Archives for category: Travel

Kohnan Home Store in the middle of Kobe Harbor. 


This is my last and best chance to find pumpkin seeds. 


Alas, no pumpkin seeds, but among the garden tools and kitchen utensils we found 2 hori hori (digging knives) and bought both. 


Steamer cloths


Garden shoes


And more in season seeds


That should be enough for now. 

Oh yes, I could have bought a mochi pounding set (morter, hammer and stand) for a mere 30,000 yen. But to get it home….

One of the most famous and photographed and visited places in Kyoto i the buddhist temple Kiyumizu dera. We went there again today too. We just can’t get enough. And it’s not the last time I hope. 


It was labor day in Japan, so the crowds were big. 


Alot of the buildings were covered in shrowd because they are being repaired. It was the same three years ago it seems but different buildings, so we didn’t go out on the famous balcony for pictures, but got some good ones anyway.

Wisteria in winter covers.


We had a fika break with amazake and warabi mochi. 


And some water from a mountain spring. 


We were there till dark, but didn’t stay for the light show. We walked down to the kamo river and got a river stone for and old friend. Then ended the day with dinner at the vegan restaurant Veg Out – brown rice with a view of the river. 


  

We like Kobe too. 


It’s a nice town on the coast of the Pacific Ocean – a bit cheaper and more funky than Kyoto. We can stay here and still get to Kyoto easy and fast by train with a Japan Railways Pass. The best, tho, is that we have made some good friends here.
Our favorite place to stay, the Yume Nomad Hostel is here. We are now nested in here for the rest of our stay. 

It is inexpensive, quiet, artsy, and a great gathering place where you can meet like-minded travelers and locals in a laid-back and cozy atmosphere.

Our hosts (and old friends)


Then there is the traditional market Higashiyama Shotengai nearby to get lost in and find just about any thing under the sun, such as traditional japanese underware, an extra suitcase or tofu or lunch. 

Grilled mochi balls

Kabocha pumpkins
We buy our supplies for cooking meals at the hostel here. The best place to buy miso and pickled vegetables was still there, of course. And the family that runs the stall was so glad to see us again. 

Three years ago we met Bun, the coffee enthusiast, at Yume Nomad. Since then he has established himself in the business and moved to a new shop in down town Kobe near Sannomiya station. We got a great cup of ethiopian coffee and spent some time talking about coffee and old times. 


The Ikuta Jinga Shinto Temple was almost next door and demanded a visit. History has it that it was establised around 200 AD. It has been burnt down and destroyed in wars and natural disasters many times but always rebuilt. 


Now it still stands majestic amoung the high rise.

Every Month on the 21st is the giant flea market at Toji Temple.


We should have gotten up earlier because we weren’t able to get around to see everything, but we started at the right end where there was seeds, plants, and garden stuff. 


We couldn’t find pumpkin seeds as they were out of season, but did get some seeds of vegetables they grow here late in the fall and winter. Hopefully we’ll be able to check out another couple of seed stores before we go. 

Anyway we found a lot of other stuff – clothes, utensils, food etc.

Used kimonos

Traditional garden pants


Roasted broad beans for a snack

Hot amesake with ginger for a pick me up.


And if that’s not enough there’s the ubiquitous coffee shop. 

The Kamo River runs right through the heart of Kyoto. 



We took a long walk along the Kamogawa from near our ryokan to our favorite brush store, zig zaging from one side to the other and sometimes into the nearby streets,

until we got to the brush store that sells the best vegetable brushes in the world…

and leaf brooms.


It is near the Sanjo Bridge,


where also one of the ubiquitous Starbucks could be found for a cup of coffee, a lunch sandwich and good wifi. Japan has alot of great coffee shops all over the place these days.

The main pretence for our trip to Japan was to visit Arashiyama (on the outskirts of Kyoto) during the autumn leaf festival!
So far the autumn leaves haven’t impressed me much. Yesterday was a bit rainy, so we went today. We picked a good day. It was sunny with intermittent showers and a cold north wind. Arashi mountain itself was not so colorful, but there were huge crowds of locals and turists to see the autumn leaves. 


After walking all over the place we decided to finish the day with the gardens of Tenryuji Temple.


On the way there, we followed the crowd going in to see the gardens of Hogonin Temple. What a magnificent discovery! A fantastic moss garden canopied with maple trees in every shade of green, yellow, orange and red, complete with a couple of gardeners constantly brushing the falling leaves off the moss. 


Tenryuji had equally impressive gardens with moss, maple trees, water flows, a carp pond, rocks, fences and bamboo groves. 


At the end of the day. We were cold and tired and didn’t bother to go into the temple, but did catch a glimpse of this guy and then had to head back to the ryokan.

We landed at Nagoya Airport and spent the good part of the rest of the day getting to Kyoto by slow bus which gave us another different view of Japan. 

After checking in at the ryokan, we spend the rest of the day killing time and jet lag at the Kyoto train station, one of the modern archetectural wonders of the world. 


And had dinner at our favorite restaurant there. Something I’ve been longing for since we discovered it 3 years sgo. 


Tempura on rice, miso soup, pickles and bancha tea. 

I’m back to blogging after a period of not. We are leaving my frozen garden…


for a 12 day trip to Japan to see the leaves change color in the temple gardens and hills around Kyoto. And maybe I’ll be able to buy a can of hybrid pumpkin seeds. 

The destination of our trip was Gunillaberg, an estate run by the danish floral artist Tage Andersen. The weather was a perfect mix of grey clouds, rain and even some sun. 


There are lots of animals of various old fashion species and races that keep the grass perfectly trimmed. 



A wild profusion of trees, bushes, shrubs, weeds and flowers




Art



And gobs of garden art


For many people the high point might be a concert in the conservatory


Or one of Tages pastries in the outdoor cafe


Or a visit to the outhouse.

We stopped att The Naturhus in Uppgrenna for lunch. 



Where they have an eko cafe in the garden. 


Pumpkin soup


As well as concerts, tours and other events in the vegetable garden.