Our first day in Kyoto was exciting and busy. We started off with heading down to the Kyoto International Manga Museum. I would love to show photos of the museum but they didn’t allow any photography. We were really excited to go there because Jeremy loves manga. We were surprised to learn that the Kyoto International Manga Museum wasn’t just a museum about Manga but also a museum telling about the building’s previous history as Tatsuike Primary School. Tatuike Primary School opened in 1869 and was founded solely from donations from the residents of Kyoto and not with grants from the government. It was interesting to read the history and see the photos from school through the years. Exploring the rest of the museum was interesting. I’ve never really ever read it but I though it was interesting to check out. I didn’t know that it had been around for centuries. I thought it was a recent art form. I was wrong. It was interesting to see the different styles.
After the museum we took a bus ride to the other side of Kyoto to do something me and Mom had been looking forward to ever since we found out Mom was coming to visit. The bus ride was insanely crowded. Even though everything was in Japanese it was easy to figure out which bus we were suppose to take and where to get off at.
After getting off the bus we walked up a long, steep, winding road that went up a mountain. The road was lined with various shops. About halfway up we found the business we were looking for. They offered kimono rentals and the shop would dress you and do your hair. Then you can walk around for a few hours before returning to the shop to change back into your street clothes. A young woman took Mom and I around the store to help us pick out kimonos, obis, purses, and shoes.
Once we picked out everything, we walked to a building behind the store to get dressed and have our hair done. I had read in a different blog to wear something tight fitting over your underwear to wear under the kimono if you don’t want to get undressed in front of strangers. I am glad I took her advice. I had on knee length leggings and tummy slimming tank top. It made it a lot less awkward when the person helping me dress had to dash off right after I took off my clothes to help some else. Some girls were just standing around in their underwear. I wish they had taken a moment to explain the different things we were wearing. It reminded me of a passage from Memoirs Of A Geisha:
“I understood very little of what I saw on the landing that day; but it seemed to me that Mr. Bekku tied strings and tucked fabric at a frantic rate, while Hatsumomo did nothing more than hold her arms out and gaze at her image in the mirror.” –Memoirs Of Geisha by Arthur Golden
Afterwards I was amazed at how pretty I felt. Mom looked gorgeous too. We posed for photos in the side yard of the shop before walking out onto the road.
As Mom, Jeremy, and I walked around the shops we were surprised by the reaction we received from the Nationals. People asked to take photos with us, others would stop us to tell us we were beautiful or give us a thumbs up. It was amazing. We felt like celebrities.
Jeremy wanted to check out a temple at the top of the mountain. The kimonos Mom and I were wearing were hard to walk quickly in. We decided to wait at a coffee shop while he ran up there. Mom and I had fun while we waited for him.
When Jeremy came back and then me and him went off to explore a different temple. Mom’s knee wasn’t feeling good so she stayed by the shop and the cafe. The temple we found was very empty. I have no idea what temple it was (if you know, please tell me). Jeremy and I had fun exploring it and seeing the different buildings.
After walking around the temple, Jeremy and I returned to the shop because it was time to return the kimono. After Mom and I changed clothes, the three of us caught a bus back to the train depot. The train depot is huge and we decided to eat dinner at one of the many restaurants there. We found an Italian themed one that didn’t have a huge line. The Ante Caffe served delicious food.
When we returned to the hotel, Jeremy and I went out to explore the tiny wedding chapel in the middle of the hotel. It looked beautiful lit up at night. There was a tiny little moat around the yard that made it peaceful to sit in there in the quiet.
The day was full of fun and new adventures. I’m happy Mom and I got a chance to wear kimonos. It’s something we’ve been wanting to do for a while. It was fun making new memories.