I have been to Kyoto previously in Summer, Fall and Spring. This is my first time here in the Winter; the weather is high 30s to high 50s, which with a good coat is not bad at all. I greatly prefer it to the damp and muggy Kyoto Summers.
I have lots of places, events and experiences to share with everyone from this trip, but it is hard to find time to blog when you are with a group. It is a small group (17 including the tour operators and experts) but a group nonetheless, and it is very hard to get a moment alone to write. Or, really, to want to write, because there is so much to do and so many people to enjoy being with! Not to mention that we have truly had a busy and eventful trip with minimal down time! I have had the time (and the WiFi thanks to my mobile WiFi unit) to post some Instagram photos and micro blogging while on the road (which has been great).
After my quiet moment in Wakayama, we attended the marvelous Hina Matsui (Girl’s Day) ceremony at the Awashima Jinja Temple. This wonderful, unique temple ceremony involves filling and then floating three boats of dolls into the ocean in Kada. We then traveled to Kyoto where I am now. Kyoto, with it’s 1000 shrines ad temples, great shopping and endless restaurants has, as always, been marvelous. Sadly, Winter has not lessened the huge crowds of tourists. We were at Kiyomizu-dera temple yesterday and it was wall-to-wall people walking up to the gate area of the temple. The throngs of tourists include groups of Chinese tourists all dressed up in Kimonos and Hakamas. We also visited the Kyoto National Museum and were very honored to later get a private showing of a Gosho Ningyo artisan’s home, collection and workshop. A Ningyo is a doll; my niche tour group are all avid antique doll experts and collectors.
After all this, I should mention the very fun conveyor belt sushi restaurant dinner (6 plates of sushi, a small beer and some green tea ice cream for under 2000 yen! Then talking to my roomate and dear friend Julie and falling into bed; so basically on the go from 8 in the morning to 11 at night.
Ok my bus leaves in 10 minutes…but you can read more about my time in Kyoto in my new blog post, Watching Kyoto Wake Up