I think my favorite area of Kyoto was the Gion District. The shopping was great, the food was good and the people watching was some of the best in Japan.
When you're in Kyoto, you get the real sense of how old Japan is. Kyoto was spared from destruction and everyone comes here to experience the ancient temples and castles long gone from the Tokyo landscape. It's a big tourist destination for sure.
Buck is obsessed with everything to do with knives or swords. He grew up in Alaska and has been carrying a pocket knife practically all of his life. It's become harder to actually travel with a pocket knife these days and Buck is constantly worried he'll lose the one he's been carrying for the past 20 years.
It would be appropriate that he would discover the oldest knife maker in Japan. I guess they call them knife blacksmiths? Anyway, this family has been making knives for over 400 years and are famous for these incredible works of art.
Buck covets a new knife like I do a new handbag or pair of shoes. He caresses them along their blade and appreciates every little nuance. He longs for me to appreciate the beauty of the blade. He bought me a lovely pocket knife for Christmas two years ago, but soon discovered I'm just not good with one. I tried to cut an apple with it last summer and ended up in the emergency room. Not kidding!
So knives and I just don't go together but I do appreciate the handcrafted aspect of these. While it was being sharpened, Buck lectured me NOT TO TOUCH IT! Okay, okay...I won't....okay?
What's really cool is they personalize it for you in Japanese. Not that you really need a knife with your name on it or anything. I mean, what if someone used it as a murder weapon? It'd be traced back to you for sure!
This place is loaded with knives of all sizes and even ikebana scissors. Oh, and they have a great bathroom too. I'm obsessed with bathrooms these days, due to the remodel and all.... and I discovered the best bidet in Japan EVER! I've written an entire post devoted to it, but I'll share that info with you later. I'll be sure to warn you first! :-)
TIP-O-DAY: Visit the knife shop Aritsugu and all the other great shops located in the Nishiki-Koji market. This knife cost about $100, but it's worth it because not only is it a great souvenir, you can actually use it on a daily basis. Well... anyone but me that is.