July 25, 2010

Japan 2010, Day 8

Museums museums museums.
Our first day in Kyoto was action-packed.

Mrguy had sussed out a lovely tea house where you could get traditional-style tea in a modern setting. This is where we had breakfast.


I don't really recall what I ate, but it was beautiful and peaceful and there was a pretty garden outside the window and reproductions of mid-century designer furniture inside. 

It left me purring like a cat. Had we turned around and gone back to the hotel, this would have been enough.

The teas came with specific instructions on how long to steep and what to do.

Upstairs was a shop and gallery with kimono and other things in vitrines. As if they were *expecting* an archivist to visit, they listed their target temperature and humidity and displayed their thermohygrometer and its readings prominantly.

After this we went to a museum of Kyoto crafts that was, in fact a museum of crafts. Skilled tradespeople (lacquerers, silver workers) worked at public areas within the museum. The materials and their results were lovely. Upstairs the silence was broken by politicians wearing sashes who stood on top of a van and shouting into microphones in the street below.

On to another museum.

This is the nondescript street where the Raku Museum resides. It is run by the family of the man who, in the 1500s, developed the raku firing process. His work and that of his descendants, is really lovely.

You need to wear slippers inside.

We also went to the Japanese Confectionary Museum. No english-language signage that I recall, but the exhibits were nice. They displayed not only examples of Japanese candies alongside the molds that made them, but they also displayed gorgeous hand-tinted recipe books from the 1800s. The museum was small and jewel-like.

About this time in the day I realized that I felt a little off-kilter in Kyoto. Bicyclists ride on the sidewalk everywhere, and the local college crowd seems to like to give tourists a scare. This sign is not only a warning, it's an eventuality!

The pedestrians got on a train and ended up at Kyoto Station and the Kyoto Tower. 

It's a much-maligned piece of architecture, which means that we like it. And its noodle shop.

After another stop at Nishiki Market, we were super super hot. I had a hankering for a gin and tonic to cool off, and it turns out that our hotel's Libary Bar makes one of the best gin and tonics I've ever had in my life. Check out the frosty copper mugs!

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