In the morning we left Kyoto (京都) and took the train to Uji (宇治) which is famous for matcha. The ride takes 20-30 minutes depending on which train you take (rapid or not.) Our first stop was to Byodo-in (平等院) which was about a 10 minute walk from the JR station.
I have been to Byodo-in before (post here) and it was just as beautiful the second time around even in the rainy weather. This time we went into the Phoenix Hall which only finished renovations recently. I suggest going into the museum to watch the video of how they revived the hall and the artifacts they took from the hall to display before going on the hall tour itself. Especially since I don’t speak Japanese and the tour itself is all in Japanese, the visuals and English plaques from the museum really helped me to understand its history.
|Matcha soba, rice, matcha jelly with red bean and mochi|
After the tour we went to Nakamura Tokichi Honten (中村藤吉) to queue for about 40 minutes. It is a very popular spot to eat matcha goodies and last time I was here I didn’t have time to wait 1+ hour so I left. But this time I factored in waiting time into our itinerary because I really wanted to try it and it definitely did not disappoint.
We got matcha soba, matcha the drink and matcha jelly with red bean, mochi and matcha ice cream. It might sound like a lot of matcha but the flavours were so fresh and light that it left this matcha-lover very happy. I especially liked the matcha jelly and ice cream dessert.
Following this great lunch, we took the train to Nara (奈良) and then a city bus to Nara Park (奈良公園) to see the famous deer. There really were a lot and I thought I saw a lot of free roaming deer while in Miyajima (宮島) but Nara definitely outnumbered them. We also saw Todaiji Temple (東大寺) in the area but did not go in.
On our way back to Nara Station we opted to walk instead of taking the city bus to see more of the city. We walked past Kofukiji Temple (興福寺) which were filled with tourists and high school groups like Kiyamizudera.
Departing from Nara, we took the train to Osaka Station (大阪) and then a train from Osaka Station to Rinku Town Station (りんくうタウン) to the premium outlets which took about an hour. The style is very similar to outlets I have been to in North America and feature a lot of those stores as well. From the outlets there is a direct bus to Kansai International Airport.
|Rinku Town Outlets|