A few years ago Gareth spent some time in Penzance for a work project, and as he’d enjoyed it there we’d always said we’d go down together for a holiday. So in August we finally did have a summer holiday there.
View from our balcony Continue reading
In Kyoto too there was, of course, so much amazing food to enjoy! On our first evening here we stumbled upon a tiny little teppanyaki place, with one quiet chef and one friendly waitress. Here we got to try a Southern Japanese special: okonomiyaki. This is a sort of savoury yam-based pancake/omelette, filled with pretty much anything, griddled to golden-brown perfection, and topped with special sauce and plenty of bonito flakes.
While in Kyoto we made a couple of day trips out as well. First stop: Nara, which is a charming tourist town. The souvenirs and symbols everywhere tell you quite clearly what it’s famous for.
Kyoto has about 2000 shrines and temples, many of them hundreds of years old. On our second day here we had a full day tour visiting some of them, but we first started with a castle – Nijo Castle.
This was built by the first shogun, Tokugawa Ieyasu, whose mausoleum we visited in Nikko.
From Hakone we got the train to Kyoto, and were reunited with our luggage. We’d taken a small bag for our two nights in Hakone, and sent our luggage ahead from Tokyo by takkyubin. This is a brilliant courier service for luggage, and for travellers most hotels help with the process, arranging for the service to collect your luggage and transport it to your next destination, so that you don’t have to be lugging around big suitcases while travelling on subways and trains.
We had a cultural session arranged for that afternoon, at a centre called WAK Japan, based in a traditional wooden machiya (townhouse). To begin with, we were dressed up in kimono, which I really enjoyed. It reminded me a lot of wearing a sari – very fiddly to put on, but once it’s on feels beautiful and elegant.