Kyoto, Japan, October 2011 travel blog

Have you ever seen hair this long or thick?

Wood carver's wares at Toji flea market

Bonsai for sale at Toji flea market

Garage sale "stuff" at Toji market

Order your Christmas dinner NOW at KFC! It's a tradition started by...

The controversial design of Kyoto Station.

Rooftop garden atop Kyoto Station.

Pumpkin weighing contest, with winners at Kyoto Station.


The last official day of our trip, hard to believe! We all gathered for our 7 AM traditional breakfast in the hotel, then people went different directions. Only a few went directly home, but most of us are staying and traveling to sites around the area. Given how quickly and tightly our group bonded, it was hard to say “sayonara” to those with whom we might not cross paths again.

I went off on my own to the Toji Temple, reportedly one of the best flea markets in the area. It was incredible! Combine the Gresham Farmer’s Market with the Japanese Garden plant sale with the largest garage sale you can imagine, with Portland’s Saturday Market food stalls and you have some idea of the size and variety of things for sale. I bought only one item plus a hat (it was very hot and I needed to keep the sun off my face) plus okonomiyaki for lunch. It was great to watch the vendors as well as attendees from all over the world. Sat with some people from New Zealand at lunch them and chatted with a woman on a tour with the Seattle Art Museum a few minutes later.

The high activity level, plus noise and smells of cooking food finally caught up with me, so after about 3 hours, I headed back to the hotel. Stopped at Kyoto Station for a leisurely stroll through its magnificent architecture. Went up to the rooftop garden and enjoyed the quiet, as well as the interesting info about the construction.

Headed back to the hotel in mid afternoon. I had experienced severe back spasms during my time at the flea market, so treated myself to a traditional Thai massage offered at the hotel. The woman said I was tied up in knots! (So, what else is new?) She worked out some of the kinks. I went back to my room, ate some snacks, and went to bed.

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