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Published: March 20th 2018
Mal's new garden
Apparently Mal is going to recreate all of these beautiful images in his own garden within one year. Go Mal!
Well what a difference 12 hours makes! From freezing winds and overcast skies, we were greeted by the most beautiful clear blue sky and crisp air in which to depart Kyoto. Not taking any chances, Mal and I had pulled out all the thermal underwear and covered them with as many other pieces of clothing we could find. Needless to say, we spent the next 12 hours stripping off layers off and putting layers back on, with not even half the amount of time walking out in the elements we had done the day before. Our first stop was to the Heian Jingu Shrine in another part of Kyoto and a walk around the most magnificent gardens. There was also a people's market across the road so we wandered around there until it was time to go to the station and board the bullet train. The station was enormous, with 8 stories of stairs that led to views of the city and a roof top garden. Apparently there is a race up the stairs every year, so Mal and I thought it would be a good opportunity to work off the buffet lunch we had just eaten. Got halfway up and
then took the escalator.... we'll work of the rest of the buffet another time. The bullet train did not disappoint with it's speed and the orderly way people boarded and departed. This was mainly due to the sliding barriers that didn't open until the train stopped, the very official train guard and the strict 2 mins you had to board. Our instructions, 'you have 2 hours to look for your seat number, so just get on the train and move out the road so others can get on too!' It worked. I think everyone managed to have a bit of a nap whilst taking time to look at the mountain ranges hurtling by and before we knew it we were in another prefecture. Mal has a gizzillion photos of the train.... me, none.... it as just a train. An hours drive later after getting off the bullt and we arrived at our hotel for traditional accommodation, food and experience in an onsen. Mal and I went for a walk around the lake before our 7 o'clock meal and definitely needed our layers! We also dressed in the traditional Yukata complete with slippers and socks with toes. Dinner was a do
it yourself affair and sitting next to Shirley and Lorraine from Brisbane was a treat as neither of them appreciated the broiled pork and vegetables. Met them in the lobby afterwards buying cookies. Meanwhile, we found out that even though we had tattoos, we would be allowed to enter the onsen (hot spring baths) here, but not the ones we would visit tomorrow. Clearly we didn't look much like Japanese mafia and therefore posed little threat. There are major rules with using an onsen to avoid offending the Japanese people and it is all to do with purity and cleanliness. You have to wear your Yukata wrapped left over right, as only dead people are wrapped right over left. Cetainly didn't want to be considered part of the walking dead! Men and women bathe separately and you are not allowed to wear any clothing at all. You are required to wash with soap and rinse it off prior to entering the hot springs and you are not allowed to take the wash cloth into the spring. All went well for me and I didn't see anyone from our group make a mistake (mainly because I was the only from our
group using the onsen). Unfortunately, Mal had one of the guys from our tour totally forget all the instructions. He jumped in the spring without washing and then dropped his cloth in the spring. Needless to say all the Japanese men departed..... ummmmm perhaps that was his intention??? Minion has enjoyed our traditional room and had a green tea with Mal to celebrate he hasn't been lost yet. Plus, I've actually remembered to pull him out of the backpack every so often. Tomorrow we have everything crossed that clear blue skies will allow us a glimpse of Mt Fuji. If not, I'm just going to take a picture of a postcard and tell you I saw it anyway.
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