i wish we had spent more time in kyoto.
we were only there for two days, but i think 2 weeks in japan was about all the dane could handle. we stayed at guesthouse bon, a nice homestay which was recommended to me by a friend. it is not a ryokan or hotel, it's like someone's home with several additional bedrooms. our host was so kind; showing us points of interest on his wall covered by a hand-drawn map and even picking us up and dropping us off at the nearest subway station. it's a beautiful city, one of the only places in japan where the charm overshadowed the food for me. but that's not to say that we didn't have some good meals there!
unlike osaka and tokyo, this is not a port city. of course in this day and age it is much easier to get fresh fish in landlocked areas, but the traditional sushi in kyoto is preserved. pictured above is a particularly good sabazushi, which is lightly pickled mackerel covered with what i think is thinly-sliced kombu. the flavour is not as delicate fresh fish, but it's delicious! it is a little on the large side though, so i had to bite it in half. i always feel a bit self-conscious when i fail to eat sushi in one bite. >_>;
we also happened upon a hole-in-the-wall noodle shop while on our way to the silver pavilion. i ordered soba noodles and the dane got udon. my dish came with a mackerel braised in soy sauce. it was very flavourful! it wasn't very complicated but it didn't cost much either and it really hit the spot.
the silver pavilion was lovely, but packed with people. almost all of them were japanese, which is definitely a step above american tourists. yes, i realize i am american too, which makes it all the more embarrassing when their voices carry over everyone else's in the metro in copenhagen. anyway, i got bitten by 15 mosquitos (or the same number of times by a single mosquito..) and then we made our way over to the next famous spot.
the sight of all these bright red gates is really something. i have seen many photos of it and once we got there, the dane pointed out; how did they manage to take those photos? it is really hard to get both rows of shrine in the frame, especially with tourists walking in both directions. the photo above is actually the back of the gates where you can see the donor of each one has signed it. after seeing only two sights, we headed to osaka... but not without getting a kyoto-style bento for the road!