Ryokan, Kiyomizu-dera, and Pottery

Ryokan, Kiyomizu-dera, and Pottery

I’m sad to say that today was our last full day in Japan as we will be on a flight home Sunday afternoon. The good news is, for our last night we are staying in a traditional Japanese Inn (Ryokan) with tatami mats, a kaiseki dinner, and relaxing bath (onsen). After dropping our overnight bags in the lobby, we headed out to see Kiyomizu-dera, a treehouse like temple nestled in the mountains. Some of the temple buildings were natural wood color and others were brilliant shades of orange, green, and white. On the way to the temple, we passed a bustling shopping street lined with food stands, souvenir vendors, and craft shops. While it was a little bit touristy, it was still a lot of fun. We tried almost anything we could get our hands on including some tofu dumplings served by the most adorable older Japanese woman and sesame pickles. It was especially great to see a lot of women out in their colorful casual kimono (yukata) enjoying a beautiful (and warm) Saturday afternoon. On the way up the hill there was also a Japanese pottery shop where you could take a class and make a pot, bowl, or teacup on the wheel. After a really nice udon noodle lunch complete with dipping broth, vegetables, and seasonings we decided to check to see if we could get a pottery appointment. Luck was on our side because they had two openings coming up within the hour. While we were waiting, we grabbed a coffee at a little shop that had a map of the world with a bunch of pins in it presumably representing customers’ hometowns. Since no one had put a pin from Los Angeles yet, we added one and headed back up the hill for our pottery appointment.

On our first trip into the shop, we learned that it takes a month to fire and glaze your pot, but they had really reasonable shipping fees to the US. Since we are running short on luggage space after the Yukata, kitchen knives, snacks, etc., this was actually better for us. Andrew and I both decided to make a teacup to go with the tea we bought the other day at Ippodo. We sat down at the pottery wheel, donned the appropriate clothing protection, and were instructed how to shape our cups by a young woman with a quick smile who was kind and patient. After a little bit of hands-on help, our cups looked great. Mine is a traditional size and shape with a white glaze and Andrew’s is a larger and wider shape with a teal glaze. It was a really fun experience that we will fondly remember every time we have tea from our cups.

Once that was done, we officially checked into our Ryokan or traditional Japanese wooden inn and put on our cotton robes. Since the rooms have tatami mats on the floor, you aren’t allowed to wear your shoes inside…and for the hallways, they ask that you wear special slippers. The walls of the Ryokan are made of paper and the doors are sliding screens so it’s a really quiet and relaxing experience (especially if other guests are behaving themselves). The bathrooms are shared and dinner and breakfast are included with the room. We also reserved some private bath time so we could enjoy a traditional Japanese bath in peace. When we arrived, the hostess brought tea and sweets to our room and let us know when it was time to head down for dinner. To follow tradition, we were instructed to wear our robes at all times in the Ryokan, even when eating. Our meal was multiple small courses of really delicious Japanese delicacies, most of which featured some kind of fish. Dessert was a delectable blueberry mousse gel. When we came back to our room, the hostess had already made up our beds on the floor and had even folded beautiful paper cranes to place on our pillows. Afterward we enjoyed a lovely hot bath (onsen) and did a little bit of photo editing before heading to bed. It was a wonderful last full day in Japan and we enjoyed every minute of it. Tomorrow we pack up around 10:00 a.m. to catch a train back to the airport in Tokyo.

Girls dressed up as Maiko (Geisha in training)

Girls dressed up as Maiko (Geisha in training)

The adorable Japanese woman who sold us our tofu dumplings (even though we only got two dumplings, she kindly gave all five of us tea)

The adorable Japanese woman who sold us our tofu dumplings (even though we only got two dumplings, she kindly gave all five of us tea)

Shopping street on the way to the temple

Shopping street on the way to the temple

Check ot those crowds on the way to Kiyomizu-dera temple

Check out those crowds on the way to Kiyomizu-dera temple

The stunning colors of Kiyomizu-dera temple

The stunning colors of Kiyomizu-dera temple

Andrew on the steps of Kiyomizu-dera temple

Andrew on the steps of Kiyomizu-dera temple

More beautiful shots of Kiyomizu-dera temple (I have such a talented husband)

More beautiful shots of Kiyomizu-dera temple (I have such a talented husband)

On the way up to the area where you can wish for true love by walking between two stones

On the way up to the area where you can wish for true love by walking between two stones

Rub the buddha for good luck

Small wooden statue at Kiyomizu-dera temple

The best wish in the bunch..."gotta need a girlfriend and get rich ASAP." Depending on the girl, he/she may have those in the wrong order :) You can buy these wooden plaques and write your wishes on them. Once a month the temple burns them so your wish comes true.

The best wish in the bunch…”gotta need a girlfriend and get rich ASAP.” Depending on the girl, he/she may have those in the wrong order :) You can buy these wooden plaques and write your wishes on them. Once a month the temple burns them so your wish comes true.

I took this portrait of Andrew in the garden...it was too nice not to share

I took this portrait of Andrew in the garden…it was too nice not to share

Path to the woods at Kiyomizu-dera temple

Path to the woods at Kiyomizu-dera temple

Kiyomizu-dera temple walkway

Kiyomizu-dera temple walkway

Our lunch upon spot

Our lunch upon spot

Enjoying a small neighborhood temple

Enjoying a small neighborhood temple

Andrew at the pottery wheel

Andrew at the pottery wheel

Our finished cups, ready for firing and glazing

Our finished cups, ready for firing and glazing (left is Drew’s, right is mine)

The front door of our Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)

The front door of our Ryokan (traditional Japanese inn)

Inside our room at the Ryokan (it's huge!)

Inside our room at the Ryokan (it’s huge!)

Kaiseki dinner at the Ryokan

Kaiseki dinner at the Ryokan

7 Comments

  1. I am truly going to miss these posts. It has been the highlight of my week and late night/early AM nursing. Safe travels home. Hugs to all!!

  2. Thank u two for the beautiful photos and such descriptive narratives of the sights. I’ve enjoyed our trip. It was a bright spot in my day. Love you two. Safe traveling!

  3. Can you take photos everyday and post to blog? I so look forward to reading this! Ty for letting us go to Japan with you. Love u both!

  4. Thanks for sharing you beautiful pictures and adventure with us. I feel as if I went with you guys. Love dad✈️

    • Glad you liked the posts. I can see why Grandpa really liked it here and I think you would love it too.

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