We awoke on Tuesday, June 12 to a kaiseki breakfast brought into our room while we sat in our yukatas (i.e., pajamas). After our meal, we made our way down to the bus stop, which took us to the train station for the 3-hour train ride toward Kyoto. But before getting to Kyoto, we got off the train, shoved our bags into lockers, and then walked into the local area by the Odawara train station, because my bride had read that there was a noodle place there that had earned a Michelin star, but we walked around with iphone navigation for several minutes without finding it. So, we had lunch at Mister Donut, because sometimes, you gotta keep it real.
We re-boarded the train for Kyoto, arrived just after 2pm, and found our AirBnB, called Azzuro Elefante, a traditional Japanese home where we’d be sleeping on futons on tatami mats for the next 5 days (luckily, this one was registered as a hotel, so the sweeping new law that was enacted while we were in Japan that cancelled over 60,000 AirBnBs did not affect us). We grounded our gear and headed out on foot to explore our new city, crossing through Maruyama Park to Niomon Gate at Kiyomizu-dera Temple, another UNESCO World Heritage Site over 1,000 years old.
We climbed the stairs, explored the insides of the temples, climbed more stairs, and took in the views from atop the hill. The children reached for water for ceremonial cleansing, because clean hands are happy hands (and because everyone else seemed to be doing it).
We walked through the enormous and interesting Nishiki Market, and I decided I needed to find an authentic Japanese pipe, because I like to get pipes when I travel to new countries, so I began searching Yelp for a tobacco shop at the same time as I was looking for a place for us to get some great noodles. My family got in line at Ippudo while I ran several blocks to get a bamboo Japanese-made pipe that I loved before returning to the family for dinner that looked like this:
It was spicy and awesome. The pipe was nice, too.
We went to bed fairly early, as the next day, we’d be hiking through the most photographed tourist destination in all of Japan.
I think more of this post should be devoted to the ramen. That stuff was amazing.