-favorite temples in Kyoto.
Touching the love stone at Kizumizu.  I have SMS- I win!!!! (SMS)

Drinking the fresh water- to health! (SMS’ Dad)
Next, we went to Kiyomizu Dera.  The cab let us off at the base of Kiyomizu-michi, a shopping street leading up to the temple.  We looked in a few shops along the way.  Linda and Rip ended up buying a gorgeous pottery bowl, while I bought a few decorations from the Kyoto Chirimen Craft Museum.  It’s actually a shop specializing in chirimen crafts, made of a specially-weaved fabric that creates a lot of texture.  I bought a Fall and Christmas decoration that I’m pretty excited about.  It takes me one step closer towards my ultimate dream of seasonal decorating to the point where I have turkey-shaped salad plates from Williams-Sonoma!  (I realize this is a weirdly specific goal.  To make it more universal, just picture wanting to chant around a bonfire, “Mar-THA, Mar-THA!”)
Kiyomizu itself was ok.  There was a lot of construction so it wasn’t as harmonious as when I visited it in 2008.  I’m sure it will look gorgeous in a few weeks when they open the veranda at night with floodlights illuminating the foliage below but for a standard itinerary, I would rank other places above it.  One highlight was that I did walk the 10m between the two love rocks.  SMS was my trusty guide!
Nishiki
My new favorite market! (SMS)
Then, we were off to Nishiki Market.  I hadn’t heard of it until yesterday night when we were watching Ep. 8 of The Mind of a Chef.  In the episode, David Chang shops in the market as part of the trip to his Kyoto, a culinary inspiration.  Rip saw it and said, “I want to go there.”  Done!  We tried to time it with lunch and walking among the vendors definitely whet our appetites.  It was really cool and a very serendipitous discovery.

In the Tunnel of Torii (SMS)

The handsome photographer in front of the lens!
After lunch, we headed to the JR station to head out to Fushimi Inari, a shrine consisting of thousands of orange torii gates along a hilly walking path.  I had never been but always wanted to go- this was the second new-to-me site in one day!  We arrived and walked up to the temple on its impressively large stone staircase.  Then we hiked for a bit up the hill, marveling at the sheer number and subsequent beauty of the orange torii.  Occasionally, an older stone torii would be interjected in the riot of orange.  After our mini-hike, we took the train back to Kyoto and headed to the house.  There we got ready for the most incredible dinner at Takuma, a restaurant SMS had spotted the night before.  It was so amazing, it deserves its own post!

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