Kyoto, Japan, October 2011 travel blog

Farming community of Ohara, northeast of Kyoto

Menu options at the tea house/foot bath.

Our group enjoying the foot bath

My feet enjoying the foot bath

Breeding stock koi at Mr. Okamoto's Koi Farm.

The certification that goes with each koi.

Tamao, our interpreter, Mr. and Mrs. Okamoto with Baby Hajime, and Douglas,...

Example of an old farm house where a tile roof has been...

Lunch stop, Tamba Chaya.

Renge-ji Garden.


Today was lovely—relaxed, away from the hustle and bustle of the city. It was less humid, with beautiful sunshine and blue skies. We took a subway, then a bus to the village of Ohara, up in the mountains, northeast of Kyoto.

Spent quite awhile just walking through rice paddies, neighborhoods, etc. Douglas stopped us every once in awhile for a mini-lecture on pruning or to talk with local people whose live holds some interest for him.

About the time we were thinking we needed a break, we got one! The Ashiyu Tea House and Foot Spa was just what tired tourists needed! While enjoying a cup of tea, we soaked our feet in warm water while rubbing them over the stones set in the spa’s bottom. It was heaven! This idea could definitely catch on in the US. Is Starbucks listening?

We were treated to a lesson on koi breeding at Mr. Okamoto’s Koi Farm. We also met his wife, who is from the Philippines, and their 3-month-old son, Hajime. The koi were beautiful, and it was impressive to learn what goes into breeding and raising such incredibly beautiful creatures.

Back down the hill, in the village, we ate lunch at Tamba Chaya, a small restaurant with tables outside, next to the garden. We watched local elderly residents doing watercolors with their easels set up in the rice paddies across the way.

After lunch, we strolled leisurely through Yase, stopping for short lessons on pine pruning and fence building. After another bus ride, we visited Rengi-ji Garden, a small but lovely example of sukiya style gardens attached to homes.

A long bus ride and subway brought us back to the busy city. All in all, a nice, relaxing day in an incredibly beautiful part of Japan. My pedometer showed a total of 21,705 steps, probably one of the longest walking days so far. Tomorrow, we will stay in the city.

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