Elizabeth and I spent our first morning in Kyoto exploring the Nishiki-koji Market. Narrow streets roofed over to form protected market places are hardly unusual in Japan, but Kyoto’s historic market is renowned for its local foods and Japanese goods.
Dozens of little shops sell food, clothing, and gifts. I must have spent 20 minutes in Aritsugu, a four and a half century old maker of knives and cutlery. Cabinets were stuffed full of expensive handmade cooking and utility knives, and the clerks quickly but carefully used huge grinding wheels and Japanese whetstones to put a razor edge on machete-sized blades.
One store specialized in chopsticks, so we treated ourselves and Kirk to a nice set, separately choosing sticks, wooden boxes, and ceramic stands, which the clerk wrapped into 3 gift bags.
Kyoto specializes in preserved foods, and we saw all kinds of colorful and unusual pickles and salted fish.
Several of the side streets had also been turned into indoor malls, although they weren’t as consistently upscale as Nishiki-koji. There were some very nice restaurants with lovely displays of fake food.
I wandered around a cramped store that was a lot like an American Dollar General.
I stopped into a large store that sold nothing but manga, Japanese graphic novels, and bought 3 different ones for Kirk.