Yesterday after both of our lessons, Satoshi and I made our way to Kyoto. His family's grave is there and since we hadn't gone during Obon (the season to visit ancestors' graves), we decided to pay our respects, then check out the autumn leaves on the way back...semi-big mistake...EVERYONE was in Kyoto checking out the autumn leaves...
We got on a VERY crowded bus and made it to his family grave. We placed some flowers and said some prayers then waited for a bus to take us back.
During our wait, there was a little Japanese sweet shop, Otowaya, that just happened to be positioned RIGHT in front of the bus stop--which of course, tempted us to by some sweets while we waited...I bought something quite unusual, a Sekihan manju (this bean cake has sekihan (red rice) inside instead of sweet bean paste). Sekihan is usually made for celebratory meals, using adzuki beans and mochi rice (glutenous rice).
The bus finally came, and was PACKED. We squeezed ourselves onto the bus and crawled along the crowded streets. The positioning of your body while trying to hold onto something --so you don't go flying into someone when the bus jerks to a stop--and not step on anyone's toes reminded me of playing "Twister". On top of that, 3 local Japanese school girls smooshed their way onto the bus at another stop and grumbled about the tourists and the bus being packed for what seemed like forever! I held my tongue, although I was tempted to say something to them...They finally got off and we rode the PACKED bus in peace.
From Kyoto, we rode the train back towards Osaka and got off on the outskirts of Kyoto at a town called Nagaoka-kyo. This town has a rather large temple which has a lovely autumn display. We have visited this place several times over the past 5 years and love it because the trees create a tunnel of leaves and are so beautiful.
Plus, this temple is not as famous as others in Kyoto, so it is not as crowded. Usually, we visit this temple in the morning but I noticed that they were having a "light-up" of the leaves, so we decided to check them out at night this year. It was nice, not too crowded and very beautiful.
Have a great week.
Closed twice a month, so call before going