Light rain greeted us as we took the metro to East Kyoto to visit Heian Jingu, built during the 1890s to commemorate the 1,100 anniversary of Kyoto’s origin. The building honors two emperors: Kammu who ruled until 794 and Komei who ruled until 1866. Heian Jingu replicates the Imperial Palace that was destroyed in 1227. Most remarkable is the red torii gate defining the entrance to Heian Jingu, the largest in Japan. We paid a few yen to view the elaborate gardens behind the Jingu. On display are cherry trees beautifully framing peaceful ponds, pools and small streams, stone pagodas and monuments, pines, cypress, hundreds of lilies, camellias and azaleas.
The rain pounding heavier now, we made a brief stop at a coffee shop and on to the Kyoto Craft Center featuring art works from local artisans at reasonable prices, including ceramics, dolls, lacquer-ware, jewelry, silks, origami, prints and kimonos. Keith and Anne purchased a small Samurai dagger for Brian, some jewelry, mouse pads, a lacquer tray with crane motif, and a compact mirror.
We walked in the rain to the Kyoto Museum of Traditional Crafts. Videos on display showing the complex process of creating such handicrafts as woven fabrics, silk kimonos, lacquer-ware, dolls, jewelry, shrines, swords, rope work, pottery and more.
Our next stop in the rain is the Nishiki Market in downtown Kyoto. Walking down a long narrow path with small stalls on either side, we witnessed merchants peddling fish, vegetables, meats, sweets, crackers, condiments, spices, rice, tofu (even tofu doughnuts), miso, and noodles.
Our dinner treat at the Kyoto station was the restaurant Sukiyaki Moritaya. Sukiyaki recipe as follows:
Scramble raw egg with chopsticks
Melt some lard and cook meat strips
Dip meat in egg
Add: Konnyaku noodles, green onions, white onions, bamboo shoots, burdock root, sukiyaki sauce poured over vegetables and beef, wheat gluten, mizuna (mustard greens).