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Archive for the ‘Kyoto’ Category

Kitty Japanese garden - Hello Kitty greeting the customers

Kitty Japanese garden – Hello Kitty greeting the customers

Kyoto is not all austere temples and shrines of historic importance. Japan’s pop-culture is part and parcel of it all. One of its outgrowths are character cafes. In Kyoto’s old town, there is a traditionally styled tea house, with a small Japanese garden to look at, and macha on the menu. The only difference to its many cousins is that it’s a Hello Kitty Cafe, where everything is Kitty-themed down to the smallest detail. And if you’re feeling lonely, you can sit next to a life-size Hello Kitty plushie.
Styled to the last detail

Styled to the last detail

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Visit to Uji

Torii leading to Ujikami Shrine

Torii leading to Ujikami Shrine

In the spirit of exploring the region beyond Kyoto, we dedicated half a day to visiting the nearby town of Uji, reachable in a little more than half an hour from Kyoto by local train. One could have easily spent an entire day there, but among work commitments, muggy weather and two little kids in tow, we opted to just go for the two UNESCO World Heritage sites: Ujikami Jinja and Byodoin.
Phoenix Hall of Byodoin

Phoenix Hall of Byodoin

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Kyoto-Kinkakuji-Reffert While there are many places worth seeing that we have not yet visited in Kyoto, there are others we keep coming back to, like Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion. This time, arriving at opening time did not work in our favor, as about 10 school classes did the same. Kinkakuji presented itself sparkling in a ray of sunlight before a backdrop of moody clouds.

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Back in Kyoto

Man in traditional robe holding up a red paper umbrella at Yasaka Jinja in Kyoto
We are back in Japan! This time, we are spending most of our time in Kyoto, where a workshop is going on at the university. More updates coming soon!

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Japan-Kyoto-Kodaiji-Reffert2Kodai-ji is an all-time favorite of us in Kyoto – but I had never seen it by daylight! Both in spring and autumn, they have evening openings with light-ups, which we had gone to three times already (see here for a spring light-up). Now I made it there for the first time in the winter season, and during the day. Not surprisingly, it was a treat.

Dry landscape garden at Kodai-ji

Dry landscape garden at Kodai-ji

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Kyoto-traditional-Japan2-Reffert As I have said here before, one cannot spend too much time in Kyoto (or enough, for that matter). It’s not like we’ve seen all the sights worth seeing, but we’ve been there enough times that we feel we have the luxury of just strolling around aimlessly without feeling that we’re missing out on the big sights. And there are endlessly many charming corners to be discovered. Kyoto-traditional-Japan-Reffert (more…)

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Tinted Japanese maple leaves in from of a backdrop of autumn colors. The season is fast coming to a close and I promise to those getting terribly bored of tinted leaves that this is my last post on them (for this year). But I just couldn’t resist sharing some more impressions from our stay in Kyoto last week!
A carpet of colorful fallen Japanese maple leaves. (more…)

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