Watercolor Sketch, Kawadoko: Dessert Above the Kibune River, Japan

www.kimminichiello.comWatercolor Sketch on handmade paper, Kibune, Japan

This is such a simple sketch but has such fond meaning and memories for me.  When visiting Kyoto. My daughter and I took a day trip to the northern mountains to the villages of Kurama and Kibune.  Fist we took the train to Kurama and enjoyed time in a traditional japanese onsen, a public bathing house, fed by hot springs.  We were the only non Japanese there but we felt right at home soaking in the outdoor tub under the forest canopy.  There are a number of rituals one must partake in before entering the tub.  Since language was a definite barrier here, we relied on what we had seen in the Miyazaki film, My NeighborTotoro, which is one of our favorites, for clues to the preparation before entering the big bath!

www.kimminichiello.comForest from Kurama to Kibune

After a relaxing soak we continued on into the forest to hike the trail to Kibune.  The walk took several hours but was not strenuous.  The forest was magical.  There are a number of small temples and shrines to take a rest and reflect on the beauty of this place.  We reached Kibune in the late afternoon and scoped out the restaurants and made reservations for dinner.  Kibune is a small village nestled right in the forest along the Kibune River.  In the summer the restaurants place covered platforms above the river for dining and it flows beneath you as you dine Japanese style inches above the water.  This is knows as kawadoko.

www.kimminichiello.comRestaurant platforms above the Kibune River-Kawadoko

Kim MinichielloOne of our courses during our kaiseki meal

 After visiting the Kibune Shrine we settled into our spot for dinner.  We were served a kaiseki meal, which is a multi course meal of a variety of Japanese delicacies.  Between courses we could lean over to the side of the platform and dip our feet into the cool rushing water below, nice after a day of hiking!  When we were served dessert, this simple piece of melon, I did this watercolor sketch.  The whole day was such an amazing experience.  I will never forget it and I have my sketch to take me right back there!

www.kimminichiello.comLanterns above a dining area

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