30 April 2008

Kansai Day 6, 19 Dec 07 - Kyoto

 Today we were set to explore Kiyomizu-dera 清水寺, one of the most well-known landmark of Kyoto which received World Cultural Heritage Listing by UNESCO in December 1994.
Our traditional Jap breakfast set was served in the room. Certainly a big and nutritious breakfast to start the day.Since our ryokan was located quite near the Kamo River, we decided to take a walk along the river bank. According to travel guides, during summer, restaurants located next to the Kamo River would set the dining tables along the river bank for diners to chill out and enjoy some breeze.
We were on the Shijio bridge and took this photo with our shadows :p Kabuki Theatre - seemed to be quite popular as a lot of people were crowding the entrance.
We passed through the Yasaka Shrine on our way to Kiyomizu-dera. Heard that there are a thousand-plus temples and shrines in Kyoto.
To get to the temple, we made our way up the hilly stone-paved Ninnen-zaka and Sannen-zaka. Both sides of the road were dotted with Omiyage (souvenir) shops and eateries, we were soon distracted by all the snacks and souvenirs :p Decided to stop by this dessert shop. Hubby had this jelly/konnyaku dessert whereas I had rice dumpling red bean soup. Yummy!
Before long, hubby spotted an ice-cream store and stopped to buy a cone, couldn't remember the flavour, think it was sesame. The cookie was baked Yatsuhashi 八ツ橋 made from rice flour, sugar and cinnamon. Yatsuhashi (both baked and raw) is a meibutsu 名物 (famous regional products) of Kyoto.
Butai (dancing stage) of Kiyomizu-dera. The stage is held up by wooden scaffolds that extends the stage 10 meters over a 12 meter cliff. This platform is one of the most photographed sites in Kyoto and immensely popular with Japanese and tourists.
View of the main hall from below.
Even though it was winter, we were lucky to catch some autumn foilage.
After visiting Kiyomizu-dera, we were famished and stopped by an eatery for lunch. Hubby had Udon and I had soba. Once again tasted good!
Decided to make our way to Ginkaku-ji 銀閣寺, the "Temple of the Silver Pavilion". Took the Kyoto City Bus which linked the 5 major sightseening areas of Arashiyama, Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji, Okazaki and Higashiyama.
The above photo was the last photo I took before my battery went dead -_- Had forgotten to charge the battery the night before. Too bad I couldn't capture the beauty of the famous Kannon Hall, also known as Ginkaku, the Silver Pavilion. Anyway, was captivated by the display outside this shop. Somehow we didn't go into the shop.
After visiting Ginkaku-ji, we went back to our ryokan for a rest as it was late afternoon and we wouldn't have time to visit another temple (most temples close quite early).
We hit the streets again and chanced upon this restaurant that specialised in tonkatsu. Turned out Katsukura is a famous katsu specialty restaurant in Kyoto with several branches. I had a soy milk cream croquette & fillet set 生湯葉コロッケとヒレかつ膳 and hubby a sirlion fillet set ロースかつ膳. Tonkatsu is not new to us but I was blown away by the soy milk cream croquette. Not sure what the filling was - tasted creamy (tofu and soy perhaps) with bits of vegetable. It was really really yummy! It must be a Kyoto specialty since I don't see it elsewhere. Once again, a good dinner!

Ending off with photos of the ticket design of Ginkaku-ji and Kiyomizu-dera. Even the tickets were so special.

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