Day 3 in Kyoto, Japan

Following on from my previous post about what I did on Day 1 and 2 in Kyoto, this is the next and final blog post for my trip to Kyoto.

On the morning of Day 3, I booked to do a tea ceremony in a kimono. I had found this on Viator and booked in for the first session of the day. After getting to choose the colour of my kimono, I got changed with a lot of help. Underneath the kimono are layers of wraps to tighten and hold. I got my hair styled and accessories sorted and then off it was to the tea ceremony.

There were about 10 others in the room and our teacher told us about the origins of the tea ceremony and did demonstrations for us before we had a go at whipping up our matcha tea. Served as well, was a red bean sweet with a dusting of cinnamon on top and a small sugary sweet on the side.

Calm seems to not be quite the right word but from the explanations of our teacher, we were told we should eat the snacks first as you shouldn’t eat while drinking. Do one thing at a time. This was such a change from our daily lives of distracting ourselves when we are eating be that either reading or using our phones. I found the whole ceremony peaceful, revelling and paying attention to the sounds of the crockery hitting each other and even the brush when whisking our tea.

This experience reminded me to take more time when eating and to also enjoy silence and all the incidental noises too.

During the tea ceremony, I met another solo traveller and we decided to head to Arashiyama together to see the bamboo forest. I think we ended up transferring 3 times across train lines but we finally got there we decided to look for food first. My new friend had a place in mind which was the Tenryuji Temple Shigetsu– a vegetarian meal inside one of the temples.

Inside, we were seated in a hall of sorts on the floor with a small table in front of us. It was pretty quiet inside despite the scatter of people and we were surrounded by mountains on one side and the gardens of the temple on the other.

The meal that came out was beautiful as it was filling. Unfortunately, we couldn’t be 100% sure on what we were eating but it all tasted so good! There was a heated soy milk soup, tofu, mushroom and some picked/boiled vegetables. The heated soup milk soup was really tasty.

Then, another tray came out containing what I thought was all desserts. But the dessert was the fruit. Inside the bowls was a savoury soup dish containing mushrooms and a ball that tasted like it might’ve been made from chickpeas or something similar. It was such a lovely meal and an interesting restaurant. I would highly recommend it.

Inside the Buddhist temple grounds

After our bellies were filled, we headed to the bamboo forest. It was quite busy but still enjoyable and I would advise to keep walking until you reach the end. Many people just tended to mill at the beginning of the walking path. We spent a nice time then walking through the adjoining park and made our way to the Togetsu-kyo Bridge. I can only imagine how beautiful this area would look in autumn or in spring. There were so many people enjoying the waterway on row boats and walking along the paths.

We found ourselves some ice cream near the lake chatting before sticking our heads into some stores near the station. After this, we headed back into the city and parted ways.

At night, I joined a walking tour that I had found on airbnb experiences. We spent about 2 hours walking in the Gion district learning about the world of Geisha’s and the many mainstream cultural misconceptions (apparently Memoirs of a Geisha is extremely inaccurate!). The Gion district is so beautiful and much more peaceful at night and it was nice to be able to learn more information from a local not only about the Gion area but also about shrines and daily life in Kyoto and Japan in general.


23 thoughts on “Day 3 in Kyoto, Japan

  1. It seems like you had such a fantastic last day in Tokyo, filled with learning and new experiences! I chuckled a bit as I was reading your post while snacking AND drinking tea ahah – but that tea ceremony must have been amazing (and your kimono and hair were beautiful!) I can’t wait to go back to Japan and I’ll definitely want to book these sorts of experiences when I’m in Kyoto! Thanks for sharing!

    1. I can’t remember the last time I just ate in silence and not watching or reading anything. The lady did a simple braid but it looked nice the way she did it! I hope you get to have great experiences the next time you are back in Kyoto!

    1. The comment above posted before I could finish writing to The Hungry Travellers. But I can’t understand why anyone would not be fascinated with Japan. And it is not so far as Europe for Australians so even better.
      So many different sights, smells and customs.
      I always wanted to do the kimono tea ceremony, it looks so serene and fun to dress up.
      You photo of the temple and Gion at night is so very pretty and makes me want to go back. My last meal in Kyoto was a traditional degustation banquet with all sorts of things my daughter refused to eat. Luckily, I got to the bamboo grove early although I went to the temple next to the grove, I missed the lake.

      1. Each to their own I guess but Japan is amazing travel destination. I hope you get to return soon Amanda! The kimono dress up was great and the staff looked after us so well. I can only imagine how good the degustation banquet would have been! When I return (quite soon!), I’m making sure I go to some tofu restaurants.

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