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Trip to Japan in October 2014, part 1: Ryugon ryokan, Tenshi no Sato

And so we are continuing the story of our October trip to Japan.

After getting to Niigata station on a regular train, we transferred to Shinkansen Max Toki to IchigoYuzawa station.

Two level shinkansen Max
Max Toki - two story Toki Shinkansen.

A car from our next planned ryokan was waiting for us already at Ichigo Yuzawa. The driver was easy to recognize - he was in a traditional Japanese outfit with the ryokan symbol on the back.

On the way we stopped at a "covered street" - just a sidewalk with a roof over it, that was very cool according to the driver -
since you can walk there with no umbrella in the rain.

This place is called Bokushi street in Shiozawa city, it is build according to Edo period standards.

Covered sidewalk

Covered sidewalk

Covered sidewalk

Covered sidewalk

At the ryokan first of all we were seated in the waiting area and given some tea and sweets.

Ryugon waiting area

And then we were accompanied to our room that we immediately photographed while it was still a day.

The important feature of this ryokan is its history. It was established over 200 years ago and the buildings of the time are still in use,
so you are essentially living in a 200 years old museum. There's also no second floor above the living rooms as the original
owner concluded it's disrespectful to allow guests to "walk on heads of other guests".

Ryugon entryway
Entryway, hall and the entrance to bathroom and toilet.

Ryugon room 1
First room that is also used as the bedroom.

Ryugon room 1
From it you can see an outer pond (without fish) and an outer wall.

Ryugon room 2
Second room and a dining table.

Ryugon outside view
Outer pond.

Ryugon bathroom
Sink

Ryugon bathroom
and bathroom.

Overall the room is also pretty big, probably not any less than the Tachibana-Ya one.

Then we walked around the ryokan itself.

Ryugon historic hallway
Long hallway with room entrances on one side.

Along the hallway we also found something like an old-style library with a fireplace and such.

Ryugon historic exhibition area

Ryugon historic exhibition area

Ryugon historic exhibition area

Ryugon historic exhibition area
There was also kind of second-story loft.

Ryugon historic exhibition area
Straw boots - probably very useful in winters (there were pictures on the walls depicting village streets with snow accumulated above roofs).

Ryugon historic exhibition area

Ryugon historic hallway
A pile of firewood

Ryugon historic hallway
A stove, though the day was actually not all that cold.

Fish frying preparation
Walking in the other direction we encountered a cook that was preparing a bonfire for fish.

fish bonfire
The bonfire itself.

tearoom
Souvenir shop and a tearoom. Here we were offered some free tea and sweets.

historic tearoom reconstruction

historic tearoom reconstruction
In the corner there was a reconstructed old-style tearoom.

While we were walking around the time for dinner came, and as is usual for such places, the dinner was great.

dinner

dinner

dinner

fried fish for dinner
Fish from the bonfire we saw earlier.

And then a breakfast Wink

dinner

dinner

By the way, Niigata prefecture is also famous for its Koshihikari rice, so we also bought a sack of it here. And of course some sake.

dinner

Since in this Ryokan we only stayed for a single night, we decided to see everything around in the morning.

Surrounding garden and pond were bigger than in the previous one, the fish also looked healthier.

outside view

Ryokan garden

Ryokan garden

Ryokan garden

Ryokan garden

Ryokan garden

Ryokan garden

Ryokan fish

Ryokan fish

Ryokan garden

Ryokan garden

Ryokan garden

Ryokan garden

And then, time to check out and move to our next destination.

Ryokan driver
On the way back our driver was a girl in kimono.

From Niigata we went straight to Kyoto (JR Pass is a very great thing!).

In Kyoto we were staying in some so-so ryokan and the only picture left is a fun samurai toilet sign:
Toilet sign in Ryokan

And of course while in Kyoto we went to Tenshi no Sato again, because in one of those days they had a seasonal flower event, and we also wanted to see our friends too.

Tenshi no sato
SD-Mother with angels were removed.

Tenshi no sato
After the renovations the angels-tenshies are now sitting in the vine on walls, barely noticeable, mostly Sei-Tenshies.

Tenshi no sato

Tenshi no sato

Tenshi no sato

Tenshi no sato

Seasonal flower event at Tenshi no Sato

Seasonal flower event at Tenshi no Sato
Ren and Arabella meet again Wink

Kasumi in Tenshi no Sato
And we also met somebody's Kasumi too!

Tenshi no Sato cake
But the very first thing was of course to go to the cafe to checkout new event cakes!

Tenshies in Tenshi no Sato tearoom

Tenshi no Sato tearoom
All of them were waiting patiently for us to finish with the cakes Wink

The blossoming of young love photoseries
And this photoshoot was called "Blossoming of young love"

The blossoming of young love photoseries
Here again is the beautiful Arabell that belongs to Shawnah..

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries
She was dreaming when she were noticed by the flower angels (as our friend named them)

Rei Tenshi at flower event in Tenshi no Sato
Dianthus

Rei Tenshi at flower event in Tenshi no Sato
And Delphinium.

The blossoming of young love photoseries

They probably decided to realize her wishes and that's when he appeared out of the mirror!

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

Who sent him here through all these mirrors?

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries
The are looking nice together, don't you think?

And come up with your own ideas about what happened next Wink

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

The blossoming of young love photoseries

A few frames are also missing here, history omitted them.

The blossoming of young love photoseries

And then we were asked not to disturb them anymore! (more frames missing). Interested parties can ask Ksusha for a private copy.

The blossoming of young love photoseries

"If you ever feel alone and the glare makes me hard to find
Just know that I'm always parallel on the other side" (c)

The blossoming of young love photoseries
That's the end of this story.

And at the same time little angels were enjoying this story from a biiig chair.

Rei Tenshi

Rei Tenshi

Also they had some pictures taken with flowers.

Rei Tenshi at flower event in Tenshi no Sato

Rei Tenshi at flower event in Tenshi no Sato

Rei Tenshi at flower event in Tenshi no Sato

It's already evening outside and and a lot fewer people compared to the opening time, let's take another look at the first floor of the Tenshi no Sato.

Tenshi no Sato

Tenshi no Sato

Guest doll at Tenshi no Sato
Doll of one of the visitors. I really liked her kimono.

Towards the end we also walked a bit in the garden.

IMG_7783
This plywood cat is certainly not going to run away Wink

IMG_7785

Tenshi no Sato garden

Tenshi no Sato garden

Tenshi no Sato garden

After Tenshi no Sato we went to one of traditional restaurants of  Arashiyama for dinner.

Arashiyama evening

Dinner

Dinner

Dinner
Tofu was boiled right in this piece of paper.

Dinner

Dinner

Dinner

Dinner

Restaurant hallway
The restaurant also had this nice-looking hallway.

I guess it's worth going to Japan even if only just for their food Wink

Kyoto kimono
On the way back we saw two girls in Kimono in the subway.

And that's the end of today's report - next day we went back to Tokyo and on the same day flew back home.

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