Sunday, May 13, 2012

White Plum Blossoms-白梅

First stop: coffee and bagel sandwiches.  

Japan can really do coffee.  Mmmm!

Second stop: Shinjuku station to pick up Japan JR Rail Passes. (If you ever travel in Japan, this is a MUST.) 

Third stop: Tokyo station to catch a bullet train-新幹線 (shinkansen).

Fourth stop: Kyoto.

When we arrived in Kyoto, we made our way to our accommodations for that evening.  We didn’t know it then, but our experience at this traditional Japanese ryokan (inn) would be one of the highlights of our whole trip.

The ryokan, which is in Kyoto’s Gion district, is called Shiraume-白梅, which means white plum blossoms. 

As we walked along the old stone street, we passed a geisha and a maiko.  The plum trees were blooming.  A small stream flowed along one side of the road.  A crane flew right onto the bridge entrance to our ryokan as we approached. 

I was instantly impressed.  The scene was so picturesque.  A crane.  A little bridge with a stream running under it.  White plum blossoms blooming.  It was perfect.

View of the street from the room.
Beautiful painting inside Shiraume.
Decor inside one of the rooms.
As we entered, we were greeted by Tomoko-the woman who runs the ryokan.  She spoke English extremely well.  Our rooms were not quite ready yet, but they took our luggage for us and gave suggested we do some site seeing before returning to officially check in.  

As we were leaving, Tomoko took me aside and told me that someone had just canceled their room reservation for that night and offered the room to Karl and I free of charge. 

We graciously accepted her offer.  What a delightful place!

And off we wandered, to find some temples...

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