Thursday morning we headed back into Kyoto around 10am. We started off by going to the Heian Jinguu area to look at traditional crafts and shrine charms. sara_tanaquil even picked up a yukata on the way. Unfortunately for us, there was a Noh play scheduled to be performed at the shrine that night, so the entire courtyard was blocked off for the stage and seats. Still, we had a nice stroll through the garden.
By the time we finished there, it was about 3pm. We headed over to Arashiyama, stopping for coffee and cake at a little cafe on the way. We checked into our ryokan at 4pm and left all our luggage in the room while we went out walking again. We stopped in a couple souvenir shops and visited Tenryuuji, after which everything shut down for the evening. We went back to the ryokan for a quite filling supper. I had vegetarian shoujin ryouri, while sara_tanaquil tried things she'd never dreamed she'd eat.
We went to the bath after supper, and we had it all to ourselves. It was built to simulate a rotenburo with a hole in the wall facing a plaster cliff to give one the impression of a window open to the elements. (It fooled me at first. I contend this is because I wasn't wearing glasses.) It had glass windows in the floor facing a carp pond underneath the bath itself, which was an interesting idea, though we only saw one carp, and even then only its tail. The bath was stocked with bamboo ash shampoo that made our hair unbelievably soft and fluffy. I think my hair poofed up to two or three times its usual volume.
On Friday, after a traditional breakfast, we headed out to hit the shops running north of Tenryuuji. That took up pretty much the entire morning. We rode the bus back to the station and hopped on a train for Osaka. After stashing our bags in a locker, we took a sushi bentou and went to the Post Office for money-changing, quickly scarfing down the sushi while waiting for our number to be called. It was early evening by the time we got to our destination, Otaku Road. We shopped at several bookstores, then hunted down an okonomiyaki place for supper. By the time we were finally ready to return to Moriyama, I had completely forgotten about our luggage in the locker. It's a darn good thing sara_tanaquil was there to remind me. We had so many bags of heavy purchases that we took a taxi from Moriyama station back to my apartment.
Saturday we started out with a lazy morning to recover from all the walking of the previous few days. I showed a couple episodes of Due South, since spreading addictions is really what it's all about. At around 11:30, we went out for brunch at Olive Kitchen. From there we made the rounds of Moriyama's bookstores. (There was even an occasion where sara_tanaquil left the store having only purchased ONE manga. Amazing.) We came back and watched some Hunter × Hunter before going to check out Moriyama's firefly festival. I didn't exactly know what to expect, since I hadn't been to it last year. The "festival" was mainly for small children to enjoy, though it was interesting to walk around the various event sites and buy festival food. The final event site was a shrine with a river where the actual fireflies appeared. We made several attempts to take pictures of them, but it was hard to get them to light up on cue. I managed to get a brief movie of a flickering green glow, which is the best we could do. I spent the rest of the night showing sara_tanaquil a stack of manga that she really ought to buy, nevermind luggage space issues.
On Sunday we went back to Kyoto for last-chance souvenir shopping. We started by walking up Teacup Hill, the road lined with pottery shops that leads to Kiyomizudera. We spent much more time shopping than seeing the temple itself. I wound up buying five rolls of yukata and kimono fabric for under $50 at one store. (I really need to get started on some sewing projects...)
From there we walked up to Yasaka Shrine and strolled around the Gion area, stopping for a late lunch at an Indian restaurant. We continued on to Teramachi Street, where a wheeled bag was purchased to ease manga transport issues. We stopped in Animate, Kinokuniya, and Book Off before finally bidding the city farewell.
sara_tanaquil somehow managed to pack all of her purchases. She went back to Chiba on Monday morning for the last leg of her vacation.