by Jes Stayton with Greenheart Travel’s High School Abroad program
The next day, we woke up, dressed, and left the hotel. We walked to breakfast, which was nice, because the weather was cool. Kyoto is warmer than Sendai, because it is farther south. The restaurant was a famous coffee shop, so we arrived before it opened and waited for a while. I thought it was small, but it was huge inside. I guess that’s the benefit of being famous. There was some American food on the menu, which I ordered. (I’ve never been wild about American food, but now that I’m not eating it every day I miss it.) It was very good, but still different from what we have in America. It came with tea, for one thing, and a big pile of vegetables. It was good anyway.
After breakfast, my host sister took the hotel bus back to the hotel, where she would study. My host mother, host aunt and I went to a Yuzen dyeing
shop. Yuzen dyeing is a traditional Japanese dyeing technique dating back to the 8th century. At this shop, you could dye something (it was more like painting than dyeing) and then buy it. There was also a process similar to tye-dyeing, which my host mother chose to do. I made a water bottle holder with peach blossoms on it. Yuzen dyeing goes like this: you pin a series of stencils (or stencil, depending on how complicated your picture is) to your fabric and paint on various colors. It was a lot of fun, and I was very happy with my result.
Next we visited a large complex of temples. They were beautiful, and although I didn’t go inside most of them (there were a lot), I enjoyed seeing the temples and taking pictures. We did enter Taizo-in temple,
which had a famous garden. It was very beautiful, and peaceful. I could certainly understand why it is famous. The whole complex is a UNESCO world heritage site. There a lot of temples in Kyoto, because it was the capital of Japan for a long time. It really blows my mind how old they are. Old in Japan is not the same as old in America.