On New Year's morning in Kyoto, relaxed at the hotel.
Revisited "Szechuan" for lunch. Had a very spicy Mapo Tofu in a large clay pot.
Aldo had fried chicken to recharge the energy.
Today took a stroll in the Higashiyama area, which is full of famous places. From Keage Station on Tozai Line (subway), walked through Nejiri Manpo, passed Konchin Temple, to Nanzenji Temple, the head temple of the Nanzenji school of Rinzai Zen Buddhism. It is on the top of the five core temples of Kyoto (six temples in total). The picturesque view of Sanmon Gate and the clear sound of the Lake Biwa Canal in the precincts of Nanzenji Temple calmed down early in the New Year.
Passed by Hyotei, an authentic Japanese restaurant that want to visit next time. It's famous for its morning porridge, but the downside is that it's early in the morning. Kyoto's ryotei restaurants are having a hard time with the coronavirus, but seems they have a custom of helping each other in the community to keep the taste and history of the famous restaurants. Hope they would continue to preserve the taste of Kyoto.
Passed by Shoren-in Temple, reached Chion-in Temple, the head temple of the Jodo sect. The symbol of the temple, Sanmon Gate, is one of the largest existing wooden gates in Japan. Just passing by it is overwhelming.
Yasaka Shrine, where Gion Festival began when people prayed to the god of Gion Shrine (the former name) to stop the epidemic in 869. A large number of people came to the shrine to pray for the end of the plague. The history of the shrine is older than that of Heian-kyo (Kyoto), and it enshrines Susanoo-no-mikoto, Kushiinada-hime-no-Mikoto, and Yahashira-no-Mikogami. Susanoo was the hero who defeated the Yamata-no-orochi monster, Kushiinada was the beautiful princess Susanoo fell in love with at first sight, and Yahashira is the son of both gods.
"Eki (epidemic) Shrine", an auxiliary shrine dedicated to "Sominshorai", is where the final ritual of the Gion Festival, the Nagoshi-no-Harae (summer purification ceremony), is held and the curtain closes on the month-long Gion Festival. Sominshorai was given a ring of thatching by Gozutenno (Susanoo-no-Mikoto) to ward off the plague. Those related to Sominshorai would not be affected by the plague, and during the Gion Festival, a tag of "Sominshorai's descendants" is attached to Chimaki (rice dumpling imitation), hoping to ward off the plague. Last summer, Chimaki was sold online. This year's zodiac sign, the cow, was drawn in the Yumedono Hall.
As of December 23 last month, its Main Hall, famous for its Gionzukuri style, was designated as a National Treasure (previously an Important Cultural Property), and a total of 26 shrines, auxiliary shrines and subordinate shrines were designated as Important Cultural Properties.
Back to the hotel, enjoyed Muscadet sur Lie of the Loire. The Muscadet Sèvre et Maine AOC comes from the two rivers of the Loire region, the Sèvre and the Maine. In order to be named "sur lie", the wine must be stored on its lees during the winter and bottled by November 30 of the year following the harvest in order to preserve its freshness. The wine is greenish yellow in color and fresh on the palate with aromas of fresh fruit and flowers. Paired it with cheese and prosciutto, but oysters and seafood would be better.
Tomorrow would go to Kamigamo Shrine for new year worship.
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