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Today is our anniversary so we have some fun things planned for today.  We are heading out this morning to the Kiyomizu-dera temple, Misoka-an resturant, and Nijo Castle.  The hotel also found for us a man who makes kiri-wood boxes and another who makes tatami mats.

Kiyomizu-dera Gate

Kiyomizu-dera Gate

Unfortunately this morning I don’t have a lot of time as we have a train to catch back to Tokyo, so I will post mostly pictures today and add text later tonight.

Kiyomizu-dera balcony

Kiyomizu-dera balcony

Kiyomizu-dera away view

Kiyomizu-dera Funeral Grounds

Kiyomizu-dera Funeral Grounds

Kiyomizu-dera Garden

Kiyomizu-dera Garden

Next we came to one of the temple gardens. We were told this was a moon garden to bring harmony to the sky and the nature around the garden.

Kiyomizu Garden

Kiyomizu Garden

Notice the tower in the front and search for the second tower.

Kiyomizu Garden

Kiyomizu Garden

We were told that if you stood in just  the right place the two towers would align. As this is a relatively small garden, the two towers when aligned give the garden a more expansive feeling.  There was something tranquil but lonely about this view.

Kiyomizu Garden

Kiyomizu Garden

This view of the garden was more reminiscent of an English garden.  Thoughts?

Kiyomizu Garden

Kiyomizu Garden

Kj and Mary resting their tired feet!

Kj and Mary resting their tired feet!

So next we went to lunch at an upscale noodle restaurant – Misoka-an, and it was both lovely in form and in food.  We had a selection of soba noodles, and soba-maki.  Next we headed out to find the kiri-wood boxes.  Our taxi drive took us to the address but for the life of us we couldn’t find the shop.  The reason was this was a family neighborhood.  With a few calls, we discovered we were parked right in front of it.  We rang the doorbell and the owner came to the door and we tried to explain we were looking for kiri wood boxes.  He asked us if we were from the Hotel and we said yes so he invited us into the lobby of his home.  It seems he owns a business that sells kiri wood boxes but allowed us to come to his home to purchase a few.  He and his wife were very gracious. We purchased a few boxes and they gave Jeff and I both a gift of two more boxes.  It was a wonderful experience as can be seen in the photo below.

Sam and Jeff with a few kiri wood boxes

Sam and Jeff with a few kiri wood boxes

Next we headed around the block to find the tatami map dealer.  With the help from a local policeman, we went right to his shop/home to find a number of small mats that we think we can use for displaying pots and stone.  He and his wife were most gracious and seemed to be very pleased that we appreciated his work and he obtained a few Sunday sales!

Tatami mats

Tatami mats

Well one of the highlights of this trip was coming up and that was visiting Nijo Castle.  This was a most impressive facility both in grounds, walls, gardens and simply the vastness of the estate. If I were to guess it was easily 5-700 acres of grounds behind a massive wall and moat.  And as we soon learned, the Shogun’s residence was behind another vast wall and moat on the interior grounds of  the castle.

Nijo Castle Wall and Moat

Nijo Castle Wall and Moat

Nijo Castle Overview

Nijo Castle Overview

To give you a scale of the stones in the wall

To give you a scale of the stones in the wall

Nijo Castle Gate

Nijo Castle Gate

Nijo Castle Gate Detail

Nijo Castle Gate Detail

We then came across the shogun’s interior compound with another massive wall  and moat.

Nijo Shogun compound

Nijo Shogun compound

Inside the Shogun’s personal compound was the Ninomaru Garden.  An extremely beautiful garden even in winter.

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Ninomaru Garden

Next we walked to the final garden of the day the Seiryuen Garden.  A smaller and what appeared to be a much newer garden outside of the Shogun’s compound.

Seiryuen Garden

Seiryuen Garden

Seiryuen Garden

Seiryuen Garden

Seiryuen Garden

Seiryuen Garden

Seiryuen Garden

Seiryuen Garden

It is our last few hours in Kyoto and it has been a wonderful five days in this lovely city.  We have had great photo opportunities, good meals, and in general just a great time.  Unfortunately, it is time to finish packing and catch the bullet train back to Tokyo for our last three days of our trip.  Wish us safe travels.

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