After walking only a few blocks, we came upon what we later learned is the biggest temple entrance gate in all of Japan. It loomed above us. Careful not to slip on the slick stone steps, we began climbing up to the Chion-in Temple.
We wandered around the temple, taking in the incredible beauty.
|On the way back to Shiraume. The woman standing in the white and red kimono is either a Geisha or Maiko.|
When we returned to Shiraume, they were ready for us to check in. They showed us our rooms-which were gorgeous-and welcomed us with tea and cakes.
One of the special things ryokans such as Shiraume offer is a elaborate dinner served to you right in your room. This is a traditional multi-course Japanese meal called "kaiseki." This was-without a doubt-one of my favorite parts of the entire trip.
|Ready for dinner-the napkins are provided as gift souvenirs.|
The food was amaaaazing. ( I am afraid I can't remember what everything was called...)
|Course 1:Eel, shrimp, bamboo shoots, plums, and fish.|
|Also part of course1: Some type of gelatin with miso (I think) sauce.|
|Course 2: A clear broth soup with fish, yuzu (a Japanese citrus) and fern garnish.|
|Course 4: Fish cakes, lotus root, konnyaku, and ginger.|
|Course 4-single serving.|
|Course 5 (option 1): Baby octopus, fish and asparagus.|
|Course 5, part 2, option 1: Delicious sashimi!|
|Course 5, option 2: Kobe beef. (It virtually melted in your mouth. Melted.)|
|Course 6: Potato dumpling with eel inside and fresh bamboo shoots.|
|Course 7: Tempura.|
|Cute soy sauce container!|
|Course 8, part 1: Rice with some type of garnish. Seaweed, I think.|
|Course 8, part 2: Japanese pickles.|
|Course 8, part 3: Miso soup.|
|Course 9: Dessert. Fresh fruit, match (green tea) cake with black sesame ice cream. Otherwise known as heaven. (It was amazing!)|
When we finished our many courses, we decided the best thing to do would be walking. So out we headed out for some more sight seeing. There happened to be a lantern festival happening during our stay. This was especially good for us because that meant the temples and shrines would be open later.
My favorite place was a Japanese Buddhist Zen Garden ( I am afraid I don't remember the actual name of the place-I am working on finding it) and the pools that perfectly reflected their surroundings. It was stunning.
After returning to Shiraume, Karl and I went to our room to relax. The next day we would explore Nara-Japan’s first (or second) capital city.
|Our beds all ready for us to climb in for the night.|
|Traditional Japanese wooden bath-they are very deep tubs. I love them.|
|Beautiful decor in our room.|