Osaka & Kyoto Trip

I’ve wanted to go to Kyoto since forever and although Motozo goes to Kyoto often for business, he usually goes and comes back on the same day. But this Tuesday was a national holiday and his business meetings were on Monday, so we took advantage of the perfect situation and planned 4 days out of Tokyo!

We left early Sat and our first stop was to visit his uncle in Osaka. Him and his wife showed us great hospitality, letting us spend the night at their lovely home and feeding us well. This is only the 2nd time to meet his Uncle Akira, the first time being at our wedding last year, but he’s such a charming and friendly gentlemen that it was very easy to talk to him.  He practices yoga twice a week, so we had great discussion on yoga.  Akira’s wife, Sumiko, prepared a vegan friendly nabe. The broth was kombu and uzu flavored with a variety of vegetables and tofu.  It was lovely to have dinner with Akira and his daughters family. 
The next morning we had a traditional Japanese breakfast, white rice, natto, pickles, miso soup (no fish dashi in mine), green salad, and green tea. Motozo, knowing that I’m not my usual (self proclaimed) happy self without a morning coffee, kindly asked for coffee to be prepared for me. Yay for coffee! 
We spent quite a while trying to set up Skype for Akira so he can contact Fumiko (his sister, Motozo’s Mum) in the US on a regular basis. For some reason we couldn’t download it and eventually gave up. 
Motozo always calls his mum over the weekend so we all took turns talking to her on the phone. It was great for Fumiko to talk to Akira being that the last time was over a year ago. 
After digesting the unusually heavy breakfast, I did my morning run while Motozo got a dip in the near by gym pool. I’m used to having just a green smoothie or fruits in the morning and I’d say 80% of my diet is raw so to have 2 cooked meals in row, sheez, I felt the difference. Its amazing how food really affects the body, especially durning a run. But I still managed a good hour and of course we had another cooked meal for lunch. Sushi. My veggie sushi’s were good though! 
After saying our good byes we made our way to Kyoto. So many people EVERYWHERE! I guess that was to be expected being that its the prime time to visit Kyoto in autumn. The autumn leaves did not disappoint! I’ve never seen so many momiji trees (below picture) in their bright shades of red. Everywhere you looked were yellow, red, orange colored trees…..beautiful! 
We really did come at a perfect time! In the evening we took a stroll through Gion. We just followed the crowd and found ourselves in a really long cue. We had no idea what we were lining up for, but it turned out to be a light up of the autumn leaves inside a temple. This was the only photo that turned out. It was SOOOO spectacular and surreal! 
The next morning, we had quick breakfast together and Motozo went off to his meetings. I set out alone with the intent of seeing Kinkakuji, Ginkakuji and possibly a zen rock garden. I found some lovely trees along the way. 
While waiting at the bus stop I met a French tourist and we ended up sight seeing together.
He was planning to go to a zen garden to do meditation, but missed his bus and of course, meditation sparked my interest and we instantly chatted up a storm. 
He was great company….almost too great because we kept getting into these philosophical discussions that we’d missed our bus stop, failed to consult the map enough, and attracted unwanted attention with the two of us being the only passengers to be talking on the public buses. We finally managed to find our way to Kinkakuji and oh, what a beauty it is! 
Next we went to a rock garden and was blessed with rain. It seemed to make the autumn colors even more vibrant. 
Unfortunately, my view finder is not very large and failed to capture all 15 stones. But we only counted 13 anyway.  It was so peaceful here! Photos will do the talking now. 
I was in total awe of the beauty that I forgot to eat lunch. It was as if the beauty was feeding me. Finally, at 5pm, on the bus ride back to the hotel, I felt major hunger pangs. FOOD was all I could think of. I found a nice kale and apple smoothie in the down town area. mmm….did it taste delicious! 
Next morning I planned a run, but sleep won. I choose to get 2 more hours of sleep and I wasn’t the least bit guilty! 2 days in a row of no running and hey, I’m alive! I guess it helps that sight seeing required LOTS of walking and hardly any eating. 
It was great that Motozo was able to go sight seeing with me this time. Although we had to rush a bit because we had a 5pm shinkansen to catch, we made the most of it. 
First we visited Fushimi Inari Shrine. I’ve always wanted to go here and it was such a shame we couldn’t stay very long. Inari Shrine consists of thousands of tori’s that travel up a mountain. There are trails that go on for at least an hour or 2 and the whole time you’d be walking under the tori’s. We walked for a little less then an hour and had to turn around. It still was lovely though! I told Motozo I want to come back some day to walk the whole course up the mountain. 

Our last stop was Ginkakuji. Again the line to get into the temple was outrageous! Even inside the temple grounds there were so many people that we just quickly took a photo of the temple and left. Its a bit of shame because in the temple grounds is a trails into the mountains and I’d have love to walk that.  
Gingakuji, compared to Kinkakuji is very simple. Simplicity is beauty though. 

Yay, I’m so happy to have gone to Kyoto in the perfect time of the year! 
This morning I thoroughly enjoyed my green smoothie. I missed it so much! 4 days of no shrek juice made me crave green! 

Last week’s running mileage – 60.1k plus plenty of toning exercises
Mon – 11.5k 
Tues – 10.6k (hilly course), toning exercises
Wed – 11.5k
Thurs – intense toning exercises. 
Fri – 14k
Sat – more toning
Sun – 12.4k in Osaka 
Alright, this post is long enough. Is anyone celebrating Thanksgiving? 

2 thoughts on “Osaka & Kyoto Trip

  1. lil says:

    oh niccee! the pictures are amazing and the leaves are soo beautiful! Kinkakuji was one of the only placed we missed when we went down there due to time! There's just soo much to see there! And we didnt see the inari shrine either…looks amazing! It's amazing how you slowly realize your diet is different when you travel

  2. You didn't go to Kinkakuji?! That was the first on my list for places to see. But you're right, there's just so much to see and they tend to be scattered far away from each other.
    Inari Shine was the 2nd place that I wanted to see the most. It was great!

    Yeah, I really felt the difference with a different diet. I was eating more tofu and fried food then usual. I noticed darker circles under my eyes and waking up with puffy hands. Ugh!

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