We left at 6am, took the subway to the JR line to the Shinkansen and whoosh, were in Kyoto by 9:50am for breakfast with Toby, Kyle and Griffen. Their last two days included many temples, shrines, castle, market…….so we headed out to the beautiful area on the west side of Kyoto which Laura and Isak introduced us to in the spring. Weather forecast was good but soon, though it remained very warm, it started to pour and we Californians loved it! The bamboo forest smelled glorious, and the colors were intense. We looked from the top of the mountain down into a deep river gorge, there are forests on all sides, and a temple across the valley. Toby summed up our profound sense of the place: Japanese art does not come from the imagination of the artists but really from appreciation of the actual landscape.
We visited the little shop where Isak fell in love with the handmade papers, and Kyle did some wedding shopping! On to the ceramic shop in drenching rain and again we experienced the incredible kindness and generosity of the Japanese people. Not only did the owner bring us each a magnificent umbrella, but also towels to dry our hair. Toby poses in exactly the same place as Isak…..
The Togetsukyo Bridge was not a disappointment, looking just like it does in the Edo period woodblock prints of Hokusai and Hiroshige (dating from 1830-40). (The mountains seem to be in a slightly different place though!). Beautiful, beautiful.