Thursday, April 19, 2007

Kyoto, Day 6: Sanzen-In and Arashiyama

On our sixth day in Kyoto, the Chairpeople took us to some of the more remote areas of the city. We had a lot of fun and saw a lot of things. But first, we had a DELICIOUS breakfast at the St Marc Bakery.

The bakeries at Japan are absolutely phenomenal. Whenever we were hungry, GPG and I often stopped in bakeries on the street for a break from being tourists, and we never bought a single thing from a bakery that we didn't like. The quality of the baked goods is just amazing--so much higher than anything you'd find in regular bakeries (which are themselves scarce) in the United States.

I had such a good time at St Marc's that I took a picture of all the pastries they offer:


For our breakfast at St Marc, a waiter would bring around freshly baked rolls in a basket. You got to choose what you wanted, and each time the waiter came around, the selection was entirely new. And everything tasted wonderful!

The green roll at the top is a green tea roll. The one on the right was a flaky layered roll with strawberry jam between the layers!


The rolls were all teeny-tiny, too. I think things taste better when they are small.

The brown roll on top is a CHOCOLATE layered roll. So. Yummy.


After stuffing ourselves on miniature rolls at St Marc, we went to see Sanzen-In, another temple. Like Ninna-Ji, Sanzen-In is somewhat on the outskirts of the city, and I think as a result, it has larger grounds and it lets you wander around more.

AND . . . It snowed!


It was pretty crazy. Snow in Kyoto! We got all possible kinds of weather during our trip to Japan.

Someone creative even made tiny snowmen on a wooden bench on the way to the gardens of the temple:


Although it wasn't too cold to walk around, the snow actually stuck around for quite a bit:


There was a shrine in the garden of the temple, and someone had hung up hundreds of folded paper cranes:


As you can see, there's another bib tied to the post from which the cranes are hanging. I still don't know what those are for.

As I mentioned in last week's Eye Candy Friday, Sanzen-In is most famous for some small stone people in its moss garden. There are about five, I think, and they are all very cute. They are in cute little positions and have smiles on their faces.

The one in the foreground of this picture is lying on his stomach with his chin in his hands. There are two in the background who look like they're sharing secrets.


After enjoying the snow at Sanzen-In, we went to Arashiyama, a suburb of northwest Kyoto. It was somewhat later in the day, so we didn't spend so much time there, but we did go to a MONKEY PARK!

The monkey park was pretty fun. You got to hike up a hill and see a colony of Japanese monkeys, all running around free. For someone who likes monkeys (me), it was a terrific thing to do.

I took lots and lots of pictures of monkeys:


There were a lot of baby monkeys running around, too. One had a lot of fun playing on this parked vehicle:


And you had a great view of Kyoto from the hillside:


It was hard to get good close-up pictures of the monkeys, but I managed to get a few:


Many were huddled together in groups to stay warm from the cold:


We had a great time with the Chairpeople in Arashiyama!

Next up: The Nishijin Textile Center!!!! Weaving!!! And YARN!

1 Comments:

Anonymous divisadero said...

I disagree. The problem in America is that there are so few bakeries. But come to San Francisco, and I'll show baked goods that'd drive Japanese bakers seppuku.

(I ate from Japanese bakers on a daily basis for two years. It's not bad, so much as it's a little bland. IMHO, the Japanese taste range is too restrained and delicate to produce baked goods or deserts pleasing to a western palate.)

4/20/2007 12:32 PM  

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