Japan day 8 part 1 - Kimono, tea sermoni, temples



 - Kyoto 

- Fushimi Inari Shrine 

- Kiyomuzu - dera temple 

- Nishiki Market

Waking up at the capsule hostel and leave at 7. Then take the subway to Fushimi Inari Taisha Shrine, which is located high up. We go up and up, and up stairs until we are at the top. Here you can get the feeling that the red streets never end. Here there was room to take lots of nice pictures. 

A bit about Fushimi Inari Shrine: This temple is the leader of all Japan side Inari shrines, and is dedicated to Inari, the deity of a good harvest and success in business. The seemingly endless path of vibrant orange torii gates that line the approach to Mt. Inari provides an impressive setting and is one of the most famous images of Japan. You can read more about this temple here: https://www.japan.travel/en/spot/1128/ 

Then we went to Kiyomuzu-dera temple, one of Japan's most famous temples, which is a bamboo and forest complex high up in the mountains. Here there was also room to take lots of pictures, which we did, we took pictures together, and of each other. It looked very nice there. 

A bit about Kiyomuzu - dera temple: Kiyomizudera (清水寺, literally "pure water temple") is one of the most famous temples in Japan. Founded in 780 on the site of Otowa Falls in the forested hills east of Kyoto, it takes its name from the clear waters of autumn. The temple was originally associated with the Hosso sect, one of the oldest schools of Japanese Buddhism, but formed its own Kita Hosso sect in 1965. In 1994, the temple was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Read more about this temple here: https://www.japan-guide.com/e/e3901.html 

When we felt finished in the temple, we went to Nishiki market, here you can look in various shops, go to starbucks, or rent kimonos. Our guide divided us into two groups, then we went to rent kimonos. We got help choosing and putting them on, before we went to the tea ceremony, here I was in group number two so had plenty of time to look at the market, eat or drink. Went to Starbucks with Samantha. Here I tasted chai tea for the first time and it tasted like gingerbread and cinnamon. 

Now it was group 2's turn for the kimono trial. Here I found a suit that I thought was nice and took it into the room, but was told that I was too fat (they said it in a slightly nicer way), so I had to choose from a small box of 8 kimonos instead. There was a very nice dress with flowers and butterflies, then I choose it and another band to wear around the stomach, we were given petticoats, looked like a white nightgown we had to wear first, then the kimono and more bands around the stomach, they tightened it well. We had already paid for the kimonos in the experience package on the group trip, but we had to pay a little extra for the hair, it costed 300 yen (approx. NOK 22). Then we chose a hairstyle and they put it up in one, two, three, and they put lots of little clips, and one big nice one we could choose. Unfortunately, we didn't get to keep the nice buckle when we were done. Kimonos are traditional Japanese outfits that are often used for special occasions, can also be used as an informal outfit. 

When we had dressed up in kimonos, we took pictures. We also walked with wooden shoes, or we can simply call them wooden slippers. They were painful but part of the outfit. We had time to look around in shops before we went to the tea ceremony. The tea ceremony is one of the prime examples of traditional Japanese culture, and is steeped in history. Here there was a lady in kimonos, of course, who was supposed to arrange the tea, here it was a whole ritual full of Zen. Bowed and arranged tea in a special way, here matcha tea without sugar or honey. One of the group had chosen a seat which meant he was the guest of honor and got to taste the tea before everyone else. When the sermon itself was finished, we were to make our own matcha tea. We were given bowls with a pattern, which meant something special, and bamboo straws to stir the matcha on. We were given matcha powder and hot water and had to stir this until it foamed. We were also given a candy before we had to settle and drink the tea, this was a citrus candy. Since I am allergic to citrus, I got another candy, which was pure sugar. The tea tasted a little bitter since it was without sugar, but not as bad as I had imagined. It was allowed to take pictures but not videos here. 

We walked out of the venue and took some more pictures, some of us felt done early so we headed back to the hostel... to be continued