Kyoto (京都) is one of my favorite cities. A great walking city, a good scale of architecture, tension of modernity and allegiance to heritage. Fortunate indeed to be here for eight days immersed in work of culture (文化) involving preservation, Zen Buddhism, and effort to introduce old and new Japan to foreigners.
Yesterday had a visit to Kousein, a late 19th century property, beside a canal, near Ritz Carlton and Okura hotels. Extraordinarily beautiful gardens with old maples and oaks, a house of artifacts, and plans to create a place to stay for five or six guests. So difficult to maintain.
Light snow just started falling.
After a quick club sandwich in Okura, where nearby table of a family was singing, “Happy birthday,” in English to a child, a long drive to a temple in southern Kyoto. Different sect of Zen.
Father and son there instruct zazen, and also introduce Chinese-style vegetarian cuisine. The grandfather established the program.
Later still: Torito, one of my favorite yakitori places in Japan, for tsukune, kawa, negima, soft tofu with scallions, raw cucumbers, and kaarage. Draft beer, sake, mugi shochu.
Two temples today.