Kyoto’s Arishiyama District

IMG_20150626_191003Have been in Kyoto for three nights nowIMG_20150626_191322. We are staying in the Gion District. Our first night we went back to our favorite Gion restaurant from 2 years ago. Well, they have changed hands. It is now a very upper end (Kaiseki) restaurant. Kaiseki is the unique foods or dishes of a particular region or city. We sat at the counter watching chefs prepare our meal and were joined by 2 gentleman a few seats over at the counter. Fortunately, Henry, (chef in training) lived in Seattle for a year to learn English and spoke pretty good English. After exchanging smiles, we struck up a very broken up conversation with the other two gentlemen, both 50ish businessmen. When it came to where we were from, we all ended up signing “I Left My Heart in SF”. They knew Tony Bennett. That dinner cost us more than the other six dinners in Kyoto will cost and I have no idea as to what half of what we ate was.

As we got up to leave, the door swung open to their private dining room and the staff were all at the door bowing reverently as a monk and nun and another couple walked out. The monk saw me (Anglo) waved and said ” Good Morning” guffawed and corrected with “Good Evening”. They all hopped into a waiting sedan. Henry said he was the head monk at one of the main temples in Kyoto.

The kimono clad elderly female staff member handed us our shoes ( she also delivered and poured the sake. Celeste and I only drank Asahi beer. We shoed up and were ready to leave and Henry asked us to wait. The head chef (75 years old) was coming back in from seeing off the monk. The chef presented us with two napkins embroidered with the restaurant name and a fan. Pretty cool.

Last night we sought out a more economical meal. It poured rain all day and night so for a Friday night the crowds were minimal. We went into a small restaurant with an English menu (very important) and were the only ones there. At the counter, we ate our way through a few dishes and as the chef was preparing our stir fry garlic fried rice (always last dish) he beckond me to come behind the counter and take over cooking the rice while the sou chef took my picture with my camera. Then Celeste joined in and the two of us were cooking up a storm. Photos still in the camera. 😁

Today we visited the Arishiyama area in Kyoto’s northwest. Had not done so in our three other trips to Kyoto. This area is famous for their Bamboo Forest. Trekked for 4 hours uphill through scads of temple and shrines. Was a cooler day due to yesterday’s rain. One highlight was Gio-do temple which has a beautiful moss garden.

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