soft cream

A soft cream store near Teramachi where Naomi liked to go to get a treat. My favorite flavor was green tea although you can see the wide selection of choices available in the display window.

Another favorite treat of mine was a watermelon popsicle from Lawson’s, a convenience store like 7-11 or Circle-K, which have branches in Japan. It looks like a watermelon slice, with chocolate chips for the seeds.

Carol said that her favorite is a mandarin orange (tangerine) popsicle but Naomi and I were never able to find it. We think that Carol made it up (although Naomi claims to have witnessed Carol getting one).

stone wall

A carefully fitted stone wall on the road between the two temples Ninnaji and Ryoanji.


The front gate and rock garden of Ninnaji.

Room in Ninnaji

One of the splendid rooms in Ninnaji.

Shrine room, Ninnaji

A shrine room in Ninnaji.

Ninnaji gate

Looking through this beautifully carved gate to the roof of a building in Ninnaji.


Another building at Ninnaji with beautiful shoji screens and golden brass metalwork.

Closer view

A closer view of the metalwork.

Red pagoda

A red pagoda at Ninnaji.


The roof of the building above (with the brass metalwork) and trees in Ninnaji.

Shakey's Pizza

Naomi and I went to Shakey’s Pizza Parlor one evening to try their all-you-can-eat (or, as they say in Hawaii, “eat-all-you-can”) pizza and salad bar. The pizza toppings were a little weird; there is no plain-old pepperoni. Some of the choices were: corn and tuna; seaweed; ham and onion; custard, banana and chocolate.

The salad bar and pasta were very good, though, and once you got used to the strange toppings (although I stuck to the ham and onion) the pizza was pretty good.


This is just one of several areas completely devoted to tsukemono (pickles) in a large department store.

Bar & Ber

I’ll take a “bar” without the “ber,” please, and just a little off the sides.

Curiously, the hiragana in red next to the barber pole says, “ta–ba–ko” (tobacco). Hiragana is supposed to be reserved for native Japanese words, which goes to show how long people have been smoking in Japan. If you’re curious, download this translation sheet of hiragana (PDF 42K).

Very oddly, although katakana (click on the link to download a 42K PDF) is supposed to reserved for foreign words, the word under “Bar & Ber” says, “I-no-ya-ma,” which seems to be Japanese for Ino Mountain. … Now I’m really confused !!!

Higashi Honganji

Higashi (east) Honganji, the sister temple to Nishi Honganji and a few blocks away. The two Buddhist True Pure Land sects split in 1602. Although there are 10 million followers of this branch worldwide, curiously the temple doesn’t function as a local place of worship. Most visitors enter the main hall, say a prayer and leave — everyone is welcome. This hall is the second largest wooden structure in the world after the Daibutsuden housing the giant Buddha in Nara (see page 5), although Higashi Honganji has a sign proclaiming that it’s building is the largest.

Corrected image

The same photo as above with the fisheye effect and perspective distortion corrected using The Imaging Factory’s Debarrelizer and Perspective.

There is a curiosity between this hall and the Amida Hall (below), a large coiled rope made from the hair of female devotees. It’s customary for parishioners to contribute to the rebuilding of temples. Lacking financial means, women in the past contributed one of their most precious possessions, their hair. The one-ton rope was used to hoist the temple beams into place and was made in the 1890s.

wood floor

The wood floor planks have been worn by many thousands of feet walking on the floors in stocking feet. You are required to take off your shoes and carry them with you in a plastic bag. Even so, the years of wear on the wood floor are easily visible.

Massive wooden support

This massive wood support column has aged beautifully.

wooden foundation

The wooden porch supports of Founder’s Hall, Higashi Honganji.

Amida Hall

The Amida Hall has beautiful gold-leaf carvings.

Lifting statue

“Putting the gods in their place.” They were putting these statues in place in Arashiyama.


On my last night in Japan, Naomi and I enjoyed a wonderful and truly memorable dinner at Shikiyujin, this restaurant on Ponto-cho, the very famous street in the “geisha” district of Kyoto. The dishes were delicious and unusual, ones I had never experienced before.


The menu-sign outside of another Ponto-cho restaurant we were considering was amusing. This may have been equally good but I think we made a good decision by eating at Shikiyujin, the restaurant above.

This sign says,

“We serve ‘taste’ with our heart. Based on the cuisine of kyoto, select the fresh stuff with care, we produce our original food, which suits both sake and wine with traditional skills. Enjoy our delicious food which penetrates your heart [does this mean it will give you heartburn?]. shigeo and kyoko yoshida.…

We have English menu. English spoken stuff. Any cards accept.…

Alacalt [Ala carte]  500yen~
‘Templa of Shrimps’ [Shrimp tempura]  1500yen”