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Taste and depth


Back in Japan for the first time in a while. After a long season, it was time for a short rest. I planned a trip to rest my feathers. I think that everyone has a different idea of where to focus their trip. In my case, I tend to focus on accommodation. This time, my destination was Kyoto, the ancient capital of Japan. For me, who spends most of my time abroad except during the off-season, it is a precious time to feel Japan and reaffirm its quality. Most of the time, I focus on tradition, design, and nice hot springs. As a person who has been going to onsen (hot springs) at least three times a week since I was a little boy, these are very important to me! I found the Kyoto Granbell Hotel near Shijo Gion Station, opened in 2017. It is a luxurious space with a perfect mix of old and new. Especially the design of the large bath made me appealed to me immediately.


It rained as soon as we arrived. We had already had our fill of light cloudy weather in the Netherlands…. We got our bearings, bought a typical Japanese ekiben (Station lunchbox), and headed for Arashiyama.
First, we were greeted by the Togetsukyo Bridge over the Katsura River. Because it was raining there were not many tourists, so we could enjoy our sightseeing at a leisurely pace. On the way to our destination, we were looking for something to eat for lunch when we saw the word “unagi”! Eel is one of my favorite foods, so I decided immediately. Founded in 1967, “Unagi-ya Hirokawa” is a long-established restaurant with a Michelin star. Normally you will have to wait a long time, but thanks to the rain, we were able to enter the restaurant in about half an hour. The eel was full but melted on the tongue, an exquisite dish.
After lunch, we went on to the path tghrough the bamboo grove as planned. We took a leisurely stroll, taking in the scenery and the unique atmosphere of the bamboo grove, which we have never encountered in the Netherlands. Having grown up in a mountainous area, nature always brings me comfort and calmness. I have a good sense for taking pictures at ・・・・. I’ll try to improve it so that I can share wonderful times with you!


At three o’clock it was time for tea. We went to a tea house and had matcha green tea and dumplings while looking out over the Japanese garden. This is a true Japanese atmosphere that stimulates the five senses and is truly a time of healing.
The sun was beginning to set, and we went to the night’s inn. A sense of anticipation rose when entering the entrance hall. We saw a lot of foreign tourists! Hey! I was one of the tourists from abroad (laughs). I was honestly happy to see the reality that the “Japaneseness” that foreigners are looking for is condensed in Kyoto, and that people from abroad like the beauty of Japan.


We unpacked our bags and took a walk around the hotel. I sat on the sofa, lost in thought, and drank coffee, enjoying my time at the hotel. Then I went to the long-awaited large bath. As I love taking long baths, I spent a long time in the dim light, looking out over the courtyard from the bathtub. The best time to end the day…. I would like to say, in a very low voice, that I sincerely wished to have a bath with a courtyard like that at home in the future.
This is an ancient city where you can experience Japanese traditions, rich in nuance​, and the ancient atmosphere of Japan even in a short time. If I may say, I made a perfect choice.