Return to Kyoto

Is Kyoto my favorite city in Japan and one of my favorites in the world?  Probably.  It’s a great walking city, has natural views of hills and the river, a pace that’s not too fast and not too slow, good and simple restaurants and cafes with French, Italian, and Japanese food, lots of students at lots of universities, and an architectural scale with few buildings over eight stories and most that are three or four.

Just returned yesterday, my fourth visit in a year, and after checking into Nishitomiya, a ryokan near Nishiki market, walked over to Owariya, which is one of my favorite soba joints in all of Japan: Old wooden building of two floors, narrow corridors, small dining rooms, and good bowls of buckwheat noodles.  We’re talking a bowl of kitsune soba and a cold beer for $16, inc. tax and tip.  I know, right?

That night it was back to the ryokan for onsen and after the bath a kaiseki dinner that included fugu, yuba and miso “fondue,” and steamed turnip.

Early to bed, early to rise.

Japanese breakfast of pickles, miso, three kinds of fish, gohan, and so on.  Later today: Noodles with A. and yakitori at Torito with I.

And in-between: Honda brand miso and nori from Giboshi shop to bring home.

And, oh yes, the daunting, strange, magnificent epistolary novel: Kinshu, by Teru Miyamaoto.

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