Aoi Matsuri Festival day

We needed to do some laundry, so we decided to make it a lazy morning to do that and do some minor sightseeing nearby while we waited for the machines to finish. Our hotel is super close by the old Nintendo building, from back when they were just a playing card company. We’d already been there before but for us it’s still a neat piece of history to visit. We also strolled along the river for a little and visited a few nearby shops.


Before we moved onto our next activity, we went to visit the Pokemon Center. They always have loads of cute things for sale that we like to take a look at. We got some gorgeous cards for free because of the 20th anniversary of this pokemon center, and we took some cute toys from a pokemon gacha machine.


Today however, was also the Aoi Matsuri festival. It’s a big procession of 500 people wearing traditional Japanese clothing. The two most important people are a messenger carrying the Emperor’s message and offerings to the two shrines and the Saio, a proxy for the imperial princess serving the deities. She has to dress in the formal style of the imperial court, which consists of 12 layers of kimono (30kg)! Luckily, she’s carried around on a palanquin all day long. Their general timetable is quite easy to find online, so we picked a spot to watch them pass by and got there at exactly the right time for it to start. There were two horse police at the very front, even they were dressed in traditional clothing! It was cool to see them all pass by and we had an excellent viewing spot in the shade, which was nice because today it was 27-30 degrees. Also, because we’re really tall for Japanese standards we had no problems watching the procession pass by.

Once we got back to the city center again we grabbed some BLT sandwiches and made our way to a nearby arcade. Rhonja is motivated to get better at the rhythm games, and Marcel would like to see her try and get better than he is!

Because we said we’d try and take it easy today we went back to our hotel before dinner. Rhonja chose two restaurants for today since one of those two was the one that was full before. Today we were in luck though! This restaurant was known for its fish and we ordered a set menu that included a little bit of a lot of things. We figured it’d be a bit like a course meal, but as we nearly finished our first dish the next two things came out. And while we weren’t even halfway with that the rest all came out so we ended up with a lot of food at once. Its nice to be able to pick and choose though. But unfortunately our “5 types of sashimi” included some octopus. Raw octopus, as Marcel had experienced before, is really chewy and slightly fishy. This time Rhonja had to eat some tentacle as well. And she didn’t like it either. Luckily we had beer to wash it down with and the rest of the food was great!
Except Rhonja had assorted tempura dishes.
Which included a piece of fried octopus tentacle.
But really, the rest of the food was awesome.


We wanted to visit Namco before we had to leave Kyoto again so we headed in that direction by bus. Though the drum game machines were all taken, we did spot a VR-section. Including Mario Kart VR! It was a little on the expensive side, but knowing we likely won’t see this in Europe for several years we really wanted to give it a try. The attendant helped explain the controls to us and get the VR headset on properly.
It was a lot of fun! You could watch the other person in-game and wave. If you looked at your own hands you’d see big Mario-mittens. And if you wanted to grab/use an item you had to make the grab/throwing motion for that. Very cool.


We tried to take another bus to get home faster, but though the first two stops seemed to be correct after that we noticed we were headed in the wrong direction.. We quickly got off at the next stop and decided to walk home anyway. It was quite a walk but it didn’t seem worth it to take another bus to try and get there. Tomorrow it’s time to leave Kyoto behind again and head for our next stop at Nagoya!


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