Uji, Fushimi and Nara
Long ship tour today. Three cities.
First stop at Uji. It is in southern Kyoto and is known for a couple of things. One is their green tea. The land is good for growing the tea. Second, in Uji is the famous Byodo-in Temple. I visited the smaller replica version in Honolulu last month. I found the one in Honolulu to be situated in a much more serene setting than this one here in Uji and I liked it better. Just my opinion.
The shop across the street sold some nice green teas including matcha, which is a green tea powder. I bought a package to take home. And, I bought a cone of green tea ice cream! Yummy in my tummy!
Our next stop was the sake factory museum in Fushimi. We learned the process for making sake and learned that the Koji mold is very important as it is used with the rice grain and converts it into sugar. Add yeast and fermentation starts for making sake. Koji mold is also used to make soy sauce and miso and is considered a unique Japanese mold. It's in a lot of Japanese food!
Here's some sample Japanese phrases for you: "Gomen Nasai " means I'm sorry.
Itadakimas is what you say when beginning a meal. It means to say you are appreciative for your food before you.
Konichiwa means "Good afternoon".
Next up was the city of Nara. It is the old capital, founded in 710. Nara has two well known places to visit: the Todai-ji Temple which houses the largest Buddha statue in Japan. It is also the world's largest wooden building. The second place is the Kasuga Shrine which is a Shinto shrine.
Both places were very beautiful to visit and I really enjoyed them, but my favorite would have to be the Buddha temple. I'm a big fan of Buddha.
Nara is also very well known for its deer. They have a huge population of deer and are very revered. People feed them and they are very domesticated and friendly. They're also a bit pesky too when they see you have food, so you need to watch yourself around them when you have food!
Before we visited the sights in Nara, we stopped at a hotel for a delicious buffet lunch. Everyone was hungry and we enjoyed the break.
It was 5:00 when we got on the bus for the last time. It had grown quite cold outside and we looked forward to the warm bus as we sat for our hour's drive back to the ship.
I will close by saying the final phrase in Japanese - Oyasumi nasai. Good night!