Thursday, April 8, 2010

Halfway through...

We're already more than halfway done with this trip, which is unbelievable. Obviously this trip has been busy, so I am VERY behind on posting and am instead just trying to soak in all in while I can... Let's see what's happened since I last posted... oh yah, LOTS! After a few days in Tokyo, we took the high speed train to Kyoto for two amazing nights at a Ryokan (Hirogiya). It was absolutely gorgeous, but the best part was the kaiseki meal provided.
Here is the front entrance of Hirogiya and you can tell that while traditional, it is well cared for with attentive staff and a homey-ness to it that you wouldn't expect (or at least I wasn't). Our stay at Hirogiya requires its own post, and at some point I will come back to it to talk about the whole experience because there really is a lot to say!

We ate lunch on our first day at the amazing soba noodle shop down the street that has been in business making handmade noodles for 300 years. Eating there seemed like a step back in time and in complete contrast to the craziness we had just left in Tokyo.

Out time in Kyoto was too short and we missed a lot of things, which I'm a little disappointed about. We did however take a day trip to Nara, which was well worth it. Nara is celebrating their 1300th anniversary this year, so it seemed like an extra special time to go. Nara is everything people tell you it is... beautiful and serene, and full of deer! We didn't do much of anything off the beaten path -just stuck to the basics since we were only there for a short period of time.

I will say that even though you know that the deer are everywhere, it was still pretty remarkable to see and experience.

So after our side trip to Nara we spent most of today trying to take in as many of the Kyoto sites as possible. Unfortunately for us, that wasn't very many. I guess it gives us a reason to come back, but still kind of disappointing that we couldn't see more. Now we're in Osaka and wow, this already is something else. We haven't seen too much of it, but I'm looking forward to delving into it deeper tomorrow!

*photos courtesy of (again)

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