strivetoengage

Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving

Travels with children in Japan, part 4, Kyoto

Street art displayed outside Kyoto University

Street art displayed outside Kyoto University

After a good night’s sleep in our peaceful house we were gripped with the anxiety associated with wanting to see everything in a new city! We made good use of our fully equipped kitchen and the excellent local supermarket to prepare a delicious dinner of fresh local vegetables last night, breakfast this morning and pack lunch for today (we of course meaning my husband).

Chionji Temple on handicraft markets day

Chionji Temple on handicraft markets day

We eagerly set off for the markets that are held only once a month and are just 4 km from our home. Along the way we had a minor altercation over navigation (obviously I wanted to take control again) and a man crossed the street just to help us! He was very friendly and enjoyed talking about his trip to Australia and cuddling a koala.

The markets were very busy and this stall with cute felted animal brooches was particularly popular

The markets were very busy and this stall with cute felted animal brooches was particularly popular

The handicraft markets are held in the temple grounds of Chionji Temple and as we neared the location we wondered which way to go and then allowed ourselves to be swept along in the wave of mostly glamorous, middle aged women thronging towards the markets.

This artisan was making personalized stamps from soapstone

This artisan was making personalized stamps from soapstone

13975612488154I had an absolutely delightful time inspecting every single stall for over 3 hours and chatting and laughing with small groups of women, stall holders and some lovely ladies in kimonos. Mostly we couldn’t understand each other but that didn’t matter. I bought some traditional fabrics, clothes made from old kimono silk, and some other precious things. One group of women haggled on my behalf without me even realizing it was possible so for my next significant purchase I tried it and the stall holder dropped the price without blinking.

Toro gate for Yoshida Shrine

Toro gate for Yoshida Shrine

It was very crowded and my children enjoyed sampling some interesting food including matcha cheesecake as my daughter’s birthday cake but were soon unable to cope. My husband kindly took them off for a picnic lunch and left me for a precious hour on my own at the markets.

I ate my lunch near here

I ate my lunch near here

When I felt that my enthusiasm for shopping was a little excessive I serenely headed off towards the Yoshida Shrine to meet my family. I had a lovely stroll through the quiet lane ways, following my instincts and turning into whichever lane took my fancy, which took me for a stroll through the forest too.

Sakura and kimonos!

Sakura and kimonos!

We finished our explorations at Heian Shrine and treated our children to green tea ice cream (which they loved). In Okazaki Park we found a gorgeous weeping cherry tree in full bloom and had our own hanami by sipping Japanese beer under the tree while our children wrote, read and drew. We enjoyed watching the men and women in kimonos and many other people admire the Sakura.

Heian Temple

Heian Temple

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2 comments on “Travels with children in Japan, part 4, Kyoto

  1. ecclemon
    April 17, 2014

    I love the approach to Heian Shrine! It’s very dramatic looking straight down the road at it.

  2. strivetoengage
    April 17, 2014

    Yes, the tori gate is spectacular too!

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This entry was posted on April 16, 2014 by in Asia, family and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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