Taste and depth

風情と奥深さ-京都-
taste-風情-

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.

久しぶりの帰国。長いシーズンを終え、束の間の安息の時間。羽を休める為の旅行を計画する。旅行のメインをどこに持ってくるかは十人十色で、皆さん違うと思う。僕の場合は宿に重きを置くことが多い。今回の目的地は古都、京都。オフシーズン以外を海外で過ごす自分にとっては、日本を感じ、良さを再認識できる貴重な時間だ。ほとんどの場合は、伝統、デザイン、素敵な浴場をメインに探す。週3で小さい頃から温泉に行っていた僕には大重要項目なのだ!そして見つけたのが四条祇園駅の近くにある京都グランベルホテル。2017年オープンで、新旧が絶妙に混在する贅沢な空間、とくに大浴場のデザインは僕を即決させた。
depth-奥深さ-

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!

到着早々雨。薄雲の天気はオランダでもうお腹いっぱいだったのに・・・・。気を取り直してまずは日本らしい駅弁を購入、そして嵐山を目指す。まず掛川にかかる渡月橋がお出迎え。雨で観光客も少なめ、ゆったりと観光を始められた。目的地を目指す道中、お昼ご飯を何にするか探しているとうなぎの文字が!うなぎは大好物なので即決。創業1967年、ミシュラン一つ星にも選ばれた老舗の名店、「うなぎ屋廣川」。通常は長い待ち時間のようだが、雨のおかげか半時間ほどで入店できた。ふくよかなのに舌の上でとろける、絶妙な仕上がりの一品だった。昼食は予定通り竹林の小径へ。オランダで遭遇することのない竹林の風景、独特な空気感を噛みしめながらゆっくりと散歩。山岳地で育ったこともあり、自然はいつも僕に癒しと落ち着きをくれる。・・・にしても写真を撮るセンスが・・・・。皆さんと素敵な時間を共有できるように磨いていきます!

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.

三時のティータイムはお茶屋さんで、日本庭園を眺めながら、抹茶とお団子をいただく。五感を刺激するこれぞ和の風情、まさに癒やしの一時。
日も暮れ始め、今夜の旅籠へ。期待感が高まる玄関ホール、次に目に入ってきた沢山の外国人観光客!っておい!僕も外国から来た観光客の一人でした(笑)。外国人が求めている「日本らしさ」が凝縮された京都、外国の方々が、そんな日本美を好んでくれている現実が素直に嬉しかった。

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.

荷物を下ろして館内を散策。ソファーに座り物思いにふけったり、コーヒー飲んだりと、ホテルでの時間を満喫する。そして待望の大浴場へ。長風呂が大好きな自分は、本当に長いこと薄暗い中、湯船から中庭を眺めていた。一日を締める最高の時間・・・。あんな中庭つき風呂を将来自宅に作りたいと切に願ったことは、”声を極小にして”言いたい。
日本の伝統、奥深い味わい、日本古来の風情を短時間でも体感できる古都。今回のチョイスも我ながら◎。