Monday, December 26, 2011

The 3 F`s: 花見@京都

Flower-viewing? Really? People actually do this? You wouldn`t think much of it right? Set up a (usually) blue tarp/mat (or banig for you fellow Filipinos holla), sit, drink , eat nomnoms and, or sakura to be specific. What fun can be had in that?

TONS. (Especially if you add the alcoholic drink part). I can probably say this because I ended up spending hanami at one of *the* places to do it: Kyoto. I went with 2 of my friends who are JETs in Shizuoka-ken.

I think Kyoto and `crowded` should go hand in hand. We were sardined packed tight on the bus on the way to Ginkakuji, right next to an old man who spoke to us with this gross, orange blob on his lips (we`re thinking it was uni) that also made his spit orange and UGH GROSS きもい!

...Anyway. The path towards the Silver Pavilion is beautiful. As if Kyoto`s mash of old and new architecture wasn`t awesome enough, there`s mini forests to boot that made me think I stepped into the forests in Princess Mononoke...

I`m expecting kotodama to come out aaany second now...

And maybe I was so enchanted of the path *to* the temple that when I actually saw the Silver Pavilion my first thought was, `That`s it?`. Seriously. I didn`t even think it was Ginkakuji. I thought it was a random temple before the main attraction, but then I realized it had to be since a lot of people were taking pictures in front of it...well, at least it was a nice walk. After that we walked some more and took a stroll through the Philosopher`s Path, 哲学の道 for more pink awesomeness. And cats.

Cats seem to be everywhere in Japan...

After a brief stop at the Heian Jingu shrine we then headed over to the Gion District and Maruyama Park to get our Hanami on. The park definitely had the party vibe that night. Lots of Japanese people nomnoming, drinking and just letting loose just really set the fun tone. This is when I realized that Japanese will use any excuse, like the changes of the seasons to get their drink on. Sadly all good things must come to an end so we stumbled to the 9h capsule hotel in Gion (which is the most amazing capsule hotel *evaromg*).

Forget the sofa bed, can I have this instead?

The following day we got our hanami on again in Arashiyama, a place I`ve always wanted to visit after seeing pictures of the place during the spring and fall. Beautiful. Although it was packed, it was still pretty relaxing and we were able to snag a spot and nomnom on more delicious matsuri meat-on-a-stick and sakura flavored soft serve ice cream. We only saw a glimpse of what Arashiyama had to offer because sadly we all had a long way to travel back to our part of Japan that we call home.

Hanami in Kyoto is AMAZING and I definitely recommend going to Kyoto during that time, crowds be damned. But of course hanami can be done *anywhere* in Japan. As long as you have the 3 F`s: Food, Flowers, and most important Friends then you too can get your flower power on.

Tasty of the day:
sakura ice cream with actual sakura blossoms


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