It was during my kids’ school break in July that we developed itchy feet. Suddenly, Japan came up into our minds. My mom, Khun Mae Maew (JaruwanPanyopas), loves the scenery and historic places whereas my kids, Plankton and Eton, are Bakugan's big fans and were eager to visit Universal Studio. So, Osaka, Kyoto and Nara in the Kansai region would be our destinations.
Kyoto was the first city we visited. We stayed at the Yoshimizu Inn, a 100-year-old two-storey traditional Japanese house with only 9 rooms, all of which had sliding doors and tatami-matted floor. We were so excited about sleeping on the futon, wearing yukata and bathing in an onsen, so much so that I had to tell the kids to settle down!
Exploring the surrounding neighbourhood, we strolled through Maruyama Park, a well preserved public park and then boosted our energy with some Udon, Japanese noodles. There was a heavy downpour that trapped us at a tea house. A blessing in disguise though, because there we tasted glazed chestnuts which paired amazingly well with Japanese tea. We also bought a lot of souvenirs which were neatly wrapped in such gorgeous wrapping that I don't think anyone want to unwrap them upon receiving.
The next day we went to Kinkaku-ji, Temple of the Golden Pavilion, which is surrounded by a magnificent Japanese garden. Before leaving for a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Nijo Castle, we did some shopping and also had green tea ice cream along the way.
Nijo Castle was a five-story castle that had been destroyed by fire, so what remains is a one-story building. Inside the gilded main hall house the statues of noblemen which were as bewitching as the surrounding gardens, groves of cherry blossoms, and a large pond with numerous carefully arranged stones and bamboo.
On the way back we got off the bus at Gion, an entertainment district lined with houses, restaurants and tea houses where customers are welcomed by Geisha. We sat there and immersed ourselves in the atmosphere of Kyoto until till dusk.
Tomorrow we'll greet Osaka!
(to be continued)