THE MOST BEAUTIFUL CITY IN JAPAN
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Hello, I am glad to greet you, I am Yael Yancelson and today we are going to a city with truly amazing landscapes and a very interesting culture. We are flying to Kyoto in Japan, so breathe, close your eyes, give me your hand and let yourself be guided, we begin!
The country of the rising sun is an archipelago that has no more and no less than 6,852 islands. Today we go to Kyoto, the ancient capital of the country that is famous throughout the world for its refined culture and gastronomy.
The first thing we see is one of the most incredible images of Japan surrounded by beautiful gardens where you can calmly contemplate this marvel, the famous Golden Pavilion of Kyoto, its beauty impresses me, and you also feel a lot of serenity in the environment and in your own architecture and is famous for its symmetry and its perfection that Yukio Mishima immortalized in his novel that deals with the life of the Buddhist monk Mizoguchi who is obsessed with the beauty of this monument.
Did you know that Amanohashidate, in northern Kyoto, has long been considered one of the three most spectacular landscapes in Japan?
Let’s move on to the Kiyomizudera temple, on top of a small mountain located to the east of Kyoto, what spectacular views there are in this city!! The huge lattice balcony of the temple is one of the best-known images of Japan, if you turn to the right of the main hall of the temple you will see its most famous element, a balcony built on a wooden structure and without nails to the purest Japanese style with a height of 13 meters from the ground. Behind the main hall, there is the Jishu Shrine, known for being a place where people come to pray for fortune in love. In front of the shrine, on the ground, there are two large stones: if you manage to walk from one to the other with your eyes closed, it is said that you will find true love. From the shrine, follow the path and go up to the Okunoin temple, It is very worth it and from there we go to the Otowa waterfalls
These waterfalls, located at the base of the main hall of the temple, run through a small artificial grotto and divide into three streams.
They say that the water from these waterfalls transmits a series of special properties to those who drink it. Drinking water from the stream on the right is good for health, from the one in the center for love and from the one on the left to achieve academic success. Now, you can only drink from one of the streams, so think carefully before making the decision. Which one are you going to drink? I haven’t decided yet…
And now we come to the famous Nishiki market, which although very different from how it was in its origins some 400 years ago, when it was an open-air fish market, still has an amazing agglomeration of vendors in a narrow alley of kilometers and medium long. Let’s walk around and see what we can buy and try around here…
If you like sweets, you can delight yourself with ice cream and soy milk donuts. Other Kyoto delicacies are also sold here such as mackerel sushi, dashimaki Tamago or sweet omelet, which I especially love, pickles of vegetables grown in Kyoto, and the delicate green tea from the city of Uji.
By the way, this green tea from Uji is one of the oldest and most valued in Japan. You’ll find it in small soba restaurants, in temple gardens, and in many other places. Uji offers a multitude of ways to enjoy green tea.
In the heart of the Gion neighborhood, in the historic center of the city of Kyoto, one of the oldest tea houses in all of Japan is located, and we have to live the interesting experience of the tea ceremony, which in Japan is an ancient tradition that comes from directly from the influence of Chinese culture, in which Japanese green tea or matcha tea is prepared, to be served to a small group of guests. It receives the name cha-no-du, which literally means ‘hot water for tea’, while the term chadō, or sadō, is used to name the learning or doctrine of the tea ceremony, which means ‘the path of tea’ in Japanese. The ceremony takes place in a quiet Japanese-style room called a washitsu, typical of Japanese teahouses, with a wooden structure that opens directly onto a small zen garden.
In these rooms, it is normal to find spaces adorned with a tokonoma, which consists of a small altar decorated with kakemonos or decorative scrolls, as well as different flower arrangements depending on the season of the year. If you realize this beautiful ceremony is a very studied choreography, with simple but refined movements, a symbol of beauty and meditation. During the ceremony you must be silent, paying close attention to the preparation, to feel the relaxation of the entire ceremony. The host puts 3 tablespoons of matcha tea in each bowl of Japanese per guest, filling it with a ladle of hot water, pouring out a third, and returning the rest of the water to the container. The mixture is then shaken with a bamboo stirrer, achieving the mixture called koicha. The guests go one by one moving on their knees, to take the bowl, you have to bow to the others, and place the bowl in your left hand holding one of the sides with your right hand. He takes a sip, praises the flavor, and takes another sip or two before wiping the rim with a kaishi napkin, passing the bowl around to the rest of the guests. Once all the guests have finished, the bowl reaches the first, who must deliver it back to the host.
We left to continue walking around Kyoto and look at how cute the Kyo sensu folding fans are made with Japanese tissue paper made by hand and some thin strips of wood, either Japanese cypress or bamboo. These magnificent accessories are used in ceremonies, festivals, and various performances, such as Noh theater, an excellent gift to wear!
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Thank you for traveling with me, until next week! I am sharing some Amazon affiliate links so you can get essential things for this interesting trip and those you plan to do in the future!!!
I want to thank Fabiola Ruiz Bedolla, our Mexican Sign Language interpreter, and her entire team of collaborators, as well as a very special thanks to Mercedes Obregón, director of the Pedagogical Institute for Language Problems, IPPLIAP. Thank you for joining this project and all of you for making it possible!
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